March 01 2017 23:50:39.
By Keith Long
- One Goal Enough To Earn Beechy The Three Points
In the Manchester Football League a solitary goal in the 28th minute was enough to earn Beechfield United's First Team a 1-0 home win over Breightmet United. The victory extended Beechy's unbeaten run to five games and edged them up to seventh place in the Division 1 table. Weather conditions at Salford Sports Village were both cool and cloudy and Breightmet made a confident start to the match and twice in quick succession central defender Gary Wallis was happy to clear the ball off the pitch as the visitors injected some early pressure. Breightmet's number seven was just off target with a half volley following a promising move through the midfield. Beechy responded and forcing several throw-in's on the left flank created a few half chances. Awarded another direct free kick Beechy almost went ahead courtesy of Team Captain Jamie Sinnott who's attempt from outside the area skimmed the outside of the post.
With his real touch of the ball in the 8th minute Alfie Belcher produced a terrific burst of speed to get past two defenders but his low cross into the area failed to find a team mate. A couple of minutes later at the end of a swift counter-attack by Breightmet the visitors number 11 who was a big influence on his teams performance saw his left footed strike rebound back into play off the post. Beechy knew they faced a tough ninety minutes against their well organised opponents and after a brief period when they wasted possession United almost grabbed the lead again. Working hard in midfield was Mike Phythian who delivered a superb angled pass to Kurtis Lee who was denied a goal by a brave piece of goalkeeping. A spell of heavy rain arrived about the twenty minute mark but that failed to spoil what turned out to be a very entertaining contest.
Returning to the Beechy team after missing five games due to an injury was defender Luke Johnston and he timed his run into the area to meet Jamie Sinnott's in swinging corner but his header curled over the crossbar. Enjoying a fairly comfortable match so far was United keeper Robert Harrison but he showed his ability with a brilliant save when a thunderous drive by the Brieightmet number eleven looked to be heading into the top corner of the net. Beechy's match winning goal arrived when another accurate corner taken by Jamie Sinnott put pressure on the Breightmet keeper who in an attempt to clear the ball only succeeded in palming it onto Kurtis Lee and the Beechy striker produced an instant celebration as the ball rolled into the net. But Beechy's slender lead was immediately under threat as Breightmet quickly found their attacking rhythm again and their number nine who made numerous unselfish runs off the ball forced a super save from Robert Harrison.
But overall the Beechy keeper received adequate protection from the hard working back four of Mike Rogerson, Gary Wallis, Man of the Match Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft. The visitors kept United in basic defensive mode but Beechy themselves were well organised in all areas of the pitch and came close to a second goal close the break. Winning a throw-in within seconds of the restart Beechy were once again denied a 2-0 lead via a smart save by the Breightmet keeper. Again Beechy produced a slack period of play when they wasted possession far too easily and Breightmet came close to an equaliser on several occasions. On fifty three minutes Beechy made their first tactical change when Kurtis Lee was replaced by Louis Duff who immediately took up a position on the right wing with Jamie Sinnott now playing as the main target man. One goal didn't seem enough for Beechy to win this game and forced to produce more top-class defending Rogerson, Wallis, Johnston and Ravenscroft responded superbly.
Steven Erskine was introduced in place of Chris Ferris who had another very good game and Beechy's player-manager quickly found his passing range. After a superb ball winning tackle near the halfway line left back Carl Ravenscroft produced a surging run down the left flank and his angled pass was controlled by Alfie Belcher who created enough space to hammer the ball at the target but the Breightmet keeper made a flying save. Two minutes later the Beechy youngster saw a similar effort bring out the best in the Breightmet shot-stopper. With both teams fully committed there was some strong challenges for the ball all over the pitch but overall the match was well controlled by referee Owen Evans. Continuing to enjoy a huge bulk of the ball Breightmet were always dangerous via the counter-attack but Beechy's back four denied the visitors with more resolute defending. Making their third substitution Beechy sent on Craig Massey for Mike Phythian who had produced a brilliant all-action display. Robert Harrison made another vital save after the visitors number ten had powered a header on target following a free kick.
Finding an extra gear in the last ten minutes Beechy created some excellent attacking football with Rob Lockley, Alfie Belcher, Louis Duff and Jamie Sinnott all involved in countless moves that gave Breightmet a few defensive nightmares. Louis Duff and Rob Lockley linked-up superbly and the latter skillfully set-up Alfie Belcher for another terrific effort from outside the area but once again he was denied a goal by the keepers acrobatic save. Weather permitting on Saturday 4th March 2017 Beechy are away to Chapel Town FC.