Whitchurch Mens 1s 0 – Liverpool Sefton 3s 0
It isn’t often that a 0-0 draw can claim to be a thrilling game, but this match was an excellent performance by two very evenly matched teams. With Sefton one point behind (bar a game in hand), Whitchurch were keen to get a win to ensure the league title could still be theirs.
Both teams started briskly, and with good movement and good passes, and both defences were very strong from the start, with Ben Fry having another good game on the right, clearing well and making runs. Felix Jeffries caused Sefton trouble from a number of positions as the Reds were able to rotate their subs to maximum effect. Ryan Murtagh and James Partington were strong in the middle, clearing quickly with aerial balls working well, and Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh was impressive in goal again, keeping out a number of Sefton strikes.
In the centre, Dale Seymour and Joel Leese controlled the midfield, creating movement and width, and Jack Barnes, Peter Scales and Steve Lloyd moved the ball around quickly, creating chances as well as closing down Sefton attacks quickly. Up front, Martin Beecher and Tom Leonard caused the Sefton defence all sorts of trouble and Ben Kimberley was unlucky to score with some good creativity in the dee.
The second half was a repeat of the first, with a number of chances at both ends, but ultimately the match ended all square as neither team could find the break to claim the win. Tight marking, good control, movement and passing from both teams meant that the final whistle ensured that both could feel that it was a fair result from a game played in good spirit. Whitchurch maintain their one point advantage, with a game next week against Deeside (and a missed game to play), still looking to claim their second league title in two seasons.
Whitchurch ladies 1s 3 Wilmslow ladies 2s 3
Whitchurch 1s travelled to Wilmslow to play top team of the league. Whitchurch and started the game very brightly and the first goal came quickly for Whitchurch after some brilliant play on the right wing by Ellie Windsor and Grace Berry resulted in a short corner for the visitors. The short corner was worked well by Emma Harper finding space to play the ball across for Emily Hilton to slot away, leaving the hosts shocked. The momentum remained as midfielders Catherine Winter-Gresty and Lucy Ratcliffe caused havoc for their forwards to get past. The second goal was forced through fantastic pressing by Grace Berry who caught the Wilmslow defence off guard, slipped the ball through to Laura Workman who calmly slotted against the backboard.
Wilmslow fought back and settled their first from a well-practiced short corner. Wilmslow were fighting hard now pushing to equalize and making the defence of Helen Machin, Catherine Reece-Gresty and keeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees battle hard. Gwyn had a rush of amazing saves just before the whistle blew for half time.
Whitchurch caught their breath during the break and came out with as much attack and pressure as they started the first half. Charlotte Lawder and Phoebe Jones made some great passes up the left side causing Wilmslow’s defence to panic. Wilmslow kept pushing and won several shorts from which the equalised.
Whitchurch wanted this win and pushed back up to the Wilmslow dee to allow a skilful piece of play from Ellie Windsor to take the lead again. With five minutes left Wilmslow were playing fast and they had another run of penalty shorts that allowed them to equalize again. The final whistle saw a 3-3 result and Whitchurch walked away happy to have broken Wilmslow’s clean sheet of wins.
1s play at home next week for their last game of the season.
Runcorn Mens 3s 2 Whitchurch Mens 2s 0
Whitchurch 2s travelled to Runcorn 3s with an eclectic mix of young and old, including two juniors who had already played a morning of under 14s hockey.
Whitchurch started brightly and by keeping a disciplined, compact formation the team were able to stifle the experienced Runcorn players, whilst using the speed of youth further forward to be an early threat on the counter-attack.
From one of their early attacks, Whitchurch forced a short corner that lead to Craig Hockenhull firing a shot against the foot of the right-hand post. Great work from Fred Egerton on the right saw him drill the ball across the face of the Runcorn goal without a Whitchurch player being able to get a stick to the ball and good play down the left side from Lockie Price and Jake Wood saw the ball fall to Airon Jones in the dee, but his shot flashed wide of the post. Danny Foulkes swept home a well-worked short corner routine, but the goal was ruled out as the ball was deemed to have been lifted.
As the first half wore on, Whitchurch became more cavalier in their efforts to attack the Runcorn goal and capitalise on the chances being created. Bigger gaps started to appear in midfield, and as Runcorn used their subs to bring fresh legs into the game, they started to get chances of their own.
With Danny Foulkes stepping forward to intercept long balls forward, Runcorn resorted to quick, short passes to make progress into the Whitchurch dee. Matt Brookes and Mark Sugden were on hand to clear danger and on the rare occasions that Runcorn got shots at goal, keeper Neil Jones was there to make the saves.
Despite their good half, Whitchurch were undone with the final play of the half when a Runcorn forward picked up a long ball into the dee and with a scuffed shot that bounced over Jones’ dive scored the opening goal of the game.
Buoyed by their goal, Runcorn started the second half on the front foot and pressed Whitchurch back towards their own goal. Although chances were scarce due to the defending of Foulkes, Brookes, Sugden and Doug Buckeridge, eventually Runcorn doubled their lead following an excellent save from Jones when a bouncing ball was bundled in at the far post, with just a hint of a Runcorn foot.
Whitchurch redoubled their efforts and continued to attack the Runcorn goal. Deft dribbling skills in the dee led to Craig Hockenhull firing wide and the same player struck shots from short corners wide of the goal. Some excellent dribbling skills from Lockie Price led to a flick towards goal that was parried by the keeper and Fred Egerton was just unable to sweep the ball into the goal despite, although he almost injured himself by banging his head on the post in his efforts. Defenders crowded out Aaron Shackleton after he neatly flicked the ball past the on-rushing Runcorn keeper, but despite their efforts, Whitchurch were unable to score the goal they deserved.
This game followed a similar pattern to a number of Whitchurch’s games this season. Despite playing some good hockey, they were unable to score the goals that their play warranted. Whilst at the other end, solid defending and excellent goalkeeping were punished by momentary lapses in concentration or by a little bit of bad luck. Once again all 12 of the Whitchurch players put in 100% and can be proud of their application. Like last week the performances of Lockie Price and Fred Egerton were a massive plus for the side and are a credit to the work Alex Fry puts in with the academy and juniors on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Whitchurch 2s play their final game of the season next week, away to Chester University.
Wilmslow ladies 4s 1 Whitchurch ladies 2s 4
As the seasons coming to an end Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled to their last away match at Wilmslow. Whitchurch started off the stronger of the two teams by picking out players in the top of the Dee. Whitchurch started off the scoring within the first 10 minutes of the match as captain Tracy Tolhurst and Katie Goodwin picked out Amy Fry who slotted the ball past the Wilmslow keeper.
Whitchurch were not stopping there solid defending from Jess Kimberley, Hebe Dixon, Martha Teggin and Mel Reid stopped the Wilmslow team in their tracks as they were travelling towards goal keeper Shola Bailey. A free hit from Kimberley who found Fry on the top of the Dee who then slotted the ball past the advancing keeper.
Whitchurch had a momentary lapse in concentration and Wilmslow found the space to make the score 2-1. Emily Vernon and Beth Skyes linked well down the left and again found Fry who shot just wide.
In the second half Whitchurch had switched on their A game and were creating space and passing the ball between debutant Vicky Price and Wendy Cooper, Hayleigh Busby picked out Fry unmarked in the Dee who then completed her hattrick as she sweeped the ball home. Whitchurch continued to apply pressure with many short corners and eventually Busby sweeped the ball home and bringing the score up to 4-1.
Whitchurch will be finishing the season at home against Macclesfield ladies 4s. Amy Fry received player of the match.