POSTED: March 22 2018 21:45:49. By Keith Long
- Craig Massey To The Rescue
A solitary goal by Craig Massey in the 73rd minute was enough to secure Beechfield United's 1st Team a 1-0 home win over Leigh Athletic and after the three previous Division 1 games were postponed Beechy's players were eager to get back in action but the referee nearly abandoned the match following a heavy blizzard. A strong gusty wind and snow showers greeted the players at Salford Sports Village and Beechy quickly found a good attacking rhythm. Chris Ferris won the ball in midfield and his angled pass was controlled by Jamie Sinnott who's first time volley flashed just wide of the target. But it was the visitors who almost grabbed the lead when the Leigh Athletic No6 forced an acrobatic from United keeper Robert Harrison following a free kick. A similar situation developed minutes later after Beechy won a free kick and Matthew McNally's accurate dead ball delivery set-up a chance for Jordan Jones-Waite but the visitors keeper made a fine save.
Despite the appalling conditions both teams attempted to produce an entertaining contest but they were handicapped by far too many stoppages. Some great defending from United's back three of Mike Rogerson, Tim Taylor and Andrzej Browne frustrated the visitors who's No9 caused a few problems via good movement off the ball. Just after the quarter-hour mark Jamie Sinnott evaded two challenges and supplied a perfect long pass to Jordan Jones-Waite but the Beechy striker saw his effort dip over the crossbar. Another solo run by Leigh's No9 won the visitors a corner that led to a goalmouth scramble and eventually Rob Lockley booted the ball downfield. Craig Massey was deemed to have strayed into an offside position after racing onto a perfectly weighted pass from Matthew McNally then a slick move between Jamie Sinnott and Louis Duff ended when a cross by the latter failed to find a team mate. A heavy snowstorm arrived just before half time but the sun made an appearance and the second half was soon underway.
Tim Taylor was in action within sixty seconds of the restart making a vital headed clearance when under pressure from two Leigh players. Chris Ferris carved out a decent chance for Craig Massey as United played with a bit more flair and imagination. After skilfully beating three opponents Jordan Jones-Waite continued to be denied a goal when he fired the ball directly at the keeper. Another quick counter-attack by the visitors caught United's defenders napping but the Leigh Athletic No 11 blasted the ball over the crossbar from outside the area. Jamie Sinnott fired a free kick inches wide just before a fierce blizzard forced the players and match official to seek shelter in the 63rd minute. After a lengthy stoppage it was all systems go and after sixty eight minutes Beechy made a tactical change when Team Manager Steven Erskine replaced Louis Duff.
What proved to be United's match winning goal came five minutes later when Jordan Jones-Waite headed a lofted pass by Steven Erskine onto Craig Massey who advanced into the area before hammering the ball past the keeper. Straight from the restart Leigh Athletic were on the attack looking for a quick-fire equaliser and United's Man of the Match Mike Rogerson made two superbly timed tackles as the visitors created numerous moves down the left flank. One goal never seemed enough to guarantee United victory and Robert Harrison had a fairly eventful final fifteen minutes. He made a difficult save look easy following a long range effort from the Leigh Athletic No 7 then making a brilliant fingertip save when he deflected the ball onto the post produced a memorable moment in the match. Late in the game the visitors were reduced to ten players when following a professional foul on Rob Lockley the referee had no option but to show a Leigh Athletic player the red card.