Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 Alderley Edge Men’s 5’s 0
Whitchurch started the second half of the season with a good win at home against a ten-man Alderley Edge side. With the opposition only being able to field ten players, and Whitchurch having a couple of substitutes of their own the Reds knew they had a good chance to make numbers count, but Alderley Edge brought some strong players and more than held their own.
The game started evenly enough, with both teams trying to keep the ball and build play carefully, but first-game-back syndrome kicked in and passes weren’t what they could have been and everything just lacked the spark that normally defines a Whitchurch game. Alderley Edge suffered less from this as they were already trying to accommodate being a player down so were taking extra care, but Whitchurch were trying to make things happen that just didn’t quite work and it meant frustrations built up. Some good runs were made, some great tackles were won, and Craig Hockenhull was unlucky on a couple of occasions trying to get the last touch on some quick hits into the dee after making excellent runs, but Whitchurch just couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on that would normally happen for them.
They did finally go ahead in the first half as they’d built up pressure in the opposition half, and won a long corner that Dale Seymour took quickly and drove into the dee mostly unchallenged before getting a shot away with a deceiving pace on it that beat the keeper. At the other end, Paul “Sturge” Leigh made another signature diving save to prevent the equaliser, and the Reds went into the break one-up.
Captain Danny Foulkes’ half-time talk reflected on the general rustiness, but encouraged the team to play how they knew they could and the effect was immediate: the first five minutes of the second half was a reminder to all just how well the team can play. Some great work up the length of the pitch won a short corner, and Foulkes injected to the first castle who sent it straight back to him and he tucked it away for the Reds’ second. Two minutes later and Whitchurch had a third, with a clearance from the back going from player to player across the width of the pitch and up the right before being fired into the dee for a simple tap-in by Nick Cooper.
The game then took a bit of a turn as tempers frayed, and the Reds did their best to level the playing numbers by picking up yellow cards, but as things calmed down the team stepped up to ensure that Alderley Edge didn’t score, with Chris Ruscoe putting in a player-of-the-match performance at right back. The full-time whistle went with the score line at three-nil, and Whitchurch could be proud of their efforts. With the other teams just below them in the league also winning this week, they did what they needed to remain top of the league, and are at Winnington Park next week and will look to continue their much-improved away form.
Whitchurch ladies 1s 16 Rhyl ladies 1s 0
Whitchurch ladies 1s entertained Rhyl at home this week with a strong squad of 13.
From the start Whitchurch pushed up the pitch putting lots of pressure on Rhyl who only kept Whitchurch away for a few minutes until Sarah Field started off scoring two from open play within minutes of each other.
Rhyl were taken aback by how quick Whitchurch were playing, defensive players Kezzie Hutchings, Chloe Lloyd and Anna Latham picking up any break. With so much pressure from Whitchurch up front captain Catherine Winter-Gresty scored her first goal of the season from open play. Millie Edwards held the middle pushing the ball wide allowing Izzy Huxley and Ellie Windsor to work together and be awarded a short corner from which Emma Harper scored their 4th.
Just before half time Stephanie Stanton deflected a 5th giving Whitchurch a good lead.
After a good talk Whitchurch played in high spirits, playing fast and passing well around Rhyl taking majority of possession, Jessica Carruthers took on the keeper and scored the first of the second half. The couple of chances that Rhyl had were quickly cleared by keeper Maddy Sugden, but Rhyl couldn’t keep up with Whitchurch as Sarah Field was on fire and took advantage of the fact Rhyl were tiring and scored six goals from open play within the next 10 minutes, with great support from the team who kept sending in the ball.
A few short corners for Whitchurch and Catherine Winter-Gresty slotting the ball into the left corner of the goal from top dee, shortly followed by Hebe Dixon making 14.
Rhyl broke a couple of times but Whitchurch were determined to keep a clean sheet this week and held a strong defence. Carruthers and Dixon both scored another each from open play before the final whistle went.
An amazing final score, 16-0 for Whitchurch and players player was awarded to a well-deserved Sarah Field.
Ladies 1s play away at Timperley next week.
Oxton ladies 4s 0 Whitchurch ladies 2s 2
After the excitement of last week’s win, Whitchurch arrived at Oxton zealous for the game. The game began, with Whitchurch battling the wind as well as the opposition. Despite this, they stayed strong, with Emma Clarke and Catherine Reece-Gresty creating a strong defence. Ellie Pearson and Holly Edwards worked together as inners, making numerous attacks, which before long, Nichola Forster scored off, leaving the result as 1-0 by half time.
Oxton fought back in the second half, but Beth Wright made some incredible saves in goal to keep Whitchurch in the lead. Tracy Tolhurst made her debut for the season, leading some beautiful attacks down the left hand side of the pitch, assisted by Edina Jones. An attack down the right side by Martha Teggin and Holly Gilbert resulted in a short corner, which Phoebe Jones scored. Molly Fry was awarded player of the match.
