Result: Beechfield United 6-1 Uppermill (Manchester League Division 1)
Venue: Salford Sports Village (Saturday 28th January 2017, 3.15pm)
Att: 15 (approx.)
Another weekend, yet more rain to decimate the local fixture lists. Having been focussed on picking out a nice, cheap, local option, I soon found myself contemplating a Saturday away from the game. With the time passing by midday, I managed to persuade myself it was worth risking the forecast weather and heading over to Salford. However, this wasn’t to watch the, somewhat, famed City today but their close neighbours who sit, pretty much at the foot of a road leading to Moor Lane: Beechfield United.
Beechfield currently call the Salford Sports Village their home and the 3G pitch at the complex gave assurance that there would indeed be a contest today. So after rousing myself swiftly, I headed out towards Manchester and over to Salford Central where I was to undertake the short hop over to Salford Crescent station, which sits around 25 minutes walk from the complex.
After the inevitable delays were encountered, I arrived at a little before 1.30pm and set off through the litter-strewn streets around Middleton. After dodging most of the rain on my journey, I found myself at the gates just as the game kicked-off at 2pm. At least, I thought that was the case until one of the players clad in green and white hoops shouted out “Come on Salford!” which made me shudder and swiftly check my phone. Ah. I now had an hour to wait for the 3pm game! That, dear reader, is why you should double check everything, even when in haste I guess!
Anyway, the second half of the Salford Vics 3rds game yielded a further five goals including a stunning strike for the visiting side despite them falling to defeat, and then it was on to the Main Event. Beechfield and Uppermill players came out onto the cage-surrounded pitch in dribs and drabs from the changing rooms within the main building and after a quick warm-up, the ref decided he really ought to join them and we were eventually ready to get going fifteen minutes behind schedule.
The Salford Sports Village is a rather large complex, with the building housing all sorts of community facilities i.e. a library, a coffee shop (closed today, sadly) and a gym amongst others. Outside also sees grass pitches, on a fairly soggy field this afternoon, to the rear with the 3G main, full-sized pitch being joined by a few smaller ones nearer the road and adjacent to the car park. The pitch itself is fully railed off, but spare goals hamper any efforts to do laps, so I didn’t bother. As for Beechfield United…
Beechfield United Football Club was formed in 1980 and the club took its name from the Beechfield housing estate in Swinton, where Beechy originally played their fixtures. After just one season there, which saw the ground tarred with vandalism, the club moved to Brookhouse in Eccles before finding a more permanent, long term home in Beechfarm. Here they remained from 1982 until their move into the Manchester League in 2008 from the Lancashire & Cheshire League, which they won in the 2007-’08 season as precursor to their move.
Beechfield were promoted from Division 1 of the Manchester League in 2012 as runners-up to Wythenshawe Town. However, Beechy were to drop back to the league’s second tier after just a single season and have remained there until time of writing. Last season saw the club finish up in 9th place in the table (out of 13), but this season has been a stronger showing and despite them sitting 9th once more, this is now out of nineteen sides.
The game got underway with the two sides looking fairly well matched. This….didn’t last long. Beechfield soon showed they were the overall better side and stormed into a commanding lead before the break. The first arrived after around 20 minutes, with Jamie Sinnott squaring for Alfie Belcher to fire in off the inside of the post from the edge of the area.
This seemed to deflate the visitors and Beechfield soon took a stranglehold on the game. As you may expect, then, they soon extended their lead with Sinnott turning scorer, knocking the ball over the line from 12 yards following good work down the wing by the impressive Louis Duff. The intermittent heavy rain showers did nothing to dampen Beechy’s forward forays and they added a third with Belcher and Sinnott again combining to allow the former to net his second of the game, sliding in at the back-post. Cue horns blaring in celebration from the car-park. Half-Time 3-0.
Following a half-time warm in the SSV’s atrium, I headed out into the broken sunshine that had now arrived in the Costa Del Salford and was soon bearing witness to Beechfield’s fourth goal. Well I say that; What I actually mean to say is I missed the goal bar seeing the ball nestle in the far corner of the besieged Uppermill ‘keeper’s net. I am reliably informed by Beechfield’s match report that it was Sinnott who was at hand to net. Cheers for the info!
I was soon to see Sinnott add a third to his tally, as he lobbed home from inside the area before Uppermill got a consolation goal their attitude to the game deserved. A long ball through the high-pressing Beechfield back-line saw Tom Gallagher break clear and he kept his cool to hammer a drive past the slightly-injured Beechfield GK and into the top-corner of the net.
This “setback” didn’t end the scoring, however, as the hosts added a sixth late on with that man Sinnott again on the score-sheet as he broke through the visiting defence and slotted beyond the glove-man for 6-1 and that was how we ended up. Uppermill would have been quite pleased to hear the whistle, I’d say, as this was easily one of the most one-sided games I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Credit to them for not giving in though.
The walk back was a brisk one as I raced to make the train back to Oxford Road station and get back in swift time. The score-line was worth the trip as it turned out, but little else was. The ground was, obviously, bland there was nothing much to anywhere, including the surrounding area. You may have noticed a distinct lack of pubs in this blog. The reason? There wasn’t one for about a mile in each direction at least! There was a hotel, but it looked quite shut and undergoing a refit. So, if you like a beer, don’t set off too early here! Next week could be…different…
Value For Money: 9