POSTED: December 03 2019 14:19:34. By Keith Long - Early Cup Exit For United's First Team

Last season Beechfield United 1st Team reached the final of the Gilgryst Cup but there was to be no repeat of their previous achievement this season. In Round One United were drawn away to play Bolton County and on 23/11/2019 Beechy went out of the competition following a 3-1 defeat.

The hosts grass pitch looked in good condition but it soon cut up making instant control of the ball difficult at times. Stand-in keeper Luke Johnston made a couple of comfortable early saves and when Beechy built some useful attacks Mike Rogerson and Ellis Carr combined well down the right flank. United almost grabbed the lead following a free kick when a header by Kurtis Lee was on target but County's No5 was well positioned and hammered the ball out of the danger zone. Moving the ball around with an air of confidence Bolton County opened the scoring in the 6th minute via their No9 who looked to be in an offside position when he received the ball. Competing fiercely for possession Beechy worked hard all over the pitch and nearly equalised when an effort from Craig Massey curled just wide.

Following more eye catching soccer from County Luke Johnston continued to be the busier of the two keepers and as United's back four dealt with some heavy pressure both Gareth Mooney and John Purcell made vital first time clearances. After Craig Massey had seen another effort just miss the target play switched quickly to the other end and Bolton County's No10 saw his fierce drive rebound back into play off the post. A couple of minutes later the hosts No10 who had raced onto a ball hit deep into United's half had an open goal to aim at but somehow from about eight yards he missed the target altogether. County continued to produce wave after wave of attacks forcing Beechy to deal with another period of pressure and once again Gareth Mooney and John Purcell defended superbly but in the latter stages of the first half United looked a greater threat going forward and a superb move involving Kurtis Lee, Ellis Carr and Louis Duff ended when the latter forced a fingertip save from County's keeper. The hosts goalie then made another smart save after Kurtis Lee collected a pass from Louis Duff and fired the ball towards the corner of the net.

Needing to play at much quicker tempo in the second half Beechy were soon having to defend again and keeper Luke Johnston made a fine reflex save following a free kick. The referee missed a few late tackles on United's players before Beechy equalised after sixty two minutes when Craig Massey from a free kick fired the ball over the hosts keeper high into the net. United disputed County's second goal when the hosts regained the lead because Beechy's defenders were totally convinced the County No11 had strayed into an offside position before he put the ball into the net. Far too many stoppages frustrated both teams and United came close on a few occasions to getting back level and a slick move between Craig Massey and Kurtis Lee won Beechy another corner. On seventy two minutes United lost the ball in midfield and at the end of a breakaway attack Bolton County's No10 supplied a clinical finish to guarantee the hosts a place in the next round of the competition. A fantastic double save by Luke Johnston went a long way to earning him the Man of the Match award.

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