POSTED: May 02 2021 10:45:24. By Keith Long
- Ladies Team Suffer Successive Defeats
Looking to bounce back following their first defeat of the of the season seven days earlier in the Greater Manchester Womens League Beechy Ladies faced a tricky away game with Bolton Lads and Girls.
Weathers conditions were ideal for this League Cup fixture on Sunday 24th April 2021 and both teams contributed to lively start on the hosts Astroturf Pitch. Emily Walmsley and Crystal Barker produced good runs with the ball at the heart of the Bolton defence who quickly dealt with the threat. A fast counter-attack by the hosts ended when an effort on target by their No8 went straight into the gloves of Beechy keeper Abi Thirsk. After Shauna Smith had made a couple of vital clearances Beechy found a better rhythm and moving the ball with greater accuracy came close to a goal via an effort from Crystal Barker. Bolton Girls worked well together as a unit but Beechy slowly enjoyed more of the ball and on twelve minutes a move between Hannah Walker, Bechy Topping and Stacy Partridge almost created a shooting opportunity for Emily Walmsley. Two minutes later a piece of great defending by Bethany Hill diverted the ball which was on target for the hosts first corner but Beechy dealt with the flag kick and were quickly back on the attack.
Shauna Smith was taking all the throw-in's on the right wing and and on one occasion she sent Aimee Greenwood on a clear run but her cross was deflected behind for another Beechy corner. Long range shots from Crystal Barker and Becky Topping tested the Bolton keeper then at the other end of the pitch Abi Thirsk confidently dealt with an effort from twenty five yards by the hosts No10. Mia Pemberton replaced Emily Walmsley in the 22nd minute as Beechy made their first tactical change and a couple of minutes later a free kick taken by Stacy Partridge bounced off the top of the crossbar. The Bolton Girls keeper was injured following an honest challenge for the ball by Aimee Greenwood and after a brief stoppage Beechy made their second substitution when Hannah Walker was replaced by Danielle Farrand. A corner taken by Mia Pemberton in the 35th minute resulted in Beechy taking the lead when Aimee Greenwood fired the ball into the roof of net during a goalmouth scramble.
Quickly back on the attack Bolton Girls went close to grabbing an equaliser after a strong headed clearance by Bethany Hill dropped to a Bolton forward who fired the ball just over the crossbar. Numerous long balls hit deep into Beechy's half failed to bring Bolton Girls much joy due to some solid defending in the first half from Bethany, Rachael Farrand, Shauna and Danielle. Mia Pemberton won the ball off a Bolton defender and instantly delivered a great cross into the area which just eluded a couple of teammates. Beechy made a slow start in the second half and were caught napping when Bolton Girls built an attack down the left wing and the hosts No10 created enough time and space on the edge of the area before drilling the ball low past Abi Thirsk. Producing a positive response Beechy regained the lead via a brilliant solo run by Mia Pemberton who skilfully beat two opponents and from the tightest of angles fired the ball low into the corner of the net.
Play continued to switch from end to end and Beechy were soon forced to produce some vital defending as the hosts forced three successive corners. Then Beechy won a corner and when the ball was cleared out of the area Stacy Partridge volleyed it on target but the ball rattled the crossbar with the keeper stranded. Making a couple of changes Bolton Girls began to looked more dangerous on the counter-attack and the hosts were rewarded with a second equaliser in the 54th minute. Abi Thirsk was now the busiest of the two goalkeepers and Beechy made two tactical changes one in defence and one in midfield as they looked to get a better foothold in this cup tie. But decent chances for Beechy had become of a rare nature but Becky Topping worked hard to supply a disguised pass to Crystal Barker who hammered the ball into the side netting then Nicola Campion had an opportunity to hit the target but sent the ball over the crossbar.
Both teams seemed to tire in the last fifteen minutes but the game still flowed from end to end and Beechy were having to rely on their back four to deal with some heavy pressure as Bolton Girls produced a strong attacking surge and Player of the Match Bethany Hill and Shauna Smith made great last ditch tackles. Just when a 2-2 draw looked the obvious result Bolton Girls got their match winning goal scored by one of their best players in the 87th minute.