KNOWLE FC suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to lowly Redditch Borough as their promotion hopes took a blow.
The Robins lacked creativity throughout at the Draintech Community Ground as James Mudie’s stunner shortly before half time proved decisive.
And the result means Knowle remain third in the Midland Football League Division Two table, four points behind Coton Green in second with a game in hand.
The home side were without a recognised striker with three forward players unavailable on the day of the fixture.
Knowle started on the front foot when Zak Harbon saw his low shot blocked before George Seeley blazed over from six-yards out when well placed to score.
The visitors responded with a chance of their own when Khurum Iqbal curled an effort wide from 20-yards out from the left-hand edge of the penalty area.
Both teams struggled to gain a foothold in the game as Robins forward Pete Bailey fired a tame shot from distance that bounced into the goalkeeper’s arms.
And Bailey then had another chance to break the deadlock when he was played in behind the Redditch defence only for Borough captain Joe Denham to make a superb last ditch challenge as the Knowle man went to pull the trigger.
Knowle’s number nine was involved again soon after when Bailey delivered a dangerous ball from the right that was just out of the reach of Seeley.
However, Redditch took the lead on 42 minutes when Mudie smashed a loose ball into the top right corner from 25-yards out to stun the promotion chasing hosts.
The Robins came out fighting in the second half and almost drew level when some pinball in the Redditch six-yard box ended with Seeley being denied by Borough goalkeeper Anthony Swain.
And Knowle spurned another chance when Luke Fox headed into the side netting at the back post from Seeley’s floated cross.
Clive Seeley’s side were then denied a leveller by a block on the goal line when a Knowle player looked certain to turn the ball home from a corner from the left.
Redditch remained a threat at other end and almost doubled their lead in fortuitous circumstances when Knowle goalkeeper Jack Tregartha was forced to tip Lewis Cosgrove’s miscued header over his own crossbar.
And Borough were then denied by Cosgrove’s superb block as he bravely threw his body in the way of Paul Bonar’s shot before Charlie Sutton headed narrowly over from the resulting corner.
However, Knowle were still searching for a crucial equaliser and almost found it when Fox headed inches over the bar from a floated corner from the right.
And the Robins were screaming for a penalty in the final few minutes when Redditch keeper Swaine barged into Ryan Andrews only for the referee to remain unmoved and point for a goal kick.
Another goalmouth scramble ensued from a corner from the right before eventually being poked wide as the Robins were made to pay for a lack of creativity on a difficult afternoon.
Knowle are next in action away at unbeaten league leaders Cadbury Athletic on Saturday, March 12 with kick-off at 3pm at The Hayes.