POSTED: May 30 2022 10:59:45. By Keith Long
- Thunder Suffer Title Play-Off Disappointment
At the end of an excellent campaign in the Bolton Bury and District League Beechfield United Under 17's Thunder were involved in a winner take all final game of the season.
*Beechy were away to Stretford Victoria with both teams level on points at the top of the Section D table. At Turn Moss Playing Fields on Saturday morning 21st May 2022 Thunder didn't produce the type of performance that had seen them win sixteen of their previous seventeen league fixtures and suffered a 3-1 defeat. Kicking-off the game Stretford Victoria created several useful counter-attacks and Thunder's defenders Samuel Oludoyi and William Whipday were forced to make vital clearances when under pressure. Prince Idusuyi made a couple of solo runs with the ball but the hosts keeper denied Beechy the chance of an early goal with some safe handling.
Both Dominic Lawton and Konstantin Hristova were soon heavily involved in midfield as both teams competed fiercely for the ball. Beechy keeper Andrew Woodward made his first real save following a long range effort from Stretford Vics No10 and in the early minutes of the game the hosts won most of the 50/50 challenges. Thunder who were not firing on all cylinders went a goal down in the 13th minute and quickly made several substitutions that included Harvey Walker, Max Chidgey and Luke Cunliffe replaced by Jack Davies, Tom Cox and Ben Howard. The latter was soon in action in Beechy's back four as Stretford Vics kept Thunder under pressure and the hosts went 2-0 up on the half hour mark.
Thunder rarely threatened to explode into life as a unit and despite forcing several corners late in the first half Beechy were still two goals down at the break. Beechy who needed an improved display in the second half made a bright start after the break and Tom Cox had a decent chance after a great cross from Max Chidgey who was back on the pitch. Continuing to use the permitted roll-on-roll-off system Thunder replaced Ben Howard and Konstantin Hristova with Riley Walker and Lucas Madden and after fifty three minutes Thunder reduced the arrears. A Stretford Vics defender was guilty of a poor back pass and with the hosts goalie out of position Reiss Miller slotted the ball into the empty net.
More fast counter-attacks from the hosts forced some excellent defending for Beechy's back four and Zion Agbiji and Samuel Oludoyi plus keeper Andrew Woodward were constantly in action. Thunder had a couple of decent chances to find an equalising goal via both Prince Idusuyi and Tom Cox then when Beechy did have the ball in the Vics net following a free kick the referee ruled out the goal and ordered a retake. Minutes later Stretford Victoria were guaranteed the win and the title with their third goal scored from the penalty spot. Ben Howard was voted Thunder's Man of the Match.