POSTED: June 04 2021 16:35:07. By Keith Long - Beechy Suffer Another 5-4 Defeat

On 22nd May 2021 Beechfield United Saturday Morning Senior Team suffered another setback as they chase Division 1 honours when they lost 5-4 at home to AFC Middleton.

Despite having to make a few team changes Beechy made the best possible start when they took the lead in the 3rd minute. Great play between Anhmy Le and Damon Whitbread sent Max Leonard sprinting down the left wing and United's leading marksman created the perfect angle before side footing the ball past the keeper into the far corner of the net. As the visitors looked for an instant equaliser defenders Anthony Wallis and Hal Birtles plus keeper Chris Pollock dealt confidently with numerous AFC Middleton counter-attacks. A free kick by Damon Whitbread set-up a chance for Gary Wallis prior to Beechy going 2-0 up after six minutes when Max Leonard raced onto a brilliant through ball from Wes Pierce and added another in form strikers finish. The visitors continually displayed their frustration towards the match official following several delayed offside decisions.

AFC Middleton also had a goal disallowed and during another spell of excellent counter-attacking by the visitors Tom Scott rescued Beechy with some top-class ball winning tackles. Due to an injury Anhmy Le was replaced by Adam Boakes who was quickly involved as Beechy's defence was kept under pressure and Chris Pollock had to deal with a curling free kick then a powerful header from Middleton's No14. United created several clear-cut chances to take a three goal lead before the visitors reduced the arrears when the Middleton No18 scored via a superbly executed free kick. At times Middleton moved the ball around the artificial surface much quicker than Beechy but United's overall commitment never waned and a great move involving Wes Pierce, Matty McCusker, Damon Whitbread and Gary Wallis ended when Scott Foulds shot wide of the target.

Scott had another decent opportunity when he exchanged passes with Wes Pierce and from twenty five yards blasted the ball into the side netting. More tight offside decisions against AFC Middleton caused more vocal objections towards the referee but the match official did make the correct decision when he awarded a corner to the visitors and their tall No20 made it 2-2 with a free header seconds before half time. Wasted possession by United allowed Middleton to slowly dictate the pace of the game as the second half began forcing some brave defending from Hal Birtles, Anthony Wallis and Tom Scott. A brilliant breakaway attack involving Matty McCusker, Wes Pierce and Max Leonard opened up the Middleton defence but the latter dragged his shot just wide. Issiaka Saba replaced Damon Whitbread in the 55th minute and three minutes later AFC Middleton took the lead when Beechy were guilty of some poor defending which gifted the visitors No10 an easy close range finish.

A highly confident Middleton outfit forced United to step up a gear and Beechy made another tactical change when Marlon Barlow replaced Anthony Wallis who's brother Gary then moved into the back four. A superb solo run by Issiaka Saba created the opening for Wes Pierce to make it 3-3 on seventy minutes when Beechy's midfield star took advantage of a deflection off a Middleton defender and curled the ball beyond the keeper from the edge of the area. Despite the bonus of the third goal Beechy were soon facing more Middleton pressure and were reduced to ten players following a sin bin offence and after forcing another corner in the 80th minute the visitors went 4-3 up via a powerful header from their centre half. Two minutes later as he completed his hat-trick Max Leonard made it 4-4 but almost immediately United gifted the visitors their winning goal following another piece of bad defending.

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