April 23 2018 18:24:37.
By Keith Long
- Successive Double-Header For Beechy Ladies
In the Greater Manchester Womens League Beechfield United Ladies were faced with successive back to back fixtures when they met Bolton Lads and Girls Club at Salford Sports Village on Sunday 15th April and Beechy tasted victory after the first Division 1 game but following a below-par display in the second game suffered a 2-0 defeat. The visitors kicked-off the first fixture with ten players and in the opening ten minutes Beechy enjoyed more of the ball. Julie Ward and Jennifer Mutch were involved in an early attack on the left flank then following a poor clearance by the Bolton Girls keeper a brilliant effort from Becky Topping bounced back into play off the crossbar. There was good movement off the ball all over the pitch as Beechy continued to create chances and Joanna Szafranska and Krystal Haywood linked-up superbly down the right wing. Debbie Wright forced an excellent reflex save from the visitors keeper following an inch perfect pass by Sophie Wainwright.
About midway into the first half Bolton Girls were now at full strength after their absent player arrived and the visitors suddenly forced slightly more substantial defending from Beechy's back four and on three occasions Elina Parker made vital headed clearances. Forcing another corner United almost grabbed the lead but a powerful header from central defender Gemma Winterburn went just wide of the target. At times the final pass spoilt some neat attacking football from Beechy and despite looking the better team in the first half had to settle for a 0-0 score line at the break. Jennifer Mutch went on a solo run at the start of the second half and set-up a chance for Becky Topping who's half volley went past the post. Following a scrappy period of play Bolton Girls forced some more defensive work from Beechy and United keeper and Player of the Match Rachel Howarth became more involved dealing with a corner then a header by the visitors No9.
Krystal Haywood started the move that resulted in United's match winning goal when a perfectly weighted pass sent Debbie Wright sprinting down the right wing and her cross into the area was met by Jennifer Mutch who headed the ball beyond the keeper into the high part of the net. Sue Howard and Faye Cassidy replaced Julie Ward and Debbie Wright as Beechy made a couple of tactical changes and to guarantee the three points Beechy had to deal with a late attacking surge from Bolton Girls. Their No10 fired the ball wide after a quick counter-attack, Shauna Smith and Gemma Winterburn made some well timed ball winning tackles and Rachel Howarth produced two brilliant saves.
After a short break the teams were ready for the second game of another energy sapping thirty minutes each way. In the first minute Beechy could easily have opened the scoring after a neat piece of skill by Stacy Partridge carved out an opening for Debbie Wright who stuck the ball with venom but straight at the keeper. A terrific run from deep in United's half of the pitch by Krystal Haywood created another chance for Debbie Wright. Bolton Girls looked more organised throughout the second match and hardly wasting possession forced Beechy to raise their overall game. Relying more on their defence of Krystal Haywood, Elina Parker, Gemma Winterburn and Shauna Smith Beechy counter-attacked more in this match and Becky Topping and Jennifer Mutch fired shots wide of the target but clear-cut chances for Beechy suddenly became few and far between. After three consecutive corners Bolton Girls took the lead courtesy of their No10 who looked offside before she finished off a move down the right wing.
Making a promising start to the second half Beechy came close again to getting back level but a rare goalkeeping error gifted Bolton Girls a 2-0 lead. Struggling to get a foothold in the match United made of couple of team changes and briefly looked capable of breaking the visitors stranglehold on the game. But Bolton Girls retained control and a disappointed Beechy Ladies were left to reflect on a low-key performance. Player of the Match was Becky Topping.