POSTED: April 09 2022 20:33:49. By Keith Long - Superb Cup Victory For United's First Team

At Salford Sports Village Beechfield United 1st Team met Heywood St James in the Gilgryst Cup and progressed to the Quarter Finals following a 3-2 victory. (2/4/2022)

Both teams contributed to a fast start and the visitors had an early chance to open the scoring but after beating the offside trap Heywood's No9 side footed the ball wide. As Beechy slowly got their attacking rhythm into gear both Tyler Cooke and Keenan Switzer were involved from midfield in some fast counter-attacks. Kurtis Lee produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle when the Heywood No9 raced clear via another solo run then Joe Poyser made a great headed clearance following a free kick. United's keeper Prince Kojo Osei Attah in quick succession dealt with a couple of efforts on target by the visitors No10 and No11.

A great through ball by Keenan Switzer between two Heywood defenders sent Callum Davies racing down the left wing but United's No7 fired the ball inches wide. Involved in a superb attack on the right flank were David Opiyo and Tyler Cooke that eventually won Beechy another corner just before United took the lead in the 14th minute. Callum Davies flicked the past the Heywood right back and his low cross into the area was met by James Olanya who held off two strong challenges before slotting the ball past the keeper. Continued good movement off the ball from the visitors forced some top-class defending from David Opiyo, Joe Poyser, Kurtis Lee and Danny Royle.

The Heywood keeper pulled off a first-class save to deny an effort by Tyler Cooke who was involved with Aaron Wilson and James Olanya in an excellent quick passing move. Creating the highlight of the tie was Keenan Switzer who supplied a spectacular finish when he hammered the ball past the Heywood keeper from twenty five yards to put United 2-0 up. Beechy continued to play some excellent attacking football but the visitors were always a threat especially when their No10 was in possession of the ball. An effort from the Heywood No8 deflected for a corner then Prince Kojo made a fine save following a shot on target from the visitors No11.

Tom Allcock produced more surging runs down the right wing and on one occasion from Tom's angled cross James Olanya set-up a chance for Keenan Switzer. (HT 2-0) Straight from the restart Heywood forced a corner that caused a goalmouth scramble and David Opiyo was happy to clear the ball to safety. A quick counter-attack between the visitors No3 and No11 ended when the latter fired his effort well wide of the target. After fifty four minutes Heywood reduced the arrears when Beechy were guilty of some slack defending that allowed the visitors No8 both time and space to drill the ball low into the net from the edge of the area.

The pace of the game suddenly went up a level and United made their first substitution when Bradley Hodges replaced Tom Allcock. Upfront both James Olanya and Callum Davies maintained their strong running off the ball while in midfield Tyler Cooke, Aaron Wilson and Keenan Switzer increased their work rate in the key area of the pitch. Heywood forced three successive corners and both Joe Poyser and Kurtis Lee were in action making vital headed clearances when under pressure. Great play by James Olanya set-up a good chance for Bradley Hodges who timed his solo run into the area before forcing a fine reaction save from the visitors keeper.

A clever side footed pass from Tyler Cooke was controlled by Keenan Switzer and an effort by the Beechy youngster flashed wide of the target. Ryan Pollard replaced Callum Davies and Heywood also made a tactical change as both teams continued to display a high level of fitness. Several fast counter-attacks from Heywood brought the best out of United's defensive quartet and following a brilliant display right back David Opiyo was named Man of the Match. An inspired third Beechy substitution by Coach Ashley Ward resulted in United taking their 3-1 lead when with his first touch of the ball Adam Leach who had replaced James Olanya added a neat close range finish after a great lofted pass by Keenan Switzer.

Heywood's second goal in the 87th minute set-up a tense finish and Beechy were forced to produce more excellent defending before they could celebrate their fully deserved victory. In the Quarter-Finals United have been drawn at home to play Heyside on Saturday 7th May 2022.

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