POSTED: May 10 2021 19:46:28. By Keith Long - Beechy Ladies Secure Narrow 3-2 Victory

Following their cup semi-final victory in midweek Beechy Ladies travelled to play Woodsend Athletic on Sunday 2nd May looking to build on their recent success.

Beechy made a few changes for this League group game and on a very large grass pitch kicked-off the match and both Stacy Partridge and Sophie Wainwright were in involved in United's first real attack. Beechy won the games first corner in the 2nd minute and forced the Woodsend defence to deal with some early pressure following several swift counter-attacks. Working the ball down the right wing the hosts went close to grabbing the lead but their No11 wasted the chance when she shot wide of the target. An effort from Stacy Partridge drifted the wrong side of the post after a long throw-in by Shauna Smith who was in action again when she was back defending making a vital clearance from inside the area. After forcing another corner Beechy took the lead on seven minutes when Stacy's accurate flag kick set-up a close range header for Player of the Match Crystal Barker.

Woodsend came close to an instant equaliser when the ball was crossed to the back of the area to the hosts No9 who sent a half volley over the crossbar. Sophie Addison put Beechy 2-0 up after eleven minutes when she controlled a brilliant long pass from Stacy Partridge and leaving three defenders in her wake advanced into the area before firing the ball low past the keeper. United's keeper Abi Thirsk easily dealt with a free kick to the hosts and a series of Woodsend counter-attacks forced Beechy's back four to remain totally focused. Becky Topping delivered a perfect crossfield pass to Sophie Addison who sent Aimee Greenwood racing clear of her marker but Beechy's No7 couldn't force the ball past the keeper. United's next worthwhile move involving Rachel Farrand and Sophie Wainwright deserved a better finish prior to Beechy taking a 3-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

Crystal Barker was on target again via another close range header which put Beechy were well on top but United knew their opponents were a decent side because they had already shown the warning signs especially when Woodsend's No11 & No12 were allowed too much time on the ball. A prime example occurred when the hosts No11 forced her way through midfield but her low drive hit the base of the post and Beechy scrambled the ball to safety. Then following another breakaway move by Woodsend Abi Thirsk was in action again when she made a fairly comfortable save after the hosts No8 attempted to score with a long range effort. Sophie Wainwright worked hard to win possession before she played the ball onto Becky Topping and a powerful shot by Beechy's No10 forced a reaction save from the Woodsend goalie. A great piece of defending by Rachel Farrand ended a promising attack by the hosts minutes before the break.

Three minutes into the second half Woodsend Athletic were awarded a soft penalty and the hosts No11 reduced the arrears when she scored from the resulting spot-kick. As the pace of the game went up a level Beechy were pushed back and forced to defend deeper in their own half as the hosts saw a lot more of the ball. A terrific solo run by the dangerous Woodsend No12 took her past three Beechy players but her chance of of a goal vanished when she overran the ball. United's first corner in the second half taken by Stacy Partridge caused a goalmouth scramble but suddenly Beechy lacked firepower up front and shots on target were from the 20/25 yard mark. Another mazy run from the hosts No12 ended when she hammered the ball onto the crossbar forcing Abi Thirsk to fist the ball away when it rebounded back into play. A great piece of skill by Sophie Addison saw her sprint unchallenged down the right flank before she set-up another chance for Aimee Greenwood.

After seventy minutes Beechy's lead was reduced to just a single goal when a move on the left wing caught United's defenders napping and somehow a Woodsend forward was left with an easy finish for 3-2. Now being forced to rely on an overworked back four Beechy's attacks had slowed down though another move between Aimee and Sophie Addison almost grabbed a fourth goal. The hosts continued to move the ball around with real confidence during the final ten minutes and United had to soak up some unwanted pressure before they could celebrate what was a hard-earned victory. Result Woodsend Athletic 2 v Beechfield United Ladies 3

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