Manchester Central secured promotion to the Premier Division as they emphatically beat Wilmslow Albion 4-2 at Oakwood Farm.
Central took an early lead through Josh Frith who calmly slotted the ball past keeper John Moran.
Cory Knight scored his first of the evening not long after with a neat chip.
Central were in complete control of the game as Knight doubled his tally inside 25 minutes from Frith’s corner.
Rhain Davis scored a superb free-kick to reduce the deficit but on the stroke of half time, Oliver Ford scored from a corner to give Wilmslow Albion a fighting chance for the second half.
Central extended their lead through their number nine Knight who sealed his hat-trick midway through the second half. Wilmslow had no reply as the game finished 4-2 which ensured Central’s promotion to the Premier Division.
Before Central’s early opener, Wilmslow went close as they rattled the post with a volley. However, they were made to pay as a ball over the top of the Wilmslow defence put Frith through on goal. Frith was able to latch onto the ball before shrugging off a defender who went down in a heap. Frith finished coolly past Moran to put Central ahead after 4 minutes.
The game was a feisty encounter with both teams committing themselves into tackles ensuring the referee had a busy evening. Captain Cyril Davies was penalised for a tackle on the edge of Central’s box. Rhain Davis was desperately unlucky as he smacked the crossbar with his freekick. Wilmslow had now hit the woodwork twice in the opening 8 minutes with no end result.
Elvis Amoakwa crossed the ball in and Frith found the back of the net with a good header, however the referee said Frith was offside.
10 minutes after the first goal and Central doubled their lead. A throw in from Danny Parker was flicked on by Frith into the path of Knight who raced through on goal, excellently chipping the keeper.
Central enjoyed plenty of space down the wings and Frith got in behind a Wilmslow fullback to cross for Knight who’s effort was blocked for a corner. From the resulting corner, Frith’s ball found Amoakwa at the back post who headed across goal and Knight made no mistake second time around.
With Central 3-0 up and cruising, Zak Bell fouled Peter Boyle which gave Rhain Davis another attempt from a free kick. In a similar position to the first, Davis this time scored with a superb effort beating Jordan Hadlow. The scores stood at 3-1 after 30 minutes.
Hadlow was called into action again just moments later. Oliver Ford fired a curling shot which was destined for the back of the net but Hadlow made a world class save to prevent a second Wilmslow goal. His save saw a round of applause from all corners of the pitch.
Wilmslow Albion pushed for a second goal and were nearly rewarded on 43 minutes. Miles Fenton got in behind the Central defence before rounding Hadlow. He looked to put the ball into the empty net but Liam Ellis got back excellently, clearing the ball off the line.
Wilmslow had appeared effective from set pieces and showed their quality again. This time a corner met Oliver Ford who powered a header towards the ground past Jordan Hadlow. At half time Central’s 3-0 lead had been cut to 3-2.
The second half started quietly with no major chances until the hour mark. Frith outpaced Wilmslow captain Craig Plunkett getting to the byline before crossing towards Knight. Knight turned but had his shot blocked.
Knight was to have another chance as Frith’s free kick from deep went towards the back post, Knight’s volley from a tight angle hit the side netting.
Central kept attacking as Frith intercepted a goal kick, his shot deflected behind for a corner. Frith then went to take the corner, he found Amoakwa at the back post yet again, his header this time was tipped over by Moran who made a great save.
As Central pushed men forward, they were left slightly exposed at the back however Wilmslow could not take advantage as Boyle and Ford were not on the same wavelength.
On 65 minutes, Cory Knight shot was parried into the path of Frith but he couldn’t connect with the ball cleanly and his effort went over the bar.
This wasn’t to matter though as minutes later, Knight scored his third and Central’s fourth. A poor pass from a Wilmslow defender towards Moran was intercepted by Knight who rounded the keeper and then had the simple task of slotting the ball into the empty net.
Wilmslow players did not respond well with both Davis and Boyle booked for dissent. They did have a chance to score a third but Fenton couldn’t hit the target from Davis’s pull back.
There was to be more drama before the final whistle. Substitute Marcello Arhin held the ball up towards the left corner, he managed to break away from 3 Wilmslow defenders before finding Bell who cut inside before being brought down for a penalty.
Elvis Amoakwa stepped up but hit the penalty high and wide. That brought the game to and with Central winning 4-2. This also meant Central had sealed promotion to the Premier Division, finishing 2nd in Division One.
Man of the Match – Cory Knight
WE ARE GOING UP!!! pic.twitter.com/fmxwKL29U9
— Manchester Central FC (@mcrcentralfc) May 10, 2018