April 30 2018 10:49:41.
By Keith Long
- Maximum Points Following Third Double-Header
At Salford Sports Village Beechfield United Ladies played their third double-header in a row when they met Crompton Ladies and needing maximum points to maintain their Division 1 title challenge Beechy were successful winning both games 7-2 and 2-1. The games were two equal halves of thirty minutes each way and United made a decent start to the first game with Jennifer Mutch and Natasha Herity combing in a swift attack down the right wing. The Crompton Ladies keeper made a couple of fairly comfortable saves prior to the visitors taking the lead via their No12 in the 5th minute. United continued to see a greater share of the ball but Crompton defended with real aggression despite having one less player on the pitch. Beechy equalised following a superbly executed free kick by Natasha Herity who curled the ball over the keeper and into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Crompton Ladies were briefly reduced to nine players when it was discovered that one of their girls had the wrong type of studs in her boots. Play had become fairly evenly balanced until Beechy went 2-1 up through central defender Gemma Winterburn who produced an accurate side footed finish from close range following a corner. Natasha Herity saw a half volley beat the keeper but curl wide of the target then Joanna Szafranska almost scored from just outside the area. The latter took a quick throw-in beginning the move that led to United's third goal when Debbie Wright sent the ball across the area and Stacy Partridge fired it low into the net. In the third minute of the second half Crompton built a worthwhile attack but their No11 blasted the ball into the hands of Beechy keeper Rachel Howarth. Gradually United stepped up a gear and creating chances galore took a 4-1 lead when Natasha Herity ran onto a through ball from Kim Holt and easily beat the keeper.
The fifth goal quickly followed after a long range shot on target by Stacy Partridge dropped over the keepers outstretched arms and into the back of the net. Substitutes Sue Howard, Faye Cassidy and Hazel Tucker took over from Becky Topping, Debbie Wright and Stacy Partridge giving the replaced players time to recover for the second game. Following Kim Holt's powerful strike from twenty five yards the Crompton keeper dropped the ball and Player of the Match Natasha Herity who reacted the quickest netted the rebound making it 6-1 as she completed her hat-trick. The seventh goal was just reward for Julie Ward who had another very good game and despite holding a handsome lead Beechy kept pushing forward looking for more goals. Crompton's No12 who was always involved in the visitors best moves scored her teams second goal during the latter stages.
Crompton Ladies started the second game with eleven players on the pitch and the visitors changed their keeper just before kick-off. At the end of a surging solo run by Jennifer Mutch the ball deflected off a Crompton defender then hit the top of the crossbar. Some great defending from both Julie Ward and Elina Parker denied the Crompton No11 the opportunity to get the opening goal following a couple of mazy runs. A brilliant quick passing move between Kim Holt, Becky Topping and Natasha Herity created a decent chance for Debbie Wright who's shot went past the post. Adopting a more physical approach Crompton Ladies never allowed Beechy the opportunity to dominate the second game and defenders Julie Ward, Gemma Winterburn and Elina Parker were forced to deal with a lot more pressure throughout this match. But a neat flowing move featuring Jennifer Mutch created a chance for Becky Topping who had unfortunately strayed into an offside position.
A snap shot by the visitors No10 looked to be heading for the back of the net but luckily for Beechy the ball rebounded off the crossbar. Soon after the let off United went ahead thanks to Kim Holt who finished off a swift counter-attack between Joanna Szafranska and Natasha Herity down the right flank. Early in the second half Crompton Ladies forced a corner and when the ball was floated into the area it was volleyed into the side netting by the visitors No9. Forcing their first corner of the second half Beechy came close to making it 2-0 after Gemma Winterburn played the ball back to Natasha Herity and her accurate cross found Julie Ward who headed the ball straight at the keeper. Then an effort by Player of the Match Kim Holt forced a fine save and United knew they couldn't relax on their one goal lead.
Racing onto an accurate long pass from the visitors No8 Crompton Ladies No12 wasted a fair chance when she hammered the ball wide. But the visitors continued to find a few gaps in United's normally watertight defence and eventually earned themselves an equaliser thanks to a calm and assured finish from their No11. Knowing they could not afford to drop two points Beechy still believed there was always a chance to win this game. Suddenly finding an extra burst of energy Beechy attacked non-stop and were rewarded with their match winning goal during a tense last few minutes. At the end of a move mostly down the left flank Debbie Wright delivered a low cross into the area and Natasha Herity got the all important touch to send the ball from a tight angle into the bottom corner of the net.