POSTED: January 15 2018 22:12:09. By Keith Long - Disappointing Trophy Result For 1st Team

On Saturday 6th January 2018 Beechfield United's 1st Team played their final Murray Trophy Group C fixture against Atherton LR Development. Needing three points to almost guarantee a place in the knock-out stages of the competition Beechy struggled on a heavy and uneven pitch and were held to a 2-2 draw. Using a 3-5-2 system United played up a prominent slope in the first half but making a sluggish start to the tie Beechy wasted possession in the opening ten minutes. Atherton's No9 missed a great chance to open the scoring before the home side forced the games first corner keeping the pressure on United's defensive trio of Mike Rogerson, Tim Taylor and Luke Johnston. Gradually Beechy found a better rhythm and a neat move between Tom Allcock, Carl Ravenscroft and Jamie Sinnott ended with an effort by Jordan Jones-Waite winning a corner. The match retained a fast pace and the long ball tactic was in constant use by United's opponents who's No6 & No8 featured in Atherton's best forward moves.

A terrific piece of skill by Jamie Sinnott carved out an opening for Jordan Jones-Waite but an Atherton defender made a well timed tackle in the area. More vital defending was required from Beechy when Atherton forced four successive corners and on one occasion United keeper Robert Harrison made a superb fingertip save to keep out a header from Atherton's No9 in the 39th minute. Inside the last three minutes of the half chances were on offer for both teams and the Atherton keeper made an excellent save to deny Jamie Sinnott. Team Manager Steven Erskine replaced Mike Rogerson who had suffered an hamstring injury and United grabbed the lead after forty nine minutes. A cleverly disguised pass from Louis Duff sent Jamie Sinnott racing down the right wing and United's No9 easily went past Atherton's last defender and his cross gifted an easy finish for Jordan Jones-Waite.

Within minutes the home side were back level via a disputed goal when the Atherton No10 was clearly in an offside position before he put the ball in the net for the equaliser. Enjoying more of the ball Atherton put heavy pressure on United who suddenly relied more on the counter-attack. A highly controversial goal gave Atherton LR a 2-1 lead after their No8 took a dive inside the area but the referee awarded the hosts a penalty and the same player scored from the resulting spot-kick. More urgency was needed from United who lost a player due a red card incident and Tom Allcock was replaced by Andrzej Browne just before the hour mark. With the advantage of the extra player Atherton LR heaped more pressure on Beechy and once again United were badly let down when they gave the ball away far too easily. Any attacks United managed to create were thwarted by a well organised Atherton back four that was well marshalled by their best player wearing the number four shirt.

Kurtis Lee replaced Jordan Jones-Waite on seventy eight minutes and the substitute plus Craig Massey missed decent chances in quick succession. Atherton's No7 blasted the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the area then Robert Harrison rescued United with a brilliant one-handed save. Beechy found an equaliser in the 84th minute after Craig Massey took advantage of an error by the Atherton keeper and quickly moved the ball onto Jamie Sinnott who hammered it into the empty net. Man of the Match was Louis Duff.

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