Clwb Hoci Eirias 3s 2 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3
After the four-week Christmas break, the Men’s 2s first fixture of 2020 saw them presented with a tricky trip to Colwyn Bay to face Eirias 3s. Despite the wet and windy conditions, the two teams played out an entertaining, end-to-end game, with Whitchurch just hanging on to see out a valuable 3-2 win.
The early exchanges were quite even. The Welsh side enjoyed more possession but couldn’t create any clear shooting opportunities. The Whitchurch midfield of Luke Beddow, Joe Coburn and Richard Leigh were making life very uncomfortable for the Welsh midfield and giving them very little time and space to pick their passes. Anything that did go forward was neatly cleaned up by Brendan Coburn and Wyn Morris at the back.
Whitchurch, whilst seeing less of the ball, were perhaps more threatening when they did gain possession. Joe Faithfull and Jacob Buckeridge were providing some dynamism on the flanks and linking well with Joe and Luke as they moved the ball forward, through midfield, towards Euan Morris.
It was a swift Whitchurch counterattack that led to the first goal of the game. Will Snaith collected the ball on the left side of the defence and fired a pass down the line for Will Gilbert. His speed and control enabled him to make good progress towards the Eirias dee and his cross found Luke Beddow, who did well to swivel and get a shot on goal, but Joe Faithfull had drifted into the dee from the right and neatly deflected the shot past the stranded keeper.
Eirias continued to enjoy more of the possession and went close through a succession of short corners but Whitchurch continued to be a threat with their speed on the break. It was from another counterattack that the 2s doubled their lead. Once again, they created danger down the left and the cross across the face of goal was swept goalward, but a Welsh foot prevented the ball crossing the line. A penalty flick was awarded, and Euan Morris stepped forward to take responsibility. Euan dispatched the ball high into the top corner to give Whitchurch a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Eirias came out in the second half with a bit more intensity and aggression leading to them winning more of the 50:50 challenges and picking up most of the loose balls. But still they struggled to create any clear-cut chances. Gareth Teggin was defending well on the right and when he ran out of steam, Alex Leigh filled in to snuff out any danger on that side of the pitch.
As the second half wore on pressure continued to build on the Whitchurch dee and keeper Neil Jones was forced to kick away a couple of goal-bound efforts and then produced an outstanding diving save to a well-struck shot from a short corner.
Despite being under the cosh Whitchurch remained a threat on the counterattack. Ethan Gresty and Airan Jones were carrying the ball well through the centre of the pitch and the midfield continued to link up well with Euan Morris. With 15 minutes to go Whitchurch broke dangerously again and after good work by Airan and Euan, the ball found its way to Luke Beddow in the dee and he calmly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to give Whitchurch a 3-0 lead.
Maybe at this point a little complacency set in to the Whitchurch play, or maybe Eirias manged to dial up the intensity even further but for the remainder of the game Whitchurch found it difficult to maintain any possession and found themselves pinned in their own dee. Keeper Jones made more good saves; Wyn, Brendan and Doug Buckeridge made some important blocks and clearances, but repeatedly Eirias players managed to find space and eventually the home side pulled a goal back. This was quickly followed by another goal which Jones was powerless to stop.
With Eirias sensing an unlikely draw, but time running out, Whitchurch were defending desperately. Every time the ball was cleared Eirias brought it straight back to the Whitchurch dee. There was genuine relief from the Whitchurch players as Euan Morris brilliantly killed time in the far corner of the pitch and the final whistle was blown.
This certainly wasn’t the 2s best performance of the season, but after a four-week lay-off that was probably no surprise. There was some excellent attacking play, leading to three goals, and the team defended well for much of the game with Eirias finding it difficult to create good shooting chances. But this was a “rusty” performance. The 2s lacked some of the control they demonstrated before the Christmas break and some of the passing was over-ambitious.
Once again, the superior physicality of their opponents has threatened to overwhelm the 2s, as it has on several occasions this season but once again the young players rose to the challenge and manged to see out a tight victory. As the lads get more experienced and physically stronger the team are less likely to be bullied but game management will be something to work on in the meantime.
The Men’s 2s next game is at home to Winnington Park 4s on Saturday 18th January.
Alderley Edge ladies 8s 2 Whitchurch ladies 3s 0
The Whitchurch ladies 3rds played their first match of the year. From the start of the first half the opponents managed to drive the ball down one side of the pitch and switch play quickly to the opposite side of the pitch and back to the top of the dee to the oncoming attackers, whilst the defence of Mel Reid, Hermione Ball and Jan Teggin held off multiple attacks Alderley managed to take the lead.
Whitchurch pushed for an equaliser with a number of strong runs but couldn’t make he most of their opportunities and went into the break one down.
In the second half Alderley managed to score another goal, the half took on much the same story as the first as Whitchurch pushed forward in numbers but failed to take their opportunities. Goalkeeper Louise Cotterell played brilliantly and managed to frustrate the Alderley strikers with a number of fine saves. Whitchurch were disappointed with the end result as they deserved many more goals from the performance as a whole.