February 22 2017 22:37:04.
By Keith Long
- Two Late Goals Secure United Semi-Final Place
Beechfield United Saturday Morning Senior Team booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the Manchester Evening News cup after they beat Manchester Medics 4-2 at home in the quarter-finals. Against a very good Medics outfit United held a 2-0 lead though Medics fought back to make it 2-2 but two goals inside the last twelve minutes guaranteed Beechy the victory. Making a nervy start to the tie United showed a lack of composure and Medics quickly put pressure on Beechy's back four of Andy Lord, Daniel Eckersley, Kyle Walton and Damon Whitbread. Forcing three successive corners Medics almost opened the scoring but it was United who grabbed the lead in the 8th minute.
Winning possession in midfield Ben Donohue produced a surging cross field run that took him past several opponents and he neatly set-up the chance for Kane Branigan who hammered the ball low into the corner of the net from 20 yards. Medics continued to move the ball around with real purpose as they threatened to score a quick-fire equaliser. Enjoying a better spell of possession Beechy worked hard to get a better grip of the midfield and both Wes Pierce and Scott Foulds featured in several promising attacks. Kane Branigan almost made it 2-0 following a strong diagonal run but his powerful low drive curled just inches wide with the keeper stranded.
The visitors who had a few talented players in their side were always dangerous via the counter-attack giving United keeper Dan Lee a busy first half. Not in the spirit of the game a couple of Medics players who after a feigned dive attempted to get the referee to issue a yellow card to Beechy players. A speculative long range effort by Medics number seven in the 38th minute forced a top-class one handed save from Dan Lee. Giving the ball away far too easily in the latter stages of the first half forced United to produce some vital defending to hold onto their one goal lead at the break. The second half was just three minutes old when Beechy added goal number two after Ian Black's persistence guaranteed he won the ball and via an angled pass across the area left Wes Pierce with a comfortable close range finish.
Play then switched to the other end of the pitch and Medics No10 got into a great position in the area and tried to force the ball past Dan Lee who responded with a superb fingertip save. Roy Owen was introduced as a second half substitute and he quickly got involved in the action. Medics reduced the arrears with a first-class goal when a move including numerous accurate passes ended with the visitors No11 supplying a clinical finish. Keeping the pressure on United a resurgent Medics outfit created more decent chances and were gifted a equalising goal on sixty three minutes after a mix-up between a Beechy defender and their keeper. Facing a real test of character United made another tactical change when Dave Harrison replaced Kyle Walton in the back four. Briefly Medics looked the better team but Beechy were able to find an extra gear and with extra time looming large United were desperate to secure victory in normal time.
Beechy made the vital breakthrough after 78 minutes when Kane Branigan's in swinging corner was met by Dave Harrison who with his first goal of the season headed United 3-2 up. Suddenly Beechy played with much more freedom and a cross cum shot by Roy Owen was deflected onto the post by the Medics keeper. Minutes later another classic move involving Kane Branigan, Roy Owen and Scott Foulds carved open the medics defence but the latter fired the ball wide. On two occasions right back Andy Lord rescued United with two superb ball winning tackles as Medics created a late attacking surge. But Beechy ended the visitors hopes of forcing extra time with their fourth goal. In the 88th minute United launched another attack and following a basic error by the Medics keeper Kane Branigan completed the scoring with a top-notch strikers finish. Man of the Match was Daniel Eckersley.