POSTED: March 22 2017 22:10:57. By Keith Long
- 3-3 Draw For 1st Team Following Friendly Match
Without a fixture in the Manchester Football League Beechfield United's First Team arranged a friendly match away against Ladybridge FC a side from the West Lancs League. Despite heavy overnight rain that was still falling throughout most of Saturday the game that finished 3-3 was never in doubt thanks to the hosts Astroturf Pitch. United kicked-off the match and were soon on the attack via a promising move between Louis Duff and Kurtis Lee. Another slick move resulted in Steven Erskine supplying a great through ball but Craig Massey had strayed into an offside position. Ladybridge who won the games first corner were obviously looking to give Beechy a tough ninety minutes. United keeper Robert Harrison got an early feel of the ball when he gathered a couple of over hit passes but on seven minutes was beaten for the first time when the Ladybridge No11 finished off a well worked move down the left flank.
Just three minutes later Beechy equalised after a great pass inside the Ladybridge left back was controlled by Louis Duff and he delivered the perfect cross into the area for Jamie Sinnott to score his twenty fifth goal of the season. Right back Mike Rogerson faced a tricky opponent in the Ladybridge No11 who featured in most of the home teams best moves on the left wing. Kurtis Lee was just off target with a half volley from the edge of the area then a free kick by Jamie Sinnott forced a fine save from the Ladybridge keeper. The home side also had a couple of decent chances as play flowed swiftly form end to end in this entertaining contest. A great piece of skill by the Ladybridge No8 set-up a shooting opportunity for a team mate who fired the ball wide then minutes later the home teams centre forward headed the ball over the crossbar following a corner.
Alfie Belcher replaced Tom Allcock who had played well in his midfield role and a the Beechy substitute was immediately involved in the action. A superb pass from full back Andrzej Browne was well controlled by Kurtis Lee who's effort won a corner and from the resulting flag kick a goalmouth scramble developed but somehow Ladybridge forced the ball out of the danger zone. United were guilty of some slack defending in the 43rd minute and this allowed Ladybridge the luxury of regaining the lead via their No14 who had a clear run into the area before firing the ball into the net. Within ninety seconds of the restart Beechy were back level after a Ladybridge defender hesitated when in possession and quick thinking by Kurtis Lee robbed him of the ball and Kurtis unselfishly played it across to Craig Massey who netted from close range.
As they continued to enjoy their best period of quality attacking football United created some fairly easy chances and went 3-2 up on fifty minutes. The move that led to the goal was sublime involving Craig Massey, Jamie Sinnott and Louis Duff who produced another pinpoint cross and Alfie Belcher fired the ball past the keeper from eight yards. In reply Ladybridge aimed most of their long balls downfield at their number seventeen who was always a threat via his heading ability but United's central defenders Gary Wallis and Luke Johnston won their fair share of the aerial duels. A swift counter-attack by Beechy almost edged them two goals clear but following a great through ball by Craig Massey the referee deemed Jamie Sinnott to be just offside. Robert Harrison made two smart saves when Ladybridge increased the tempo to their attacks and several tight offside decisions given against the home team were hotly disputed.
In the 65th minute Kurtis Lee had the ball in the back of the Ladybridge net but when he received the ball from Craig Massey the Beechy striker was in an offside position. More great counter-attacking football from United deserved another goal and both Steven Erskine and Alfie Belcher were inches away from beating the keeper. The Ladybridge No3 missed an easy chance as the home side suddenly forced some heavy defending from Mike Rogerson, Gary Wallis, Man of the Match Luke Johnston and Andrzej Browne. But Beechy quickly turned defence into attack and on one occasion Andrzej Browne linked up with Jamie Sinnott to set-up Kurtis Lee who's effort was just off target. Beechy were ready to celebrate victory when Ladybridge scrambled an equaliser with virtually the last piece of action because soon after the referee blew for full time.