POSTED: November 11 2019 16:54:13. By Keith Long
- Chance Wasted To Secure Three Vital Points
Back in action in the Manchester Football League were Beechfield United Reserve Team who were involved in a real action-packed home game with Atherton Town A. Following this Division 5 fixture Team Manager Mark McWilliams and the Beechy players were totally baffled why they had not tasted victory.
On a uneven playing surface at Littleton Road United couldn't have asked for a better start when they took the lead in the opening minute via a goal from Ben Shiels. Atherton Town then forced a couple of free kicks forcing some valiant defending from both Macauley Knight and Byron Ward. Despite the difficult underfoot conditions Beechy still managed to move the ball around with real accuracy and a terrific move between Keenan Switzer, Derren Saunders and Danny Lee almost made it 2-0 but an effort by Callum Davies rattled the crossbar. Forcing the visitors to soak up more pressure United came close again to increasing their lead when a cross from Lucas Morgan found Danny Lee who forced an acrobatic one handed save from the Atherton Keeper. At the end of a swift counter-attack by the visitors Atherton's No20 wasted a fairly easy chance when left unmarked inside the penalty area.
Keenan Switzer set-up Callum Davies for a half-volley that just missed the target then a couple of minutes later following a corner to the visitors Louis Lawrence was forced to head the ball away from almost on the goal line. A piece of slack defending by Beechy gifted Atherton an equalising goal and their No11 displayed good control before firing the ball past United keeper Jason Rodgers. There was a brisk pace to the game as play moved swiftly from end to end and on one occasion Callum Davies delivered the ball across the area and Lucas Morgan was unlucky not to score when his effort hit the post. An injury then forced Lucas to leave the pitch and he was replaced by Danny Royle who took up a left sided wing position. Both George Switzer and Byron Ward needed to produce crucial high booted clearances when the visitors threatened to take the lead and always featuring in Atherton's best moves was their No11.
Displaying great close control with the ball was Keenan Switzer and moving forward form his midfield position should have scored after racing onto a pass from Ben Shiels. There was another piece of excellent defending from United's central defender Louis Lawrence as Atherton forced a corner following a breakaway attack down the right flank. Late in the first half Beechy struggled to retain possession forcing Jason Rodgers to remain alert as the visitors grew in confidence and United were left to rue those missed chances when the whistle went for half time. When play resumed after the break Atherton's long ball tactic was soon in operation and twice George Switzer halted the visitors promising attacks with timely interceptions. The Atherton No10 weaved his way into a good shooting position but Jason Rodgers responded with a top-class shoulder high save. Beechy needed to show a bit more desire if they were to go on and win this game and somehow United survived an unwanted spell of Atherton pressure.
The visitors No 8 thought he had given Atherton the lead but his fine effort from just outside the area hit the crossbar then the crossbar rescued Beechy again just before they went 2-1 up. The ball was worked forward down the right wing and supplying an inch perfect pass was Danny Royle then after timing his run into the area Callum Davies casually slotted the ball past the keeper. Atherton Town were a hard working outfit forcing United at times to give the ball away but Beechy got a bit of breathing space when following a through ball by Ben Shiels they added their third goal in the 70th minute courtesy of another clinical finish from leading marksman Callum Davies. But just three minutes later and once again using the long ball option Atherton made it 3-2 when their lively No9 used his pace to create a good position before firing the ball low into the net. There was still no shortage of good football from both teams as play continually moved rapidly from end to end.
A brilliant save by the Atherton keeper kept out a powerful strike from Keenan Switzer but the visitors goalie was unable to prevent Ben Shiels from giving United a 4-2 lead following a corner. Almost immediately Beechy were punished for a lapse in concentration when the Atherton No10 was gifted the chance that he took by adding a quality finish to reduced United's lead to just one goal. Beechy surged forward desperately looking for a fifth goal to easy the pressure and created a few decent chances. A free kick to Atherton after United's keeper had accidently picked up a back pass resulted in the visitors grabbing a late equaliser via their No8 and the same player wasted a golden opportunity to secure his team all three points. Louis Lawrence was Man of the Match for Beechy who were gutted knowing they had squandered the chance to win this game.