West Yorkshire League: Knaresborough Town Reserves reach League Cup final
Knaresborough Town Reserves battled their way into the final of the West Yorkshire League Cup thanks to a 2-1 victory over Hunslet Club on Tuesday.
Hilliard Serrao’s first half strike gave Mike Bligh’s side the lead which was then doubled by Fraser Lancaster ten minutes into the second half.
Hunslet Club halved the deficit with 25 minutes remaining but the introduction of Matty Duerden into the Knaresborough defence kept the visitors at bay.
The Reserves will now face either Leeds City of league-leaders Field in the final next month and Bligh said he is looking forward to the experience in his first season at the club.
He said: “The lads did particularly well even though it was not really a normal football match, it was more of a battle. But we coped with it really well whereas a few months ago they might have shyed away.
“In the final 25 minutes it was just making sure that we did our job, we were hard to break down and we did really well on the counter attack so that was pleasing.
“We put Matty Duerden on from the bench, he’s a seasoned campaigner and he was able to galvanise the defensive unit in front of him. We could have been playing for another hour and we would have held out.
“I’m obviously very pleased but I’m just being realistic now, we can go and enjoy the final day and as long as we put in a good account of ourselves I will be happy.
“I’m looking forward to the experience and a cup final will only make the lads better for next season.”
Since arriving at the club in November, after Jeff Wells’ surprise exit, Bligh has enjoyed a terrific run of form which has seen him win 11 of his 16 games in charge.
While he admits a trophy in his first season at the helm would be a terrific reward, Bligh maintains that getting his squad ‘first team recognition’ is still his number one priority.
He said: “Of course I want to win but my winning is getting players into the first team. We are in a great position where the reserve side are not a million miles away from the first team.
“For these lads to step into that is not a bridge too far, it’s great that we are having a look at these players now.
“If we win trophies along the way then that shows the right characters that we have got at reserve level.
“All the lads are vying for a place but when it comes to the cup I’m loyal to the players that have got us this far.
“I would rather reward them, they were the ones that got us here and put us on this journey.
“They deserve it and will get their opportunity.”