POSTED: April 16 2018 20:36:01. By Keith Long - Two Defeats In Three Days For First Team

Beechfield United First Team received a double setback regarding their bid to become Manchester Football League Division 1 champions. On Saturday 7th April Beechy were at home to Elton Vale and suffered a 2-1 defeat then four days later lost 3-1 following an evening fixture at Chadderton Reserves. Against Elton Vale a few dubious decisions almost ruined the match as United struggled to contain a well organised Vale outfit who's winning goal came in stoppage time. Beechy won the first corner of the game after Craig Massey beat the offside trap via a well timed run down the left flank and his effort deflected off a Vale defender. When the visitors produced some fast attacking soccer central defender Rob Lockley was in action with three vital headed clearances. The Vale No7 was involved in more free flowing moves by the visitors and one swerving shot from outside the area forced a one handed save from United keeper Robert Harrison.

When Beechy gradually became more of a threat going forward Kurtis Lee worked hard upfront to escape the tight marking of Vale's twin centre-backs. Vale had a secret weapon courtesy of their No3 who's massive long throw's caused United real problems throughout the game. Luke Johnston and Rob Lockley made several timely interceptions when United faced a series of free kicks and corners. Vale's No10 who was a major influence on the visitors impressive display had the ball in the net but the referee disallowed the goal for offside. Continuing to attack with real intensity Vale came close to getting the opening goal on numerous occasions so United were happy to settle for a 0-0 score line at half time. Following an encouraging team talk at the break United looked more composed once the second half developed and they had a goal ruled out after Louis Duff was caught in an offside position. Rob Lockley was harshly judged to have committed a foul on a Vale forward after winning another aerial dual in the area.

The referee clearly made the wrong decision when he awarded Vale a penalty and the visitors No8 opened the scoring when he fired home the spot-kick in the 50th minute. Jordan Jones-Waite replaced Jamie Sinnott and the substitute's first real attempt almost beat the keeper from twenty yards. Chances for the visitors No7 & No10 were wasted much to United's relief while Beechy themselves failed to take advantage of a series of free kicks in the Vale half. Though from one dead ball situation Rob Lockley was inches away from getting United back level when his free kick flew just over the crossbar. But after forcing a corner in the 82nd minute Beechy equalised when the flag kick taken by Louis Duff was partly cleared but Craig Massey sent the ball back across the area and Luke Johnston headed the ball into the net from close range. It was all out attack by both teams during a tense last few minutes but it was Vale who ruined United's hopes of getting the three points with a deserved match winning goal. Man of the Match was Rob Lockley.

Away to Chadderton Reserves on Tuesday evening United who made a couple of team changes couldn't have asked for a better start to the match. Beechy took the lead in the 4th minute when at the end of a mazy run Jamie Sinnott played the ball into the area and Kurtis Lee angled his accurate low drive past the keeper. But the lead lasted less than three minutes after the Chadderton No9 was gifted the ball via a poor clearance and he produced a composed finish for 1-1. Matthew McNally, Rob Lockley and Luke Johnston defended superbly as the home side came close to a second early goal. As the pace of the game quickened United continually threatened on the counter-attack with both Chris Ferris and Gareth Mooney winning their share of the midfield encounters and the latter superbly set-up Kurtis Lee who's shot hit the side netting. The action was of a frantic nature and when Chadderton found a better attacking rhythm great defending this time from Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft rescued Beechy.

The Chadderton No9 wasted a free header from close range and sixty seconds later a brilliant long pass from Rob Lockley sent Jamie Sinnott on a clear run down the left wing but the latter fired his long range effort just past the post. Then in the 39th minute Jamie was victim of a nasty over the top tackle that surprisingly went unpunished by the match official and United's No9 took no further part in the game. Facing early pressure in the second half Beechy were forced to defend for the opening ten minutes. A surging solo run by Mike Rogerson won United's first corner of the second period and a terrific half volley from Chris Ferris forced a great save from the Chadderton keeper. Several more reckless late tackles on Beechy players were ignored by the referee who awarded Chadderton a generous free kick near the halfway line that resulted in the home side taking the lead. After the ball was dispatched up field a shot by Chadderton's No 10 deflected off a United player and the ball rolled onto the hosts No7 who slotted it home from close range.

A few more controversial decisions went against Beechy during the final fifteen minutes and after Chadderton's No9 clearly pulled Matthew McNally's shirt to gain advantage as the two players clashed just inside United's half the hosts striker broke free and created space to send the ball onto his teammate wearing the No8 shirt and he provided a deft finish for 3-1. In an instant reshuffle Player Manager Steven Erskine and Louis Duff replaced Kurtis Lee and Chris Ferris. But there was more vital defending required from United and Man of the Match Luke Johnston continued to produce a superb display. A quick counter-attack between Mike Rogerson, Louis Duff and Jordan Jones-Waite forced a corner and during a goalmouth melee the ball was cleared off the line denying Beechy a goal and the chance of a possible late comeback.

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