Title rivals sink '˜Boro with 90th-minute strike
Knaresborough Town's title hopes were dented slightly on Saturday when they conceded a 90th-minute goal on their way to a 2-1 defeat to nearest rivals Yorkshire Amateur.
Paul Stansfield’s men remain two points clear at the top of the NCEL Division One table with a game in hand, however their position would be somewhat healthier but for Daniel Naidole’s late strike.
Boro gloveman Dan Atkinson saved an early Naidole shot before Will Lenehan headed a Dan Thirkell free-kick wide at the other end.
Amateur then pressed hard and played the better football with Ashley Flynn forcing a save from Atkinson and then shooting into the side netting after being given too much space on the right side of the field.
The opening goal arrived in the 39th minute when a left-wing centre was not cleared and the ball bounced kindly for Harrison Blakey to volley into the corner of the net,
Rob Youhill then shot wide for Boro just before the break, but having picked up an injury, failed to re-appear for the second period.
The slight re-shuffle forced by the former Tadcaster Albion man’s set Knaresborough up for a much stronger half and Tom Hesketh’s free-kick was held by Graham McLachlan.
Thirkell then volleyed wide following a corner which was headed away to him, but soon afterwards Leon Henry hit a free-kick wide for Amateur.
The equaliser, which Stansfield’s men fully deserved, arrived on 70 minutes when a free-kick from the right was headed back by Will Lenehan and Gregg Anderson volleyed into the same corner found earlier in the game by Blakey.
The visitors’ celebrations were as much in relief as in delight, but the home side were stunned and looked to push back.
Atkinson saved comfortably from Fernando Moke before a defensive mix-up allowed Flynn through on the Knaresborough goal, Conor Donoghue coming to the rescue as he took the ball from the striker and then cleared the danger.
Another pass then split the defence and home full-back Thomas Marsden ran through on Atkinson. As the Boro stopper closed the angles, Marsden tried to chip over him, but Atkinson was able to claw away the shot and preserve the scoreline.
A clinching goal did come for Amateur in the last few seconds of the ninety minutes, however.
A ball across the field found Flynn and he was able to turn and centre into the area from the left side allowing Nadiole to stoop low and head just inside the far post.
Knaresborough changed things around in attempt to get back on terms, but there was no time for further chances as the hosts held out to close the gap at the summit.