POSTED: April 30 2018 18:40:24. By Keith Long - Three Defeats On The Trot For First Team

Despite suffering their third successive Division 1 defeat Beechfield United's First Team retained top spot in the table. On Saturday 21st April United were away to Manchester Central for this Manchester Football League fixture and Beechy produced a slightly below-par performance especially in the second half. On their opponents Astroturf Pitch United licked-off the match and made a confident start with Jordan Jones-Waite having a half chance of a goal from just outside the area. The hosts created a swift counter-attack down the right wing and Central's No10 fired the ball straight at United keeper Robert Harrison. Sixty seconds later Louis Duff and Mike Rogerson combined in a quality move as United continued to produce some fast attacking football. A great piece of skill by the hosts No9 set-up a scoring opportunity for Central's No3 but he hammered the ball well wide of the target. Another superb Beechy move involving Rob Lockley and Louis Duff almost created a chance for Kurtis Lee who was left unmarked in the area.

On several occasions United's use of the long ball tactic let them down but in quick succession Craig Massey and Steven Erskine got their passes on target and Central had to concede a couple of corners. On the balance of play after twenty minutes Beechy deserved at least one goal but they were forced to make a change following an injury to Mike Rogerson who was replaced by Marcus Belcher. Gradually Manchester Central became a greater threat going forward and following a free kick United survived a goalmouth scramble when Martin McNally's produced a well timed clearance. United suddenly faced more pressure as the hosts continued to move the ball around at a much quicker pace. A last ditch tackle by Marcus Belcher halted a mazy run by Central's No8 then Robert Harrison had to deal with a high cross that was dipping just under the crossbar. More counter-attacking soccer from Beechy failed to get them a goal as a highly confident Central side frustrated United via a risky offside trap. It remained 0-0 at half time but three minutes into the second half Central took the lead.

The referee was well positioned when he awarded Central a penalty and the hosts No9 made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick. Facing extra pressure Beechy had to work hard to retain possession and in one direct forward move Steven Erskine and Rob Lockley exchanged passes and Jordan Jones-Waite ended the move by firing the ball past the post. The Central keeper added to the pressure on Beechy with a series of long accurate kicks downfield but Luke Johnston and Matthew McNally won most of the aerial duals. Unable to find a decent flow to their play United made a tactical change when Tom Allcock took over from Kurtis Lee with Craig Massey operating upfront. A few more problems for Beechy developed as they conceded far too many free kicks in their own half. United needed to show more urgency in the last ten minutes but clear-cut chances were few and far between and in the 86th minute Central secured victory and the three points with their second goal.

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