February 09 2017 20:05:51.
By Keith Long
- Two Goals Down But United Recover To Win 4-3
Thanks to a hard working all-round performance Beechfield United were rewarded with a 4-3 away win over Heywood St James. Making three team changes that included Mike Phythian taking up an unfamiliar role as right back United faced early pressure from a confident looking Heywood outfit. On a uneven playing surface Beechy were slow to settle into a decent rhythm and it was the home side who created the early chances and one long range effort from Heywood's number seven flew just over the crossbar. Producing a positive run down the left flank was Alfie Belcher and his clever pass set-up Kurtis Lee who fired the ball into the net but the goal was disallowed for offside. Winning several free kicks Heywood continued to looked a threat from dead ball situations but United defended superbly. Beechy keeper Robert Harrison made a very good save when the ball bounced awkwardly after a low drive by an Heywood midfield player.
Alfie Belcher forced a fine fingertip save from the Heywood keeper who was involved again minutes later when he kicked the ball deep into United's half and Heywood were gifted the lead following a basic defensive error. Mike Phythian, Patrick Beckett, Gary Wallis and Carl Ravenscroft (who trudged his way back into position after receiving a yellow card later in the game and the culprit was fingered ) were forced to do some brave defending as Heywood who rarely wasted possession created a glut of chances. Just after the half hour mark Heywood increased their lead when following a move through midfield their tall centre forward was given far too much time and space to power the ball into the corner of the net. Despite conceding a second goal this didn't destroy United team spirit and gradually Beechy got a foothold in this Division One contest and got a goal back in the 41st minute.
Central defender Patrick Beckett sent the ball deep into the Heywood half and Jamie Sinnott brought it under control and waved his way into the area where he brought down. The referee immediately awarded United a penalty and taking the spot kick himself Jamie Sinnott easily beat the keeper for 2-1. A couple of minutes later an Heywood defender was guilty of a blatant foul on Alfie Belcher and with his twentieth goal of the season Jamie Sinnott equalised via a superbly executed free kick. Heywood began the second half creating some useful attacks and on one occasion their number nine with only the keeper to beat blasted the ball over the crossbar. On forty eight minutes the home side regained the lead and though three Heywood players were clearly stood in an offside position after the ball was slotted into the net by the number eleven the match official awarded the goal.
A similar pattern to the first half developed in the early stages of the second period with United showing a good fitness level on the energy sapping pitch. A quick counter-attack led to Beechy getting back on level terms when Craig Massey headed the ball onto Jamie Sinnott who lifted it over the last defender and Kurtis Lee raced clear then made it 3-3 via an accurate low finish. Despite far too many controversial decisions by the match official the contest was fairly entertaining. The fast action zoomed rapidly from end to end and just after the hour mark United were ahead for the first time courtesy of Jamie Sinnott's deep cross into the area and a well placed header by Kurtis Lee that dropped over the keeper and into the net. After the goal United made a tactical change with Steven Erskine replacing Craig Massey while Heywood made a couple of substitutions.
Heywood continued to look dangerous going forward and United's slender one goal lead was always under threat. Man of the Match Alfie Belcher, Chris Ferris and Rob Lockley linked up superbly in one great move and the latter almost beat the keeper from just outside the area. A period of scrappy play developed during which one of Heywood's substitutes attempted to level the score but his effort hit the post. More great defending from Phythain, Beckett, Wallis and Ravenscroft frustrated Heywood's attempt to find an equaliser. Louis Duff made a brief appearance late in the game coming on for Chris Ferris. After clashing with Rob Harrison Heywood's number eleven had an appeal for a penalty waved away and minutes later the referee ended the match and Beechy had earned themselves three well deserved points.
United's Starting Line-Up Was: Robert Harrison, Mike Phythian, Gary Wallis, Patrick Beckett, Carl Ravenscroft, Chris Ferris, Rob Lockley, Alfie Belcher, Craig Massey, Jamie Sinnott (Captain) Kurtis Lee. Substitutes: Louis Duff, Steven Erskine.