April 19 2017 23:13:37.
By Keith Long
- Unbeaten Run Ended In Controversal Circumstances
There was high drama in the last ten minutes of Beechfield United's evening Division 1 away game with Boothstown FC and suffering a 4-3 defeat United lost for the first time in ten games. The teams were level at 2-2 when the match official awarded Boothstown their third goal deciding the ball had fully crossed the line during a goal mouth scramble. Beechy disputed his decision because it was evident the ball was clearly in play when United's full back Andrzej Browne chested it down and booted it away. United fought back and equalised but their was more controversy regarding Boothstown's match winning goal in the last minute. When he received the ball the Boothstown number eleven had strayed into an offside position but there was no whistle and he continued his run and fired the ball low into the net. United Manager Steven Erskine named an unchanged team and Beechy kicked off the match using a 4-4-2 system.
A blustery wind was certain to cause problems for the players and this proved the case when the ball was pumped downfield into the United half and Andrzej Browne's header just reached Beechy keeper Steven Naylor who gathered the ball under pressure from a Boothstown forward. Winning the ball in midfield Jamie Sinnott angled a pass onto Kurtis Lee who finished the move firing the ball wide of the target. A similar effort from the Boothstown number eleven went over the crossbar following the home teams first real attack. Beechy forced the games first corner after a clever piece of play down the left wing by Carl Ravenscroft. United took the lead in the ninth minute when quick thinking by Kurtis Lee saw him rob an hesitant Boothstown defender of the ball then race clear before supplying a precise finish.
Steven Naylor was called into action again and he showed a safe pair of hands when dealing with an effort from the Boothstown number nine. Easily overcoming the windy conditions Beechy continued to produce some attractive soccer and Chris Ferris, Mike Phythian and Craig Massey worked hard in a congested midfield. Guilty of some slack defending United found themselves conceding an equaliser after twenty eight minutes when the ball was played into the area and the Boothstown number ten was able to direct a header low into the net. The referee had a tough job dealing with a few off the ball incidents as both teams competed fiercely for possession. Jamie Sinnott's superb lofted pass over the last defender was controlled by Kurtis Lee who was denied another goal when the keeper produced an acrobatic save.
Another jinking run from Rob Lockley on the right wing ended with a cross to the back post and a header by Craig Masset dropped wide of the target. In the closing minutes of the first half Boothstown almost grabbed the lead following a long ball aimed deep into United's penalty area and Steven Naylor rescued Beechy with a brilliant one handed save. Showing more creativity in their play Boothstown enjoyed more of the ball in the early stages of the second half as Beechy were slow in finding their rhythm. The home teams number eleven intercepted a loose pass by a Beechy defender and instantly fired the ball at the target but Steven Naylor made a smart save. Winning possession just inside the Boothstown half Andrzej Browne quickly moved the ball onto Jamie Sinnott who fired a first time effort past the post.
Suddenly forced onto the defensive United had to deal with some more Boothstown pressure and in the 68th minute the referee awarded the home side a debatable penalty. From the resulting spot-kick Boothstown led 2-1 but two minutes later Beechy were back level after a great move involving Andrzej Browne, Rob Lockley and Mike Phythian set-up a brilliant finish from Jamie Sinnott. Making a tactical change United introduced Louis Duff in place of Craig Massey and Beechy created some positive counter-attacks as play moved rapidly from end to end. Then came the incident regarding the goal that never was that gifted Boothstown their 3-2 lead and United made their second substitution that saw Steven Erskine replace Rob Lockley. Committed to all out attack Beechy showed great character throughout the team and were rewarded with a fully deserved equaliser.
United won a throw-in on the left flank and after receiving the ball Louis Duff advanced further towards the penalty area and his accurate pass was controlled by Kurtis Lee and the Beechy striker hammered the ball low past the keeper for 3-3. United were happy to settle for a draw but felt injustice had been served after Boothstown's last minute match winning goal. Sharing the Man of the Match Award were Carl Ravenscroft and Kurtis Lee.