NCEL: Stansfield laments Knaresborough Town's schoolboy defending in Winterton defeat

George Eustance slides into a tackle, watched on by boss Paul Stansfield (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)
George Eustance slides into a tackle, watched on by boss Paul Stansfield (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Boss Paul Stansfield lambasted his Knaresborough Town side after an error-strewn performance in the 4-3 defeat to Winterton Rangers on Saturday.

Despite taking an early lead through captain Will Lenehan, a number of defensive clangers allowed the visitors to steal the initiative and grab a 4-1 lead.

Gary Collier wins a header for Knaresborough Town

Gary Collier wins a header for Knaresborough Town

Blaine Hobson’s second half penalty reduced the arrears before Knaresborough wasted a succession of chances to claw themselves further back into the game.

Winterton had goalkeeper Adam Stevens sent off for a second bookable offence near the end but 'Boro were only able to break through the resolve of 16-year-old replacement Lewis Tomlinson once in the latter stages.

"To say I was disappointed was an understatement," said Stansfield.

"You can’t defend like we defended at any level and to miss the chances that we did, they are the critical parts of the pitch.

"You just can’t give yourself a mountain to climb like that."

Knaresborough have now conceded the most goals on home turf among the teams in top half of the NCEL Division One table.

Stansfield blamed a mixture of individual errors and a lack of communication across the back four for Boro's leaky defence.

"It wasn't a case of pointing the finger at one, it was the whole unit. Jack (Rushworth) made a couple of saves and they were getting their first to put the ball in.

"That’s basic. You teach that in year seven.

"The frustrating thing from a management point of view is that we didn't play that poorly.

"But you’re judged on results and they came up short."

Knaresborough remain in the hunt for a play-off place and were given a boost as Hull United suffered a three-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

But the defeat left Stansfield ruing a missed opportunity to stake their claims further amongst the big-hitters of the division.

He added: "Maybe that’s just where we are as a club, a little bit inconsistent.

"If we want to be up there we need to get on that run so it.

"I know the lads are good enough to do it but they have to start doing it on a consistent basis. You have to keep churning out performances."

‘Boro head to Yorkshire Amateur - the team directly below them – on Saturday. The reverse fixture saw the teams play out a 2-2 draw at Manse Lane in August.

Stansfield will maintain faith in his starters but faces selection headaches with Ben Clayton, Graham Whitehead and Fraser Lancaster all injured and Joel Freestone suspended.

The boss said: "I am hoping it was lesson learnt again. We have always come back stronger when we have had one.”

"I have every belief in the players. I know how good they are.

""If they want to be part of it, they have to play to a level which is an eight or nine every week, not a eight or nine then a four or five."