Malvern 2 - Knowle 3

Knowle turned up to their first game of the new season in confident mood and looking to build upon the achievements of last season. It was a hot humid day and Knowle started very slowly. With a few changes to the team they found it difficult to settle and were not helped by being caught offside at nearly every attack. Malvern were having more of the attacking play and were the team to break the deadlock after a neat turn in the box by the forward allowed her to hold off the defenders and slot into the bottom corner. Shortly after this the Malvern lead was doubled. Confusion in the Knowle midfield led to a Malvern player picking up the loose ball and a through ball found the striker racing clear to lift the ball neatly over the advancing keeper. With just minutes to go in the first half Knowle had their first opportunities to make an impact on the score line. Firstly Smurf advanced from right back to race onto an angled ball and beat the offside only to fire into the side netting, quickly followed by Jenna beating the trap but shooting wide.

Knowle started the second half very brightly and were quickly on the score sheet. A good cross from the right evaded everyone in the middle but was retrieved by Mim at the back post. She turned and fired a low hard shot across the six yard box which got a slight deflection and beat the keeper for Knowles first of the season. Shortly after Jenna was found in the left channel and turned the defender before curling an effort into the far post to equalise. As the half wore on Knowle seemed to become the stronger team but saw opportunities come and go with Malvern rarely threatening at the other end. Just as the game seemed to be drifting to a draw, a last minute clearance up field seen substitute Julia in a race with the Malvern keeper. Julia reached the ball first and neatly side stepped the diving goalie before slotting coolly into the empty net to give Knowle the victory.

Knowle 0- Lye 0

Knowle played their first home game against newly promoted Lye on what was a hot sunny afternoon with a very dry and bouncy pitch. The game was a very scrappy affair in the first half and Knowle struggled to get their passing game together or show much composure in the final third to create chances. The efforts were limited to mainly long range efforts and on the one occasion a shooting opportunity came in the box the Lye keeper came out off her line bravely to block Mim’s powerful shot at close range. On the other hand Lye were keeping the ball very well and one well worked move put the striker clean through on goal. However fortunately for Knowle the effort from the edge of the area was tame and easily fielded by Rachael in goal.

The second half continued much the same until midway through the half an accidental collision between Rachael and the oncoming striker resulted in the striker having to be carried off and leaving Lye to finish the game with only ten players. As the half wore on Knowle tried to push players forward and exert extra pressure on the Lye defence. This resulted in Jenna having two one on ones, the first of which went wide and the second beat the keeper but was well cleared off the line by a covering defender. Crouchy also managed to dribble her way through the Lye defence but the keeper also fielded her effort. Lye did well to resist the pressure and held out for a well deserved point.

Coventry Development 1 - Knowle 1

This weeks game started off rather badly for Knowle as they conceded a goal within the first couple of minutes. With Coventry’s first real attack the girl got free down the right hand side and with the Knowle defence stretched, the cross came into the six yard box only for the under pressure Amy to unfortunately divert the ball past Rachael and into the net at the near post for an own goal. However Knowle didn’t let this setback affect them and they settled into the game well. The defence were doing well to hold a high defensively line and with the keeper sweeping up well denied Coventry the opportunities to use there angled through balls to much effect. At the other end the Knowle attackers were working hard to create chances and on a couple of occasions Amy and Jo on the flanks managed to get in behind the Coventry defence. Crouchy also managed to find some space on the edge of the box but her shot went over the bar. The first half was a rather stop start affair with lots of free kicks and stoppages in play but Knowle continued to work hard to close down the Coventry players and stop them playing football, and went into half time with just the one goal deficit.

Knowle started the second half very positively and were pressuring Coventry high up the pitch. This resulted in much of the play taking place in the Coventry half and Knowle creating some decent football. They finally managed to find the breakthrough when a free kick on the right hand side of the area was curled in by Crouchy, and Sarah Jones up from defence headed in the equaliser. At the restart Coventry had an immediate chance to retake the lead as the striker got played clean through but a good save by Rachael in goal denied her. Shortly after Knowle looked to take the lead when they thought they had been awarded a penalty. However the ref had given a free kick right on the edge of the box and as crouchy cleared the wall, her effort also cleared the crossbar too. At the other end the defence were working well to limit shooting opportunities and on the few occasions that Coventry did break through the Knowle keeper made a couple of quality saves to keep the game level. In the finally few minutes Knowle nearly found the winner as some good pressure high up the pitch forced the defender into a short back pass. Mim was quickly onto the mistake but unfortunately under pressure form the out rushing keeper her shot went just the wrong side of the post. Immediately afterwards Coventry had their own opportunity to grab the winner as at the other end a long cross field ball found the striker on the edge of the box in space. Her left footed effort beat the keeper but clipped the outside of the near post. The game ended in a draw which Knowle felt was a well deserved point and a good reward for their battlin

Knowle 7- Redditch Ladies 0

This weeks cup game saw a Knowle team with a lot of forced changes, but they did not let it affect their game. Knowle started the game brightly and were trying to play a lot of good quality passing football, with players in new positions adapting quickly and successfully. The Redditch defence were put under a lot of pressure and when there was some hesitation in the box Jenna latched onto a loose ball and fired in the opening goal from close range. Shortly after some good hold up play in the box found Steph free on the edge to hit a low shot which bobbled into the bottom corner to double the advantage. Just before half time another free flowing move with a neat one two between Claire and Crouchy in the area saw Crouchy also fire home from close range and Knowle led three nil. The pattern in the second half was much the same and Knowle managed to further increase there lead without really being under any pressure themselves. Redditch managed to launch a couple of attacks forward but never really threatened to get on the score sheet. Jenna managed to score another two both from close range, Steph hit another effort from just inside the area and Crouchy just stretched on the line to divert an on target effort from Leona from the edge of the box. Knowle were very pleased by the performance and although Redditch worked very hard for the whole game the score line was well deserved as a number of other opportunities were also created but not taken.

Knowle 2 - Coventry Development 2

This weeks match was a contest between too very strong teams, played in persistent rain in battling conditions. The first half was fairly quiet with Knowle having slightly the better of the chances. The Coventry keeper did well to beat away three consecutive efforts from Jenna after she managed to get in behind the full back and advance on goal, and also Knowle came close to scoring from a couple of very good Crouchy corners. At the other end Rachael was handling the slippy ball well and the Knowle back four were working well to catch the Coventry forwards offside on a number of occasions. The second half was a lot more eventful. Knowle managed to take the lead when a well worked move found Claire in space on the edge of the area and after one touch to control Jenna’s square ball she shot past the advancing keeper into the net. The lead didn’t last long though as Coventry soon equalised with a headed goal at the near post from a corner only a few minutes later. The conditions and physical nature of the game led to a number of clumsy tackles and one from a Coventry defender on Claire in the box resulted in a Knowle penalty. The spot kick was coolly slotted away by Sarah Jones to once again give Knowle the lead. Knowle were working hard to defend and made substitutions to introduce some fresh legs. However Coventry did manage to equalise when a cross come shot from the left hand corner of the box bobbled along on the pitch and found its way into the bottom corner. There were approximately ten minutes remaining after this and Knowle had to work hard to defend some Coventry pressure but they held out and the game ended in a draw. This was a little disappointing as on reflection the three points would have been well deserved for a good performance by all.

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