January 12 2017 15:40:34.
By Keith Long
- Senior Section Match Reports 7/1/2017
Beechfield United Saturday Morning Senior Team kicked-off the New Year with a home game against Alkrington Dynamoes and despite holding a 4-1 lead early in the second half Beechy were forced to settle for a 4-4 draw. United took the lead in the 12th minute via Kane Branigan but less than three minutes later the visitors equalised. Playing some fine attacking soccer Beechy enjoyed a large percentage of the ball and following a fabulous volleyed effort by Scott Foulds the ball rebounded to John Bolton who put United back in front after thirty seven minutes.
Four minutes later Beechy were rewarded once again when at the end of a slick move down the right flank Scott Foulds produced a stylish finish for the third goal. United looked well in control when Kane Branigan was on target with his second goal of the game on fifty seven minutes and leading 4-1 Beechy appeared to be in a winning position. But somehow Alkrington Dynamoes were allowed back into the contest and a headed goal following a free kick on sixty two minutes reduced the arrears.
Man of the Match Daniel Eckersley was a key figure in an overworked United back four who failed to deal with a long ball aimed downfield and the unmarked Alkrington striker raced clear and slotted the ball past stand-in keeper Tim McQueeney. United were left feeling rather frustrated when the visitors completed their comeback in the 89th minute after the ball was forced into the net following a goalmouth scramble.
Making one change to the side that beat Manchester Central seven days earlier an in-form First Team squad faced a tough challenge in their away at Atherton Town. After producing a decent first half display United were less than impressive in the second period and lost this Division 1 fixture 3-0. During a lively start to the match Gary Wallis halted a couple of swift counter-attack by the home side with two well timed ball winning tackles. Twice Kurtis Lee was caught offside following some positive attacking play from a confident looking Beechy outfit.
On nine minutes United keeper Robert Harrison made his first real save after a long ball hammered deep into United's half was misjudged by a couple of Beechy defenders. Two minutes later Atherton won their first corner but United defended against the aerial threat and were quickly back on the attack. Beechy forced a corner off an Atherton defender and Jamie Sinnott's flag kick was met by Luke Johnston who had timed his run into the area but his bullet header hit the vase of the post. The fast action moved swiftly from end to end with both teams displaying great movement off the ball.
Atherton's number nine was a constant threat but the home teams main target man was well marked by Gary Wallis and Luke Johnston. Despite working hard in all areas Beechy failed to create enough clear-cut chances but Kurtis Lee almost put United ahead with a header seconds before half time. Following an encouraging team talk Beechy couldn't have foreseen the poor start they made to the second half when they conceded a soft goal within sixty seconds. The goal literally gave Atherton the upper hand and continuing to use the long ball tactic the home side heaped heavy pressure on United's back four that included Man of the Match Gary Wallis.
A neat counter-attack between Jamie Sinnott, Chris Ferris and Rob Lockley almost produced a goal but after making a great run through midfield the latter saw the ball skid past him off the wet surface and the chance was gone. Two great moves involving Craig Massey and Alfie Belcher also created decent chances but once again United failed to force a save from the Atherton keeper. Beechy made a couple of tactical changes around the 65th minute mark when Belcher and Johnston who was suffering from an injury were replaced by Louis Duff and Patrick Beckett.
Atherton Town rarely wasted possession in the last quarter of the game and they went 2-0 up on seventy three minutes forcing United to re-think their plan of action. As darkness closed in on a gloomy Saturday afternoon Atherton continued to dictate the pace of the game and creating chances always looked capable of adding further goals. Six minutes before the end United's misery was complete when Atherton's number nine completed the scoring.