POSTED: August 11 2018 11:54:51. By Keith Long
- 1st Team Draw Friendly Match After Leading 2-0
Following their fourth pre-season friendly match Beechfield United 1st team were held to a 2-2 draw by Leigh Athletic. After a slow start United gradually upped the tempo and the Leigh Athletic keeper had to use his feet to save an effort from Kurtis Lee. A couple of minutes later after great skill by Gareth Mooney in midfield he saw his swerving drive saved by the keepers fingertips. Leigh Athletic were using the counter-attack to got effect in the early stages but United's back three of Mike Rogerson, Tim Taylor and Luke Johnston remained rock-solid when under pressure. In the 18th minute Gareth Mooney, Jordan Jones-Waite and Rob Lockley combined superbly and Craig Massey added the finish to the move as he put Beechy 1-0 up. Another flurry of counter-attacks from Leigh Athletic almost earned the visitors an equaliser and on one occasion Mike Rogerson made a superb last ditch tackle as a Leigh forward seemed destined to score.
More slick passing moves from United constantly featured terrific play between Gareth Mooney, Rob Lockley and Craig Massey and Beechy fully deserved a second goal. United keeper Robert Harrison made a smart save after Leigh's No10 found himself unmarked just inside the penalty area prior to Beechy adding goal number two after thirty nine minutes. Chasing a lofted pass supplied by Craig Massey the hard working Kurtis Lee used his speed and strength to hold off a strong challenge from a Leigh defender before lobbing the ball over the advancing keeper. More top-class soccer from United created a few more chances before the break and shortly before the whistle for half time Leigh Athletic reduced the arrears via a somewhat lucky own goal. Beechy made five changes for the start of the second half that saw Steven Erskine, Chris Ferris, Jamie Sinnott, Marcus Belcher and Louis Duff all getting a piece of the action. But it was Leigh Athletic who quickly found their attacking rhythm and they were rewarded with an equalising goal just two minutes after the restart.
A move developed down the left flank and after a quick exchange of passes the visitors No8 hammered the ball low past Robert Harrison into the bottom corner of the net. A curling free kick from 35 yards by Rob Lockley left the keeper stranded but the ball bounced just wide of the target. United failed to keep the ball for long periods while Leigh Athletic grew in confidence and their right winger proved to be a tricky opponent for Beechy defender Marcus Belcher. There was no real flow to United's play in the second half that allowed the visitors to dictate the pace of the game and forcing three successive corners Leigh Athletic almost grabbed the lead as they kept Beechy under pressure for long periods. Chances for United became a rarity late in the contest but following a fine solo run from Carl Ravenscroft the ball was at the feet of Louis Duff who created the perfect angle for an attempt to beat the keeper but he fired the ball wide.
Mike Rogerson and Luke Johnston shared the Man of the Match award.