October 21 2018 19:18:42.
By Keith Long
- Luke Johnston Nets 92nd Minute Winning Goal
"WOW" what a way to win a game of football, that was certainly the feeling echoed by Beechfield United's 1st Team players and officials following the 2-1 win over Manchester Central. In this Manchester Football League Premier Division home game Beechy fought back from a goal down and it was Luke Johnston who became an instant hero when he secured victory with the winning goal in the 92nd minute. Weather conditions at Salford Sports Village were pretty poor with a strong gusty wind blowing throughout the game but credit to both teams who managed to produce an entertaining ninety minutes. Within the opening three minutes United operating with a 4-5-1 system won four successive throw-ins on the right wing as they looked for an early goal. Great defending from Marcus Belcher when good skill by Central's No3 set-up a chance for the visitors No9 who looked offside. Then Marcus Belcher, Mike Rogerson, Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft had to soak up some added pressure as Central built several attacks down both flanks.
The visitors keeper made a couple of easy saves as Beechy responded with a few swift attacks that just lacked the finishing touch. Another piece of individual skill by Central's No8 carved out an opening for their No7 but he shot wide from just inside the area. There was no real flow to the match mainly due the difficult conditions but when Central attacked again United keeper Andrew Richardson had to make a fine reaction save and when the ball rolled across the area Luke Johnston hammered it to safety. In the midfield Chris Ferris, Steven Erskine and Louis Duff worked hard to get enough possession against their talented opponents. More great defending from both Carl Ravenscroft and Man of the Match Marcus Belcher continued to frustrate Central's attempt to score the opening goal. Another superb save from Andrew Richardson denied the visitors No7 then when play switched to the other end Kurtis Lee saw his effort on target win United a corner.
Beechy remained well organised and Mike Rogerson produced two vital headed clearances when Central continued to create some really good football. HT 0-0. United conceded numerous cheap free kicks early in the second half and in the 52nd minute following a piece of slack defending Beechy went 1-0 down. Bad defensive errors have cost Beechy dearly so far this season and when United looked for an instant equaliser they were guilty of far too many wasted passes. But a superb move between Carl Ravenscroft, Steven Erskine, Jordan Jones-Waite and Louis Duff nearly got Beechy back level when a volley by Jamie Sinnott flashed inches wide. After sixty six minutes United finally got their just reward when Jordan Jones-Waite was fouled a few yards inside the area. The referee awarded the penalty and though Central's keeper got a touch on the ball Jordan confidently made it 1-1 from the resulting spot-kick. Central quickly put the pressure back on United and their No11 caused Beechy a few problems when he used his skill on the ball to get into good shooting positions.
A world class save by Andrew Richardson inspired the rest of his team mates and United played with more desire and self-belief in the last twenty minutes. A well timed tackle by Steven Erskine won the ball close to the halfway line and his first time pass found the unmarked Kurtis Lee who side footed the ball past the post. Central continually aimed long balls deep into United's half that tested the aerial ability of United's back four Mike Rogerson, Marcus Belcher, Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft who remained superbly well organised. A couple of free kicks taken by Central's No11 failed to hit the target then after a Beechy counter-attack in the 88th minute Jordan Jones-Waite fired the ball inches wide. Then four minutes later the real drama unfolded after Louis Duff surrounded by three Central players was victim of a rash challenge. Jamie Sinnott took the free kick and accurately curled the ball into the area for Luke Johnston and United's long serving defender after timing his run planted a header over the keeper into the high part of the net. Less than a minute later the referee blew for full time and the celebrations began.