FOOTBALL - Knowle reach Les James Challenge Cup final after shootout win against Ajax in epic - The Solihull Observer

FOOTBALL - Knowle reach Les James Challenge Cup final after shootout win against Ajax in epic

Solihull Editorial 16th Apr, 2024 Updated: 17th Apr, 2024   0

KNOWLE booked their place in the Les James Challenge Cup final with a penalty shootout win against Central Ajax.

After a thrilling 3-3 draw in regulation time, the Robins triumphed 5-4 on penalties at the Draintech Community Ground.

And Knowle will play divisional rivals Fairfield Villa in the final at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium on Tuesday, April 30.

Knowle’s joint manager Clive Seeley said: “It was two sides going at it, full respect to Central Ajax, they pushed us all the way and didn’t deserve to be a loser but fortunately we came out on top on penalties.

“My heart rate is not the best at the moment, I’m still coming down.

“Fairfield Villa in the final, we drew at their place, it’s going to be a tough game, finals always are, we’re expecting a big battle.”

Knowle took the lead on seven minutes when Christian McArdle stabbed the ball home from close range.

However, Ajax drew level on the half-hour mark as Jack Keeling scored from the penalty spot before Harry Edgington-Furlong completed the turnaround three minutes later after a long ball caught out the Knowle defence.

The Robins restored parity after the break when Owain Taylor’s free-kick found the net only for Edward Caswell to put Ajax back in front soon after following some pinball in the Knowle penalty area.

However, the home side scored their second equaliser as Tom Craine tapped in after good work from Brandon Hague to take the game to penalties.

Robins goalkeeper Bobbie Biddle crucially saved Keeling’s effort in the shootout as Taylor, Craine, Hayden Purves and Cody Mullan all scored to leave Knowle one kick from a place in the final.

However, George Seeley hit the post to send the shootout to sudden death only for Will Jeffries to miss his effort and George Manning to slam the ball home to confirm Knowle’s place in the final.

Knowle are next in action away at Bolehall Swifts on Saturday, April 20 with kick-off at 3pm at Rene Road.


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