Earlswood Town were looking to get a result yesterday afternoon against the league leaders in a local Solihull derby at the Pavilions. The Earls have been playing well this season and had scored a total of 26 goals going into this match which was the highest in the division. Their recent form had been good with seven points from four matches in the league against some tough teams.
Knowle were the form team in the league going into this match and were looking to make it five consecutive wins in the division. The Robins were top of the table going into this local derby and were looking to get a huge result to continue their impressive form and continue their spell as league leaders. The defence was also playing well with three clean sheets from their last four matches coming into this match.
The weather at the Pavilions was clear throughout the afternoon and the conditions were excellent for a game of football. The set up at the ground was good and offered a great view of the pitch to be close to the action. The programme on offer by the club was informative and provided a history of the club and gave a rundown of the local non-league results within the Solihull area. The atmosphere prior to kick off was positive and there was a notable following for the Robins yesterday afternoon.
Starting Line ups
The starting line up for Earlswood Town featured Ethan Pheasey starting in goal and Louis Bridges being the skipper from attacking midfield. The formation looked like a 4-4-2 with a front two of Daniel Elwell and Thomas Kinsey leading the line with Zach Taylor and John Palmer playing in central defence.
There were three changes from the team that started against Coventry Alvis last weekend with Harry Street coming into the team and playing in midfield.
The starting line up for Knowle included Craig Johnson starting in goal and George Seeley leading the team as the skipper from attacking midfield. The formation appeared to be a 4-2-3-1 with Jay Rendell playing up front for the Robins and being supported by Jack Mullen and Tom Craine on the wings.
There were three changes from the team that started against Central Ajax last weekend with Toby Scott coming into the team and playing in a holding midfield two alongside Dylon Bennett.
The opening 15 minutes of the match were mainly cagey with both teams settling into the match and working each out. Knowle started the match the better of the two teams with Earlswood gradually growing into the game as the first half went on.
The visitors were linking up play well in the final third and were clearly a team in form as they played a possession-based game that was focused on working balls into the box and playing some good football. They were awarded with the opening goal in the 22nd minute and George Seeley did brilliantly to finish into the bottom right corner to give the Robins the lead.
The goal was coming for the visitors and Earlswood did well in the opening 20 minutes to make some last ditch defending and block threatening attacks on goal. Zach Taylor and Jamie Hyland stood out in defence throughout the first half and were reading the game well to make clearances and blocks to give the hosts a foothold in the match.
It was not quite clicking for Earlswood up front throughout the half, but it was not for a lack of effort from the hosts. Daniel Elwell was getting into some good positions around the penalty box but looked a bit isolated up front. The main positives from Earlswood were how they were growing into the game and getting on to the ball more in the last 15 minutes to cause Knowle some problems.
Knowle controlled the opening 45 minutes well and they looked organised both on and off the ball to take a 1-0 lead going into Half Time.
The second half kicked off with a key moment in the match early in the half which effectively sealed the match and gave the Robins the three points. George Seeley took an excellent free kick from the right that went into the top right corner to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the 46th minute. It was a moment of genuine quality and underlined why the Robins have had such a positive start to the season.
The team looked a bit more composed in the final third than Earlswood throughout the match and it showed for spells of the second half. Knowle had a few half chances to make it 3-0 after the second goal but Jay Rendell and George Seeley narrowly missed from promising positions.
The visitors did eventually make it 3-0 with George Seeley playing an excellent through ball to Tom Craine on the left who scored past the keeper in the 62nd minute. Knowle controlled the match from then on and allowed Earlswood to have more of the ball and played on the counter attack in the last half an hour.
Earlswood were passing the ball better throughout the second half and had some promising moments going forward which were dealt with by the Knowle defence. Jay Rendell had a good chance for the Robins in the 70th following a free-flowing move from the visitors and narrowly missed.
Earlswood did have a few half chances to get a goal late on with Joseph Brake-Cervantes heading over from a corner at the back post. None the less, it was a convincing away win for Knowle that underlined their title credentials.
Despite the defeat, there some positive for the Earls against tough opposition. The central defensive partnership of Zach Taylor and John Palmer looked good, and they did well to read situations and make key blocks throughout the match. Zach Taylor played well blocking shots and looked effective when playing out from the back and starting attacks. John Palmer looked good in the air and managed to head threatening balls away from danger.
Another player who stood out was Jamie Hyland from left back who looked an excellent player in this match and managed to make some key tackles. Daniel Elwell offered a bit of attacking threat up front and got into some good positions near the box which was encouraging for Earlswood supporters. There was plenty of effort and endeavour from the hosts and it was just a case of Knowle having a bit more quality up front.
Knowle were excellent in this match and underlined why they are challenging at the top of the table. The whole team looked good and organised on and off the ball to give the Robins control of the match against a team that have played well this season.
Rob Shaw was brilliant at the back and was constantly reading situations well to clear the ball away and stop Earlswood attacks. Reece Staley had an underrated game from left back and looked solid defensively as well as offering a threat from the left. Dylon Bennett played well as the holding midfielder and gave Knowle composure on the ball from midfield to start attacks.
The player that really stood out for the Robins was George Seeley who was excellent in this match and had that bit of quality going forward. He got into some good positions and offered a bit of class on the ball and played some brilliant through balls. Jay Rendell also impressed as the number nine and linked up play well as the main striker.
Overall, it was an impressive performance from the visitors and a deserved win.
Man of the Match: George Seeley (Knowle)
Match report written by Rhys Beardmore for the Midland Football League
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