POSTED: November 16 2016 12:08:41. By Keith Long
- Beechy Victim Of Controversial Decisions.
For the third successive Manchester Football League Division 1 fixture Beechfield United's 1st Team were involved in a match that produced a 3-2 score line. At Salford Sports Village United met Irlam Steel who won a hard fought contest after being awarded a controversial penalty in the 84th minute. Straight from the kick off the visitors put pressure on United's back four and had a couple of decent chances to take the lead in the opening eight minutes. Irlam also forced several corners in quick succession but United survived the onslaught and worked hard to get a foothold in the match. But Beechy were forced to make an early substitution when Jamie Sinnott had to retire due a foot injury and was replaced by Craig Massey.
Clever play by Steven Erskine set-up a chance for Kurtis Lee but United's number seven couldn't produce the required finish. Irlam Steel played with real confidence and their talented number six was at the heart of some stylish counter-attacks. Gradually showing better movement off the ball United came close to going ahead when an accurate long ball from Patrick Beckett was controlled by Kurtis Lee but his first time volley dipped over the crossbar. Both teams competed fiercely for possession but Irlam always looked dangerous going forward and forced some vital saves from Robert Harrison. Beechy made the breakthrough in the 29th minute via a move involving Andrzej Browne, Chris Ferris and Steven Erskine who supplied the perfectly weighted pass and Kurtis Lee fired the ball low past the keeper into the corner of the net.
Irlam who used the long ball tactic on numerous occasions and equalised on thirty four minutes courtesy of their number nine. United had a good opportunity to regain the lead after a neat angled pass by Andrzej Browne picked out the unmarked Kurtis Lee but he fired the ball wide of the target. In the 39th minute the referee ruled a challenge by Carl Ravenscroft to be illegal and immediately awarded Irlam a penalty but Robert Harrison saved the spot-kick. Four minutes later the visitors went 2-1 up after United lost the ball in the midfield area and the Irlam No9 who was gifted a clear run produced another first-class finish.
Finding a good rhythm as the second half developed Beechy put pressure on the Irlam defence and at the end of a fast counter-attack Rob Lockley hammered the ball wide. But three minutes later Rob Lockley made amends finishing off a classic move between Andrzej Browne and Kurtis Lee for 2-2. Full back Andrzej Browne was soon in action at the other end of the pitch producing a perfectly timed tackle when Irlam's number eleven looked destined to score. Irlam kept using the long ball tactic and Man of the Match Luke Johnston and Patrick Beckett were forced to make some first time clearances from inside the penalty area. Kurtis Lee had a goal disallowed, Gary Wallis saw a half volley saved by the keeper during a goalmouth scramble and Chris Ferris came close to putting United back in front but his curling effort hit the post.
Fully committed to finding a winning goal both teams continued to display a high fitness level and during another powerful attacking surge from the visitors Robert Harrison made two great saves. In the 84th minute the Beechy keeper was adamant that the ball had rolled out of play and United should have been awarded a goal kick but an alert Irlam player kept the move going and fired the ball into the area. From a distance it clearly appeared that Andrzej Browne got enough contact on the ball but the referee judged he had fouled an Irlam forward when he made the initial tackle. The visitors No11 made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick and was surrounded by his joyous team mates.