POSTED: August 16 2018 21:43:49. By Keith Long
- Terrific Display But Utd Draw Opening Day Fixture
Knowing they face a tough challenge throughout the 2018/2019 season in the Manchester Football League Beechfield United 1st Team made a superb start to life in the Premier Division when they met Springhead FC. At Salford Sports Village United fully deserved to win the match but despite an excellent all-round display they had to settle for a 1-1 draw. Inside the first couple of minutes United launched a slick counter-attack involving Jamie Sinnott, Jordan Jones-Waite and Rob Lockley that almost produced a goal. Quickly finding a good rhythm to their play Springhead attacked with real menace forcing some crucial defending from Mike Rogerson, Tim Taylor and Marcus Belcher. But Beechy were soon back on the attack when Jamie Sinnott and Carl Ravenscroft combined to set-up Gareth Mooney who saw his swerving effort sail over the crossbar. Ninety seconds later United took the lead when Rob Lockley headed the ball onto Jamie Sinnott and he superbly played it over the last defender for Jordan Jones-Waite who timed his run to perfection before lobbing the ball past the keeper into the empty net.
Then Gareth Mooney won the ball inside United's half and angled a pass to Jordan Jones-Waite who easily got past his marker before forcing a fine save for the Springhead keeper. The visitors keeper was soon in action again making another acrobatic save following a great piece of play between Carl Ravenscroft and Craig Massey. A linesman's raised flag ruined several promising attacks by Springhead but the visitors eventually forced an equaliser on the quarter-hour mark after Beechy were guilty of some poor defending. Quickly forgetting the set-back United soon enjoyed more of the ball and once again the Springhead keeper rescued the visitors when he produced a spectacular save following a powerful strike from 35yards by Rob Lockley. Chris Ferris and Gareth Mooney grafted non-stop in midfield and there was some great movement off the ball up front by Jordan Jones-Waite and Jamie Sinnott as Beechy continued to look dangerous going forward.
Winning numerous free kicks and two corners in quick succession Springhead came close to grabbing the lead and United keeper Steven Naylor made a couple of vital saves when under pressure. His opposite number showed his ability again saving an effort from Jordan Jones-Waite who had been set-up via a great move involving Tim Taylor and Gareth Mooney. Minutes before half time Craig Massey thought he had put Beechy back in front but he was denied by the keepers reflex save. Substitute Mike Phythian replaced Chris Ferris and United made a promising start to the second half. Beechy had a couple of decent chances before the visitors stepped up a gear and both Tim Taylor and Marcus Belcher produced well timed headed clearances after crosses from both flanks. Springhead's No3 advanced down the pitch before sending the ball onto the visitors No11 but his intended cross into the area drifted behind for a goal kick. Steven Naylor who had a very good game displayed safe handling when dealing with a deep cross sent from the opposite flank. Then United's keeper kept out an effort on target by the visitors No 12 who had found space just inside the area.
Finding chances harder to create Beechy relied heavily on a well organised defence and producing an outstanding performance was sixteen year old and Man of the Match Marcus Belcher. In the 59th minute United lost a player due to a red card incident but the ten men showing a never-say-die attitude never gave Springhead the opportunity of controlling the match. Jamie Sinnott became United's lone striker, Louis Duff took over from Craig Massey and Mike Phythian in a dynamic display directed his aggression in all the right areas. Both teams remained fully committed to winning the 50/50 challenges and Springhead came close on a couple of occasions to a winning goal but Steven Naylor again showed his ability with more great goalkeeping in the closing minutes.