POSTED: February 28 2020 15:29:49. By Keith Long
- Sat Morn Seniors Match Details February 2020
In what has been a hit-and-miss season so far Beechfield United Saturday Morning Senior team finally ended a run of four successive defeats with victory in the MEN Cup on the 22nd February 2020.
In the Steeles Shield Beechy were handed a tough away draw against Hazel Grove who last season won the treble and looking to continue their success. Beechy made a bright start in this quarter-final tie and playing a high pressing game caused Hazel Grove all sorts of problems, however much against the run of play United found themselves 1-0 down. But Beechy didn't lose their confidence and instantly drew level thanks to a fantastic 30 yard strike from Wes Pierce. United were much the better team and took the lead on the stroke of half time following a great move finished off by Brad Sutherland. In the second half Hazel Grove began to control the game as they pushed for an equaliser and forced some solid defending from Beechy who attempted to use the counter-attack as their main weapon. When Hazel Grove ran out of ideas they changed their tactics and after United failed to deal with a long ball aimed downfield the hosts made it 2-2. Just when it looked like a penalty shoot-out was looming Beechy's centre half Kyle Walton was sin binned for dissent. The extra man advantage proved to be crucial in the final minutes when Hazel Grove grabbed a match winning goal and despite playing well United went out of the competition.
For the Division 1 away fixture at Eastlands FC United Manager Kyle Wray made several changes due to injuries and his player rotation system. This was a poor game all round in which Beechy gifted Eastlands their two goals through individual errors. United never really got out of bottom gear and their only highlight was a fine consolation goal by Wes Pierce. Beechy's league form has been far too inconsistent and this was another winnable game that ended with a defeat.
For the second time in fourteen days United faced Hazel Grove and again Kyle Wray made team changes for this tough home fixture. Beechy have famously been poor when starting games this season and on this occasion were punished at the highest level when they found themselves 4-0 down after only ten minutes. Bad defending and once again unforced errors literally handed Hazel Grove all four goals and knowing there was potential for an embarrassing score line United rallied as they looked for a way back into the game and were given a glimmer of hope. Gary Wallis scored a wonderful goal on the half hour mark however as Beechy pushed for a second goal the visitors caught them on the counter-attack and grabbed their fifth goal almost on half time. Going into the second half 5-1 down United were clearly dazed and although goals from Ben Donohue and captain Dean Quinn gave Beechy renewed hope of a comeback the all-round quality of Hazel Grove proved the difference at the final whistle. Beechy suffered a 9-3 defeat but they always knew they would face a difficult ninety minutes though it was disappointing to concede so many goals.
United re-discovered the winning formula when they met Manchester North End in the quarter-final of the Manchester Evening News Cup and booked their place in the semi-finals thanks to a 5-3 victory. On the 4G Pitch at David Lewis Playing Fields Beechy were guilty of wasting possession in the opening few minutes of the tie. Despite a strong gusty wind the weather conditions were ideal for football and North End created some swift attacks mostly down the left wing and the visitors took the lead in the 9th minute via their player wearing the No17 shirt. United almost grabbed an instant equaliser when right back Anhmy Le made a surging run past three opponents and his low cross found Max Leonard who's shot on target forced a fine one-handed save from the North End keeper. After he had worked hard to win possession Matthew McCusker sent Issiaka Saba racing to the edge of the area but Beechy's No11 fired the ball straight at the keeper.
After beating the offside trap the North End No10 looked certain to put the visitors two goals up but United keeper Chris Pollock made a great save when he pushed the ball onto the post and to safety. A couple of minutes later Beechy got back level when Matthew McCusker's forward pass deflected off a North End player to Max Leonard and via another deflection United's main striker knocked the ball into the corner of the net. Suddenly Beechy stepped up a gear and were rewarded with a 2-1 lead when from a quickly taken corner by Bako Aziz the ball was at the feet of Wes Pierce and from the edge of the area the United midfielder produced a stunning finish past a stranded keeper. Displaying more confidence throughout the team Beechy moved the ball around much quicker as Gary Wallis, Wes Pierce and Matthew McCusker worked hard to win the midfield battle. Sheer persistence from Max Leonard to regain possession paid dividends when despite being surrounded by two defenders and the keeper he managed to force the ball into the net to put United 3-1 ahead.
Man of the Match Anhmy Le, Ben Donohue, Anthony Wallis and Adam Boakes were required to produce some solid defending as North End looked dangerous via numerous counter-attacks that heavily featured the visitors No9 and No11. Matthew McCusker timed his run perfectly to receive an accurate through from Wes Pierce and was unlucky not to hit the target with only the keeper to beat. North End forced three successive corners but United confidently dealt with the visitors threat and quickly added goal number four when Gary Wallis was clearly fouled in the area and Max Leonard completed his hat trick with the resulting spot-kick. Less than ninety seconds later a North End defender launched a long ball downfield and with United's back four caught out of position the visitors No18 brought the ball under control before firing it past Chris Pollock to make it 4-2. North End made a fast start at the second half and the visitors No10 hammered the ball wide as United appealed for offside then the same player wasted another decent chance a couple of minutes later.
Beechy were second best to almost every 50/50 challenge for the ball and North End quickly put pressure on United's back four forcing a few hasty clearances from the Beechy boys. United's first real quality move in the second period came after fifty five minutes when Bako Aziz and Gary Wallis combined to force a corner and the latter fired the ball wide following the flag kick. United continually played themselves into trouble after being far too casual when they had the ball especially in their own half. The referee made a rash decision when he awarded North End a highly debatable penalty and the visitors No17 blasted the ball into the roof of the net and at 4-3 Beechy's players and officials looked somewhat anxious. Kyle Mears and Brad Sutherland replaced Bako Aziz and Matthew McCusker as United Manager Kyle Wray made a couple of tactical changes.
But North End continued to make better use of the ball and via some fast counter-attacking caused far too many uneasy moments for United's back four and keeper Chris Pollock. Winning the ball deep in his own half was Adam Boakes and he sprinted down the left wing and set-up Max Leonard who's first time effort flew wide of the target. Beechy had to survive a tense last ten minutes but still looking dangerous going forward were denied a clear-cut penalty following a blatant foul on Issiaka Saba. The win was guaranteed in the 87th minute when a counter-attack developed and Max Leonard completed the scoring with his fourth goal of the game and his twelfth so far this season.