POSTED: December 06 2018 23:52:36. By Keith Long - United's 1st Team Suffer Unlucky 2-1 Defeat

Beechfield United's 1st Team were extremely unlucky to suffer their first defeat in five games after they lost 2-1 away to Manchester Gregorians. On the home teams 4G Pitch United faced early pressure and great defending from Luke Johnston and Marcus Belcher denied Gregorians the lead inside the opening four minutes. Beechy replied with a few positive attacks and Mike Phythian and Luke Duff combined in a couple of eye-catching one-two's down the right wing. Forcing a succession of throw-in's on both flanks Gregorians kept the pressure on United and forced back into defensive duty were midfield men Ethan Birds and Chris Ferris. The hosts won this Premier Division's games initial corner and from the flag kick Gregorians took the lead after some slack defending from Beechy. In the 12th minute a fine reaction save from Andrew Richardson foiled a close range effort by the hosts No8 but during a goalmouth scramble Gregorians No9 netted the rebound.

Beechy's genuine appeal for a penalty following what appeared to be a mistimed tackle on Ethan Birds was waved away by the match official. But overall in the early stages United found it difficult to create enough clear-cut chances though one attempt by Mike Phythian forced a vital save from the Gregorians keeper who had a fairly relaxed first half. The game was played at a brisk pace and Carl Ravenscroft faced a tricky opponent the Gregorians No10 who constantly displayed terrific footwork down the right wing. Beechy forced another corner after twenty nine minutes when Mike Rogerson and Louis Duff engineered a great move on the right flank but Gregorians No5 produced a decisive powerful headed clearance. Varying their style of play especially the use of the long ball tactic Gregorians continually threatened to score again and more brilliant defending from Marcus Belcher was one of the highlights in the first forty five minutes.

During a better period of play when they didn't waste possession United carved out a few goal scoring opportunities and one such chance to level the score fell to Jordan Jones-Waite who shot wide following great play between Jamie Sinnott and Man of the Match Mike Phythian. Gregorians No10 won his team a penalty on forty two minutes but a brilliant save by Andrew Richardson denied the hosts No8 the chance to secure his team a 2-0 lead at half time. Early in the second half Jordan Jones-Waite was victim of a rather cynical challenge by Gregorians No2 but the referee decided just a yellow card was sufficient punishment for the offence. Playing with more self-belief United almost drew level after Luke Johnston who was left unmarked in the area saw a glancing header curl just wide after a Jamie Sinnott in swinging corner. Then Jamie was involved in the next piece of action when his low cross was fired into the side netting by Louis Duff.

As the tempo increased both teams dished out a few meaty tackles and the referee was kept busy awarding free kicks galore. Two saves from Gregorians keeper one after a header from Louis Duff then following Jamie Sinnott's curling powerful low drive denied Beechy a deserved equaliser. Making a couple of substitutions United Manager Steven Erskine sent on Gareth Mooney and Kurtis Lee in place of Ethan Birds and Chris Ferris. There was real aggression from Beechy in all areas of the pitch with some outstanding defending from Mike Rogerson, Marcus Belcher, Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft. On seventy minutes United equalised when following another corner taken by Jamie Sinnott the ball was won in the air by Kurtis Lee who planted a header firmly into the net.

Gregorians quickly countered-attacked and forced three successive corners and on one occasion Andrew Richardson saved a point-blank fierce drive from the hosts No9. Jordan Jones-Waite wasted a golden opportunity to give Beechy the lead during another great spell of forceful attacking from United who fully believed they could win this game. But in the 82nd minute Beechy were caught cold when once again when they failed to defend against another Gregorians set-piece and following a free kick the ball was forced over the line for what proved to be the hosts winning goal. During the remaining minutes Beechy kept pressure on Gregorians but despite going close several times just couldn't force a late deserved equaliser. (1st December 2018)

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