Daves Double Delight
By Dean Wootten
Knight scores twice as Bowers go six points clear
Saturday 9th February
The Len Salmon Stadium
Kick Off: 19:45
Bostick Division One North
Referee: Rhys Battye
Assistant Referees: Christopher Price & Joseph Gray
David Knight grabbed a double as Bowers & Pitsea went six points clear at the top of the Bostik Division One North, with a controlling 3-0 win over Witham Town.
Bowers made one change to the side that beat Grays Athletic 1-0 with Lewis Clark returning to the starting eleven in place of Max Cornhill.
Very windy conditions at The Len Salmon made anything above head height a lottery with players from both sides mis-judging the flight of the ball in the early goings. Bowers created their first chance of the game in the 10th minute as Callum Leahy’s nod down saw Lewis Clark hit a volley on the slide, but Luca Collins was able to hold.
Bowers continued to see the better of the opening exchanges, with Bard Warner forcing Collins into a save, before Quentin Monville picked out David Knight in the box but his header fell wide.
But Knight wasn’t to be denied as in the 25th minute he put the league leaders ahead. Tom Stephen was given an age on the left wing to pick a cross, and he found Knight with precision who looped a header over Collins.
Mr Golden Glove, Andy Wilton, was at his very best five minutes later, palming former Bowers forward Ayo Odukoya venomous strike away from goal after the big man had spun Martyn Stokes.
Bowers almost made the perfect start to the second half, as Monville’s long-throw found Stokes in space, but his effort was blocked by Collins. The ball fell to Knight who teed up Warner, but his strike hit Stokes and deflected over.
The hosts continued to dominate and Ben Sartain saw his strike from the edge of the area acrobatically tipped over by the impressive Collins. In the build up to that save, Warner and Knight had combined well, but the former saw his goalbound shot hit Lewis Manor square in the face, knocking the Bowers All Time Leading Goalscorer off his feet.
From the corner that Sartain had earned, Callum Leahy connected with Knight’s corner but his header cannoned off the base of the post. The ball was recycled and Manor rose highest to Ryan Sammons cross, but his header was over.
The league leaders finally made their dominance tell as Knight scored both his and Bowers second of the afternoon. The Reds broke ferociously as Monville flicked on for Knight to chase, and he was able to outpace and outmuscle Luke Mallet, before firing under Collins to score his 18th league goal of the season.
It wasn’t long until Bowers made it three, Sartain playing a perfectly weighted pass to Monville who tucked home from the edge of the area. That was Sartain’s last action of the game as he was replaced by Max Cornhill, to go alongside the earlier substitution of Jamie Dicks on for Warner.
Witham tried to force their way back into the game as substitute Michael Osei-saahene tried to finish a flowing move, but Wilton held firm as Bowers looked for their 16th clean sheet in the league.
Bowers final chance saw James Thomas replace Leahy, and despite his few minutes on the pitch, JT could easily have scored himself a hat-trick. First, Thomas latched onto Manor’s flick on but hit the bar, before seeing his strike blocked on the line by Siju Odelusi.
Thomas was to then fire wide before hitting the bar with the last kick off the game to leave himself wondering how he hadn’t added to his two league goals.