April 03 2017 16:10:09.
By Keith Long
- Eight Unbeaten For In-Form First Team
On Saturday 25th March 2017 Beechfield United First Team were back in action in the Manchester Football League and they made it eight games undefeated following a 2-1 home win over Govan Athletic. Conditions at Salford Sports Village were perfect for football but United made a sluggish start to this Division 1 contest. Govan Athletic enjoyed more of the ball in the opening ten minutes and twice decent counter-attacks by the visitors were ruined by Beechy's well operated offside trap. Slowly United played with more conviction and a classy move involving Steven Erskine, Jamie Sinnott and Rob Lockley deserved a better finish. On eleven minutes a superb piece of defending from Gary Wallis denied Govan the lead and when play switched quickly to the other of the pitch an effort by Jamie Sinnott hit a defenders hand but the referee waved play on.
United's stand-in keeper Steven Naylor had a fairly quiet first fifteen minutes dealing confidently with any threat Govan posed via their varied long ball tactic. In the battle to get control of the midfield Steven Erskine, Chris Ferris and Rob Lockley hardly wasted possession but despite creating ample chances United rarely tested the ability of the visitors keeper. Twice Jamie Sinnott saw long range efforts flash wide of the target before Beechy grabbed the lead. After winning possession off an opponent Steven Erskine delivered an inch perfect pass to Alfie Belcher who produced a spectacular finish when he hammered the ball over the keeper from 25 yards. Just before the half hour mark United lost defender Mike Rogerson due to a recurring injury and he was replaced by Carl Ravenscroft with Andrzej Browne moving to right back.
A powerful strike from just outside the area from the Govan number ten looked to heading for the roof of the net but the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced back into play. The action was both fast and furious and at the end of United's next prominent attack another thunderous drive by Alfie Belcher was half saved by the keeper but luckily for Govan the ball rolled to a visitors defender who booted it downfield. Forcing some essential defending from Beechy's back four of Andrzej Browne, Gary Wallis, Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft in the closing stages of the half Govan equalised in the 43rd minute via their No7 following a corner. Straight from the restart a neat move between Alfie Belcher and Jamie Sinnott forced a corner prior to United regaining the lead.
On fifty two minutes the ball was worked down the left wing and a cross from Carl Ravenscroft was met by a Govan defender who in an attempt to clear the ball only succeeded in deflecting it into his own net. Chris Ferris had a brilliant second half and was constantly involved in the midfield action. Remaining well organised in all areas Govan made Beechy work hard to maintain their one goal advantage and United made two tactical changes within fives minutes that saw Kurtis Lee and Louis Duff replace Alfie Belcher and Steven Erskine. Steven Naylor was the busiest of the two keepers during a period when United wasted possession and their one goal lead never looked enough to secure victory. A header by the visitors No10 dropped just over the crossbar and then when play moved to the other half Chris Ferris set-up Kurtis Lee who's attempted overhead kick was just wide of the post. Sharing the Man of the Match Award were Andrzej Browne and Luke Johnston.