June 22 2016 00:39:32.
By David Walker
- Top-Class Display Earns Beechy 2-2 Draw
Prior to their penultimate Manchester Football League Division 1 fixture Beechfield United encountered team selection problems and eventually had just eleven players available for the away game against Irlam Steel but following a superb all-round display those eleven players earned Beechy a 2-2 draw. On a 3G Astroturf Pitch at Partington Sports Village United made the worst possible start when they gifted Irlam Steel the opening goal in the 3rd minute. Producing a positive response Beechy almost earned themselves an instant equaliser when Lee Grimshaw set-up debutant Alfie Belcher (eldest son of Martin Belcher Manager of United’s Under 8’s Storm & Hurricanes) who’s first time effort flashed inches wide of the target. Enjoying a large percentage of the ball Irlam Steel threatened to increase their lead as they forced some crucial defending from United’s back four of Andrzej Browne, Patrick Beckett, Rob Lockley and Carl Ravenscroft. Irlam’s number seven was at the heart of his team’s best moves as the home side dominated the first twenty minutes but United began to play with a greater self-belief and Steven Erskine and Chris Ferris in midfield gradually had a greater influence on the match. Irlam Steel were always a threat via the counter-attack but United drew level on 40 minutes when Alfie Belcher was upended by the keeper and Jamie Sinnott made it 1-1 from the resulting spot-kick. Both teams continued to compete fiercely for possession as the second half progressed but United conceded far too many free kicks in their own half and stand-in goalie Luke Johnston was briefly the busiest of the two keepers. In the 58th minute Irlam Steel went 2-1 up though Beechy disputed the goal claiming there was a deliberate handball by an Irlam player before the referee awarded the goal. Undeterred by the match officials decision United stepped up a gear and showing great character and a high fitness level produced a period of superb attacking football. Irlam Steel thought they had taken a 3-1 lead but this time the goal was disallowed for offside just before United were awarded a second penalty after Lee Grimshaw was fouled just inside the area and Man of the Match Jamie Sinnott easily beat the keeper via another brilliantly executed spot-kick. Andrzej Browne rescued United with a superb goal line clearance as the home team forced some valiant defending from Beechy in the final eight minutes and Patrick Beckett and Rob Lockley were in action making some vital headed clearances and ball winning tackles. In time added on the Irlam Steel number 9 wasted two easy chances to win the game for the hosts.