IT was a bad day at the office for Billinge on Saturday as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Knutsford.

Three second-half goals in eight minutes did for The Storks in a game they dominated for large periods.

The Claret and Blues squad was decimated with Covid issues, injuries, unavailability and they started the game poorly; with the home side completely bossing the early stages.

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They came out of the blocks the sharpest and could have been 3-0 ahead in the first 15 minutes as Ben Geary hit the post twice and George Riley thundered a shot against the bar from 35 yards.

This forced The Storks player-manager Wayne Wardle to change the formation and the team quickly got a foothold in the game.

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Craig Davies had a shot well-saved by Knutsford keeper Connor Beard - after good work by Rob Lamont - and on the half-hour mark the same two players combined but again Beard was up to the task.

The Storks then had a huge claim for a penalty when Liam Bott was - after a superb run -hauled down in the area only for referee Justin Walton inexplicably wave ‘play on’.

Defensively - the otherwise excellent - Brad Higgins was almost caught out as his clearance ricocheted back over the bar and then Riley shot wide as the half finished goalless.

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Billinge started the second period well as Davies put in a teasing cross that was deflected over for a corner and then on 51 minutes Liam Fitzgerald had a 40-yard rocket well-saved by Beard.

However, three minutes later the hosts were ahead.

Richie Allen was clearly fouled but referee Walton again saw nothing in it, the ball fell to Markell Bennett whose shot took a wicked deflection to beat Mark Power in The Storks nets.

Seven minutes later it was two as Bennett found himself in space and slotted from ten yards.

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Then from the restart Knutsford's Elvis Omorogbe didn't so much "leave the building" but leave The Storks defenders standing as he collected the ball 75 yards out and simply ran up the wing, cut inside and curled an unstoppable shot past Power.

The game was now seemingly out of Billinge's reach but they took the game to the home side and had four very good chances.

Allen found himself through on goal but Beard saved his attempted chip shot well before John Humphreys headed Bott's free-kick into the path of Davies who shot wide from 12 yards with just the keeper to beat.

Humphreys then had two great chances of his own as he firstly headed over from six yards and then moments later should have maybe done better when he brought a simple save out of the keeper.

As it was Knutsford saw out the last ten minutes of the game to claim a vital three points.

It left manager Wardle an unhappy man as he said after the final whistle: "It was one of those games that we could have lost 6-0 but equally could have got something from the game.

"But on reflection Knutsford were the best team on the day and deserved their victory."

Next week The Storks travel to Warrington to take on Greenalls PSO in anther vital game. Kick-off is 2pm.