POSTED: July 15 2019 14:05:07. By Keith Long - Pre-Season Friendly Match Details July 2019

Beechfield United First Team began their build-up to the forthcoming 2019/2020 season with a friendly match against local rivals Salford Victoria and United managed to secure a 5-3 victory but they did it the hard way coming back from 3-1 down at one stage.

A few key players were unavailable and included in the squad for the game were three new senior players who all made their debut. In dry but breezy conditions Salford Victoria made a lively start to the contest and some solid defending from Marcus Belcher, Luke Johnston, Adam Vela and Carl Ravenscroft denied Vics the chance of taking and early lead. Three tight offside decisions rescued Beechy as Vics continually threatened to score the opening goal. A swift counter-attack that involved Carl Ravenscroft and Danny Royle almost put United ahead when a header by the latter found Kurtis Lee who's thunderous volley rattled the crossbar. Leading Vics most prominent moves were their No7 and No10 who opened the scoring in the 9th minute when he added a decisive finish after Beechy were guilty of some slack defending. Beechy's back four had to soak up more pressure before United managed to find an equalising goal.

Winning the ball in the midfield area Jordan Jones-Waite evaded a couple of strong challenges and supplied a brilliant pass to Danny Royle who after beating the offside trap scored what proved to be the best goal of the game. Mike Phythian had a very good ninety minutes starting in midfield and when he dropped back to a defensive role in the second half and in one great move with Kadyn Craven only a smart save by the Vics keeper prevented United from taking the lead. As they enjoyed more of the ball some great all-round play from Salford Victoria created chances and twice in quick succession Beechy keeper Ethan Birds made vital saves. A terrific solo run from Jordan Jones-Waite ended when the United man saw a swerving effort from outside the area curl wide of the target. Vics best player Ruben Rose punished another Beechy defensive mistake and United were behind for a second time in the 24th minute. Despite wasting possession far too easily Beechy continued to carve out a few decent chances and on one occasion Kurtis Lee set-up Jordan Jones-Waite but his header dipped over the crossbar.

Chris Ferris angled a disguised through ball to Danny Royle but this time when in a good shooting position United's No14 fired the ball just wide. Joe Axon gave Salford Victoria a 3-1 lead after thirty six minutes but five minutes later Beechy reduced the arrears. The referee awarded United a direct free kick for handball and via a superbly executed finish Kurtis Lee casually side footed the ball low past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. Team Manager Steven Erskine and Michele Fresneda in midfield and centre of defence respective were second half substitutes for Beechy. Once again Vics No10 showed intelligent movement off the ball and he was denied a hat trick following another first-class save from Ethan Birds. Slowly United showed more composure in all areas of the pitch and on 52 minutes it was 3-3 thanks to a brilliant finish by Jordan Jones-Waite.

The action constantly switched from end to end and both keepers showed their ability, Vics goalie Mike Gandy saving an effort from Kadyn Craven and Ethan Birds making yet another brave save with his feet. Both teams made tactical changes midway in the second half and two easy chances were wasted by Vics No10 before Beechy produced their best period of free flowing football in the match. Mike Phythian put United 4-3 up and Beechy's goal scorer was involved in the move that led to the fifth goal when a cross from Adam Vela was met at the back post by Kadyn Craven and his close range finish completed the scoring. (6/7/2019)

Producing an improved all-round display United's First Team won their second pre-season friendly match with a 2-0 win over Hag Fold FC. On the Astroturf Pitch at Salford Sports Village United's opponents from the Wigan and District League created some promising attacks but Beechy were quick to find a good rhythm and both Chris Ferris and Kaydn Craven used the ball intelligently in opening few minutes. In the 6th minute United grabbed the lead when Ethan Birds angled the ball across to Mike Phythian who delivered it into the area and Kurtis Lee planted a header past the stranded keeper. Hag Fold relied on an overworked back four and Beechy deserved to increase their lead following more adventurous attacking soccer. Displaying good footwork was Kurtis Lee who cleverly set-up Danny Royle who after timing his run down the left flank saw his fierce drive bounce back into play off the crossbar. A few swift counter-attacks from Hag Fold briefly forced United to be slightly more defensive and Carl Ravenscroft and Mike Rogerson made a couple of well timed interceptions.

The visitors overall performance did improve as the first half progressed but they struggled to created enough clear cut chances and Beechy continued to enjoy more of the ball. Winning another corner Beechy went close again to a second goal but good defending from the Hag Fold No3 kept out Luke Johnston's header on target. Kaydn Craven sustained a slight injury and had to leave the pitch and was immediately replaced by Michele Fresneda. Hag Fold's No10 was allowed to run with the ball from his own half but a piece of excellent defending by Carl Ravenscroft denied him the chance of levelling the score. Gareth Mooney, Steven Erskine and Adam Vela were United's substitutes at the start of the second half and Beechy quickly dictated the pace of the game. The match did lose some of its early sparkle but United remained well organised and kept creating chances and efforts from Gareth Mooney and Jordan Jones-Waite flashed wide of the target.

United eventually added their second goal thanks to the Mike Phythian and Kurtis Lee combination and again it was the latter who's glancing header flew past the keeper into the net. There was a late opportunity for the Hag Fold No9 when he got himself into a good shooting position but his effort missed the target. Jordan Jones-Waite won Beechy a penalty only to side foot the spot-kick wide though minutes later he almost atoned for his miss when a shot from close range hit the crossbar. (13/7/2019)

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