POSTED: March 05 2019 11:44:58. By Keith Long - 5-4 Win Secures First Team Semi-Final Place

After nine games without a win Beechfield United's 1st Team finally tasted victory in the Manchester Football League but Beechy did it the hard way before they beat Manchester Gregorians 5-4 at home in the quarter-final of the Gilgryst Cup on Saturday 23rd February 2019. Dominating the first half United led 3-0 at the break but Gregorians fought back and completing his hat-trick the visitors No10 made it 3-3 in the 70th minute. Forced to play the last twenty minutes with ten men Beechy displaying great character found two more goals that guaranteed their semi-final place despite a fourth goal for Gregorians in the final minute. Both teams created counter-attacks within the first ninety seconds and Steve Erskine's inch perfect pass almost set-up Kurtis Lee for a direct shot on target. The visitors No10 produced a powerful surging run forcing a late but well timed tackle to win the ball by Marcus Belcher. A swift passing move between Kurtis Lee and Jamie Sinnott won United a corner and following the latter's flag kick and during a goalmouth scramble Beechy took the lead when Louis Duff slotted the ball home from close range.

Beechy outplayed their opponents for 70% of the first half but there were moments when United's back four were severely tested. Both Mike Rogerson and Marcus Belcher made decisive winning headers following free kicks to Gregorians and Beechy keeper Rob Harrison had to race to the edge of the area to make a clearance with his left foot. A Jamie Sinnott cross was palmed to safety by the Gregorians keeper who minutes later denied Jordan Jones-Waite's swerving low drive heading for the bottom corner of the net. Despite the visitors enjoying a decent share of the ball United dictated the pace of the game with Chris Ferris a dominant force in midfield. Kurtis Lee saw a fine effort hit the post when he got clear inside the area following a free kick taken by Jamie Sinnott. Play continued to flow rapidly from end to end and on thirty five minutes Beechy went 2-0 up thanks to a great challenge to win possession by Marcus Belcher and though Gregorians appealed for offside when Jamie Sinnott received the ball United's No9 ran on unchallenged and supplied a decisive finish.

Twice in quick succession the visitors No11 went close to reducing the arrears and on one occasion he wasted a good chance from about ten yards. Kurtis Lee just missed the target after being set-up by an accurate angled pass from Jordan Jones-Waite prior to United adding their third goal. Following a corner the ball was partly cleared but Jamie Sinnott sent it back into the area where Louis Duff headed it onto Jordan Jones-Waite who's header found the corner of the net. HT 3-0. Beechy made a confident start after the restart but finding a better attacking rhythm Gregorians forced some serious defending from Louis Duff, Mike Rogerson, Marcus Belcher and Carl Ravenscroft. Winning their first corner in the second half the visitors made it 3-1 after punishing United for poor marking inside the area then suddenly Gregorians stepped up a gear and United's comfortable looking half time lead was seriously under threat. Beechy needed to show more composure on the ball but wasted possession in the 55th minute gifted Gregorians their second goal courtesy of their No10.

A few off the ball incidents developed that spoiled the flow of this cup-tie and taking full advantage of having the extra player the visitors put United under more pressure. Beechy's Man of the Match Mike Rogerson was a key figure in United's back four with several excellent winning headers and interceptions. Rob Harrison made an acrobatic save to deny the visitors No11 just before Gregorians made it 3-3 when once again Beechy were punished for some slack defending and Gregorians No10 completed his hat-trick via another clinical finish. United produced an instant response and finding fresh impetus created an attacking surge and in the 72nd minute led 4-3. Following a corner Marcus Belcher put the ball back across the area and Kurtis Lee knocked it past the keeper at the second attempt.

The game continued at a frantic pace and more superb defending from Mike Rogerson, Marcus Belcher and Louis Duff denied Gregorians an equaliser after the visitors won two free kicks and a corner. Jordan Jones-Waite put Beechy 5-3 up when he beat the offside trap and after controlling a superb through ball from Jamie Sinnott added a star strikers finish. There was still time for Gregorians to make it a nervous finish for United and the visitors created one final counter-attack in the last minute that resulted in their No10 completing the scoring with his fourth goal of the tie.

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