POSTED: March 01 2018 22:39:01. By Keith Long
- Top Of The Table Clash Ends All Square
After five blank Sundays Beechfield United Ladies team finally got their season back on track with a top of the table clash against Didsbury FC. This Greater Manchester Womens League Division 1 fixture played on 18th February at Salford Sports Village finished level at 1-1 and Didsbury remained as league leaders by three points but Beechy have a game in hand. The visitors kicked-off the match and forced some solid defending from Beechy's back four of Joanna Szafranska, Gemma Winterburn, Krystal Haywood and Julie Ward and stand-in keeper Elina Parker was also in action in the opening ten minutes. Both teams were fully committed to winning this fixture though Beechy made a slow start and their first real effort on target didn't happen until just before the quarter-hour mark via Player of the Match Stacy Partridge. Jennifer Mutch dealt effectively with an opponents tricky runs from deep in her own half while on the opposite flank Krystal Haywood rarely wasted possession when under pressure.
Beechy were awarded the games first corner in the 21st minute and Stacy Partridge saw her flag kick hit the top of the crossbar. Two minutes later Didsbury won a free kick and the visitors No7 forced Elina Parker to use her feet to clear the ball to safety. A quick exchange of passes through the midfield between Becky Topping and Natasha Herity almost produced the opening goal then a long range shot by Natasha brought a scrambled save from the young Didsbury keeper. The mediocre pace of the game suited both teams and during another period of Didsbury pressure Debbie Winterburn and Julie Ward made several vital ball winning tackles. The referee awarded Didsbury a debatable penalty for apparent handball but the visitors No8 blasted the spot-kick wide of the target. Sue Howard replaced Sophie Wainwright in midfield and was quickly involved from her right sided position. In the last minute of the first half Joanna Szafranska produced a brilliant goal line clearance following a corner. HT 0-0.
As the second half developed Beechy played with more flair and started to look a greater threat going forward. United's other substitute Hannah Susnjara made an appearance in place of Stacy Partridge and on fifty eight minutes Beechy took the lead. After a foul on Natasha Herity she took the free kick and from 25 yards curled the ball past the keeper into the bottom corner of the net to open the scoring. For the next ten minutes United enjoyed a greater share of the ball and on numerous occasions came close to adding further goals. But on seventy two minutes a corner to Didsbury eventually led to the visitors getting back level when during a goalmouth scramble the ball was slotted into the Beechy net from close range. United had a few chances to secure victory in the closing stages but this hadn't been a vintage performance so a 1-1 draw was an acceptable result.
Squad for the Game was: Elina Parker, Gemma Winterburn, Stacy Partridge, Sophie Wainwright, Debbie Wright, Julie Ward, Natasha Herity, Krystal Haywood, Joanna Szafranska, Jennifer Mutch, Becky Topping, Sue Howard, Hannah Susnjara.