May 15 2018 23:09:27.
By Keith Long
- End of Season Disapointment For Beechy Ladies
Needing a victory to secure the Greater Manchester Womens League Division 1 title Beechfield United Ladies travelled to play Bolton Girls for their final match of the season. But at the final whistle Beechy who were 2-0 up in the 33rd minute were left feeling terribly disappointed after being held to a 2-2 draw. On their opponents artificial surface United defended an early attack by the hosts with Krystal Haywood making a vital headed clearance. Julie Ward and Kim Holt together stated Beechy's initial direct move down the left flank that forced a throw-in. Natasha Herity, Sophie Wainwright and Becky Topping featured in successive counter-attacks as United were in a hurry to score an nearly goal. A piece of safety first defending by Jennifer Mutch ended a promising Bolton Girls attack then the hosts No10 had a half chance of a goal but fired the ball into the side netting. Following a corner to Bolton Girls a goalmouth scramble developed and Gemma Winterburn was in the right place to hammer the ball downfield. The home team keepers attempted clearance was blocked by Natasha Herity who volleyed the ball just inches wide of the target.
Beechy keeper Rachel Howarth made her first real save close to the quarter-hour mark pushing the ball for a corner following an in swinging free kick. Natasha Herity forced another one-handed save from the Bolton and Natasha came close to scoring again after controlling an inch perfect pass from Stacy Partridge. The action was fast and entertaining and at the end of another swift attack by Bolton Girls Shauna Smith produced a well timed ball winning tackle. After twenty four minutes Beechy took the lead with a superb goal from Natasha Herity that produced the highlight of the game. Bolton Girls No6 won the ball near the halfway line and was allowed to run unchallenged through the midfield before hitting a low drive that skimmed the post. Two solid headed clearances by Julie Ward rescued Beechy when Bolton Girls chose the long ball option as they worked hard to get back on level terms. Rachel Howarth made a comfortable save following a free kick prior to United going 2-0 up in the 33rd minute.
Both Natasha Herity and Stacy Partridge fought hard to win possession and when the ball rolled loose Becky Topping unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew over the keeper and into the roof of the net. Some significant defending from Krystal Haywood, Gemma Winterburn, Shauna Smith and Julie Ward denied Bolton Girls an equaliser until the hosts were awarded a penalty for handball and the Bolton Girls No4 scored from the spot-kick on thirty seven minutes. United were under pressure and a few passes went astray so the whistle for half time went at an ideal moment. Nicole Leonard replaced Sophie Wainwright and Beechy needed the same commitment in the next forty five minutes. Within three minutes of the restart United had forced two corners and on one occasion Shauna Smith from close range headed the ball just wide. A shot on target by Bolton Girls No10 was pushed back into play by Rachel Howarth and the ball spun to Gemma Winterburn who started another Beechy attack. Stacy Partridge, Becky Topping and Natasha Herity combined through midfield and a Bolton Girls defender was happy to concede a corner.
After fifty five minutes Beechy made another substitution when Joanna Szafranska took over from Krystal Haywood. A long range effort from Natasha Herity curled wide of the target then a free kick by Stacy Partridge almost beat the keeper as Beechy came close to a third goal. As the game became more evenly balanced Bolton Girls made Beechy work hard to stay one goal ahead. The hosts No8 was the dominant force behind numerous attacks down the right wing and one effort by Bolton Girls No19 won a corner quickly followed by another corner and Gemma Winterburn's clearance briefly eased the pressure. United's third substitution took place on seventy four minutes that saw Debbie Wright replacing Nicole Leonard.
Following a vital clearance by Shauna Smith the ball reached Becky Topping who's shot from outside the area won United another corner. Due to a mistimed attempt to win the ball by a Bolton Girls forward Gemma Winterburn suffered a foot injury and was forced to leave the pitch and was replaced by Sue Howard who had a chance to secure Beechy the victory. Two great saves by Rachel Howarth kept United ahead until the 85th minute when Bolton Girls No5 found a gap in United's defence and ran clear into the penalty area then blasted the ball high into the net for 2-2. Beechy produced a late attacking burst but they couldn't find a dramatic title winning goal. Player of the Match was Stacy Partridge.