Match reports 25/02/17

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 – Mossley Hill Men’s 3s 0

With the season heading to a close, Whitchurch 1s played a much-improved Mossley Hill 3s in their fight to stay top of the league. The earlier away fixture had finished 5-1 to the Reds, but it was obvious from the start that this wasn’t going to be a walkover.

Mossley Hill began very strongly, with composure on the ball, and pressed hard. Ryan Murtagh, Ben Fry and Tom Forster in defence put in very strong games to ensure that all the Mossley men were constantly well marked and James Partington, returning from injury, was able to cut out a number of baseline attacks by the Mossley forwards. Alex Fry and Joel Leese held the centre and cut out many attacks, whilst providing width to Ben Kimberley on the right wing, and Jack Barnes on the left. This width pulled the Mossley players out wide, giving Peter Scales and Simon Briceno space and time to drive through the middle.

With Whitchurch controlling the game, more space opened up, and a clearance from defence was driven up the pitch via Barnes who slipped it to Tom Leonard who drilled a reverse-stick screamer into the goal. In the Whitchurch goal, Aaron Swain had an outstanding game a fantastic double save maintaining the Whitchurch lead.

The Mossley Hill players fought ever harder to level the scores, but were trying too hard and picked up a green and a yellow card with some overly-enthusiastic tackles which gave Whitchurch numerical superiority – but they were unable to break down the solid Mossley defence, with the keeper making some good saves. Just before the end of the half, a ball flicked up off a Mossley stick and caught Leonard in the eye, requiring treatment, and the half ended 1-0.

The second half was a much calmer affair as each side concentrated on keeping the ball and avoiding trouble, and Mossley were able to make more of their clearances, with a few of their long-ball passes making it to their forwards, but Murtagh and Fry were able to keep them out, and the entire Whitchurch team stuck to their marking and ensured that every pass was hard for Mossley.

With their players pushing harder and higher, a clearance from the Whitchurch 23 quickly got up the pitch to Barnes, who drew in two defenders before slipping to Leonard who took advantage of the open goal to get his second. As Mossley Hill legs tired, and with less than two minutes to play, Barnes again was the play-maker and slipped it through to Kimberley who put it through the keeper’s legs to make it 3-0 and to keep Whitchurch top of the table by one point, but with a game in hand.

Whitchurch play away at Wrexham Glyndwr 2s next week.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 3 Runcorn ladies 1s 2

Whitchurch entertained Runcorn ladies sitting second in the league and looking for promotion.

Whitchurch started slowly and failed to adapt to the early Runcorn pressure that saw them storm into an early two goal lead. Whitchurch then decided they needed to up their work rate and compete with Runcorn. Emma Harper pulled a goal back for the home team with a blistering strike. Whitchurch came close with Lucy Ratcliffe shots missing the back post and another saved by the Runcorn keeper.

Some harsh words at half time saw Whitchurch come out and compete for tackle for tackle with the Runcorn team. The defence held solid frustrating the Runcorn attacks and creating time for the Whitchurch midfield to maintain possession.  Eventually Grace Berry was picked out in the dee to even the scores. As Whitchurch heads came up Runcorn’s seemed to drop and tire, Whitchurch continued to charge forward. Charlotte Lawder charging down the right wing experienced several physical challenges resulting in a green card for the Runcorn player upgraded to a yellow after a verbal lashing of the umpire. Whitchurch took full advantage and a shot from Lucy Ratcliffe from the top of the dee was tipped home by Sue Read. The final ten minutes saw a lot of frustration from Runcorn but Whitchurch held out to claim the points.

Whitchurch ladies 1s travel away for a late game at Alderley Edge next week.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 3 Crewe Ladies 3/4s 5

Whitchurch entertained their local rivals in what turned out to be a game of two halves. Crewe brought a mixture of experience and youth and throughout the first half tore through the Whitchurch team with a series of goals giving them a five goal lead at the interval.

Half time gave Whitchurch chance to review and re-group and in the second half they took the game to opposition. Laura Workman in the middle of the Whitchurch team showed her pace and skill creating time and space so missing in the first half.

This allowed the rest of the team to maintain possession and begin to play the ball around. Captain Hayleigh Busby picked out Hebe Dixon at the top of the dee to sweep home Whitchurch’s first goal. Dixon then turned provider picking out Amy Fry to deflect past the keeper.

Whitchurch gained confidence and as they pushed forward through Phoebe Jones and Tracy Tolhurst down the left hand side they again found Fry who beating the last defender then rounded the keeper and scored her second.

Whitchurch continued to push forward but despite a number of opportunities failed to convert.

Whitchurch entertain Sandbach ladies 1s next week at home in a 1st and 2nd clash starting at 12.30.