POSTED: January 14 2023 11:22:12. By Keith Long - U/18's Thunder Lose First Game of 2023

Beechy Under 18's Thunder kicked-off 2023 with a home game against Walshaw Junior Wasps but despite a hard working display suffered a 3-0 defeat.

*In this Bolton Bury and District League Section B fixture the visitors were on the attack within twenty seconds forcing some quality defending from Beechy full backs Harry Shaw and Callum Snaith. Quickly finding a good rhythm Thunder created a few good moves and soon involved in the action was Andrew Woodward who sent Max Chidgey on a surging run that ended with Beechy winning a corner. A long pass aimed deep into Beechy's half of the pitch was controlled by the Walshaw No7 who was denied a shot on target due to Lucas Madden's well timed tackle. Thunder's goalkeeper Ryley Walker made a couple of comfortable saves and Taonga Mututa produced some quality interceptions during another period of counter-attacking from the visitors.

Beechy's all-round play was very impressive in the opening fifteen minutes and a slick move between Miguel Gikundino and Joshua Jones won Thunder another corner. Andrew Woodward continued to be a key figure in midfield as Beechy strived to take a deserved lead and twice Miguel Gikundino went close to opening the scoring. When Beechy made their first tactical change Mohammed Abelazeem replaced Joshua Jones in the nineteeth minute. Ryley Walker was in action again with a smart piece of goalkeeping then both William Whipday and Harry Shaw defended superbly when Walshaw Wasps developed some useful moves down both wings.

A free kick taken by Konstantin Hristova was met by Andrew Woodward who's header found Miguel Gikundino unmarked but the referee ended the move via an offside decision. Just after the half hour mark Joshua Jones was back on the pitch when he took over from Max Chidgey. On the receiving end of a few rash challenges was Miguel Gikundino who was inches away from a goal following a swerving free kick. The visitors No7 found himself in a good shooting position outside the area but William Whipday and Taonga Mututa combined to snuff out the danger.

A long range effort by Konstantin Hristova was confidently dealt with by the Walshaw keeper then a minute later Miguel Gikundino fired the ball over the crossbar. Harry Shaw, William Whipday, Taonga Mututa and Callum Snaith produced more excellent defending that allowed Ryley Walker a fairly comfortable last ten minutes in the first half. Beechy forced a couple of corners and one occasion Mohammed Abdelazeem fired the ball just wide of the target from close range. (HT 0-0) Walshaw Wasps made a fine start in the second half as they moved the ball around much quicker on the artificial surface. Gifted a few half chances Beechy went close again to taking the lead but at times Thunder were guilty of non putting enough pressure on the ball.

When Beechy made another substitution Mohammed Abdelazeem was replaced by Max Chidgey who quickly adapted to the pace of the game. Thunder's back four worked hard to deny Walshaw the lead and during another reshuffle Andrew Woodward took over the goalkeeping duties from Ryley Walker. A well timed tackle by Lucas Madden halted the progress of the visitors No10 who had raced onto a defence splitting pass. Beechy found chances a rarity and Thunder went 1-0 down in the 64th minute after Walshaw took advantage of some slack defending. A neat move involving Miguel Gikundino, Max Chidgey and Joshua Jones carved out a chance of an equaliser but the alert visitors keeper dealt with the threat.

Walshaw Wasps increased their lead following another decisive counter-attack then great defending by Callum Snaith kept the ball out of the net after and effort from the visitors No17 hit the post. Wasting possession Thunder faced more unwanted pressure and Harry Shaw, William Whipday, Man of the Match Taonga Mututa and Callum Snaith kept their opponents at bay via some excellent defending. Andrew Woodward produced a couple of fine reaction saves but he couldn't prevent Walshaw from adding their third goal which guaranteed the visitors the three points. Despite a late attacking flurry Thunder failed to find a consolation goal.

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