May 21 2018 12:33:14.
By Keith Long
- Third Place Finish For First Team
For their last Manchester Football League match of the 2017/2018 season Beechfield United's First Team travelled to play Boothstown FC and looked fully on course for a victory when they held a 3-1 lead early in the second half. But Beechy allowed their opponents back into the game and at the final whistle Boothstown celebrated a 4-3 win. The hosts kick-off the match on a hard and bumpy pitch and within fifteen seconds United defender Andrzej Browne was forced to concede a throw-in. Then Marcus Belcher when under pressure was happy to just boot the ball out of the area following another swift Boothstown attack. United found themselves 1-0 down after only three minutes when the ball was lost in midfield and regaining possession the Boothstown No7 had far too much time and space to advance forward and fire the ball low into the net from just outside the area. A superb crossfield pass by Steven Erskine sent Louis Duff racing down the right wing but a deep cross from the Beechy youngster drifted out of play.
A neat move involving the hosts No14 created a half chance for Boothstown's No10 who headed the ball high over the crossbar. A quickly taken throw-in by Louis Duff was flicked on by Chris Ferris to Jordan Jones-Waite and he blasted the ball past the post. United gradually played with much more fluency and Louis Duff was involved in the next move supplying a great through ball onto Kurtis Lee who was denied by the keepers outstretched left hand. The Boothstown keeper was in action again two minutes later when he produced a top-class save following Rob Lockley's powerfully struck free kick from thirty yards. But keeping the pressure on United's back three of Marcus Belcher, Luke Johnston and Andrzej Browne Boothstown continued to create chances galore and came close to adding a second goal. A brilliant move featuring Marcus Belcher, Steven Erskine, Jordan Jones-Waite and Rob Lockley deserved a better finish but the latter hammered his shot over the crossbar. Beechy equalised in the 22nd minute when Louis Duff combined with Jordan Jones-Waite down the right wing and United's No10 delivered a first time cross that was met by Kurtis Lee and he produced a brilliant finish for 1-1.
Boothstown always looked a threat going forward forcing a few corners in quick succession and both Marcus Belcher and Luke Johnston were forced to make well timed headed clearances. Chris Ferris worked hard to win the ball in a congested midfield and set-up Jordan Jones-Waite for a first time effort that flew just wide. The hosts had an appeal for a penalty waved away just before United took the lead following a classic move. Marcus Belcher's accurate pass found Louis Duff who quickly sent the ball onto Jordan Jones-Waite and he outpaced two opponents then slipped the ball for Kurtis Lee to create the perfect angle and beat the keeper low to his right. But Beechy were quickly back into a defensive mode and Andrzej Browne and Marcus Belcher rescued United with last ditch ball winning tackles. Beechy made a encouraging start to the second half with a volley from Steven Erskine just clearing the crossbar then when play switched to the other end of the pitch following a free kick Boothstown forced a goalmouth scramble. The hosts were almost level when another free kick from the halfway line was met by the Boothstown No9 but he fired the ball wide.
Craig Massey had the ball in the Boothstown net but the referee disallowed the goal judging that the Beechy man was in an offside position. A couple of off the ball incidents suddenly gave the match a more competitive edge as the pace quickened. United went 3-1 up when Kurtis Lee beat the offside trap and controlling the ball after Craig Massey had lobbed it over the Boothstown's central defender Beechy's Man of the Match completed his hat-trick after he rounded the keeper. But two minutes later Boothstown reduced the arrears via their No8 who at the second attempt slotted the ball over the keeper. United had a chance to go 4-2 in front when Louis Duff's excellent pass sent Kurtis Lee on a clear run but the keepers fingertips diverted the ball for a corner.
Substitute Tom Allcock was introduced in the 65th minute and United were suddenly having to withstand an attacking surge from the hosts. Guilty of some slack defending Beechy gifted their opponents a third goal after they failed to deal with a clearance from his own half by the Boothstown No11 that deflected off the No18 onto the No7 who added the finish for 3-3. Far too many passes went astray as United faced continuous pressure in the final fifteen minutes and Boothstown's match winning goal came from the penalty spot. United ended the season in third place in the Division 1 table and secured promotion.