Match Reports 25/01/20

Golborne ladies 3s 0 Whitchurch ladies 3s 5

Whitchurch Ladies 3’s travelled to Golborne determined to improve their away performance. After a quick shirt change by goalie Louise Cottrell to make her more luminous the game was underway.

Some well linked up passes on the right between Emma Stubbs, Jaz Williams and Caitlin Edwards led to Whitchurch winning a long corner which centre half Wendy Cooper managed to thread through to Sue Read waiting in the dee who was denied many times by the Golborne defence. Whitchurch continued their attack winning a couple of short corners in quick succession. Kate Buckeridge missed a deft pass from Williams and the young Golborne keeper was magnificent in stopping an onslaught of shots from the Whitchurch forwards.

Libby Fox was subbed onto the pitch for Cooper and defended the centre of the pitch in style, spraying passes to Emily Lister on the left who was able to open up the attack via Annie Buckeridge causing Golborne to tire with the fast pace. Finally, the relentless attack of the Whitchurch forwards was rewarded with a goal from Read to open her 2020 account.

Some excellent control and stick skills in the centre of the pitch from Cooper, Jan Teggin and Hermonie Ball didn’t allow Golborne much chance to counter attack, giving Cottrell free time to shout instructions down the pitch. Just before half time, Edwards scored her first goal of the season with a beautiful interception in the final quarter, drive into the dee and a clean strike across the goal into the left corner.

An encouraging team talk from captain Cooper at half time, led to a switch round with Fox as Centre Forward and Meg Brunyard as centre half leading to much more open play and encouraged Whitchurch to use their width. With inners Williams and Annie Buckeridge driving forwards, shots were fired into the dee from Brunyard and Fox time and time again with Fox being denied by the left post. Eventually Brunyard looked up, passed to Fox waiting on the left of the dee who shot a well-deserved goal making it 3-0.

The 2nd half also saw the emergence of a new central player for Golborne who led several attacks in the centre of the pitch and into the Whitchurch dee but all attacks were neatly cleared by Ball, Teggin and goalie Cottrell to waiting halves Brunyard, Stubbs and Lister. Kate Buckeridge picked up a loose ball outside the Golborne dee and not being able to see a clear pass to Fox, ran across goal, took a shot on the right of goal and was very relieved to see it go through the goalie’s legs to make it 4-0. Read finished the scoring at 5-0.  Players’ player was Caitlin Edwards.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 4 Macclesfield ladies 2s 3

Whitchurch ladies 1s entertained Macclesfield 2s at home this Saturday. Sarah Field hungry for the win took the ball off the second Macclesfield player to touch it and drove up the pitch, into the dee round the defenders and slotted past the keeper, an amazing start for Whitchurch centre forward within the first minute.

Macclesfield a bit dumb founded fought back but Whitchurch were strong in defence with Kezzie Hutching’s and Emma Harper clearing the ball. Sophie ward and Anna Latham used their width to get the ball to captain Catherine Winter-Gresty just outside the dee who fired the ball into Field to get a touch for their second. Macclesfield saw red and attacked hard, with keeper Maddy Sugden making several slide tackles to keep the ball out but eventually Macclesfield got lucky and scored two before half time.

Fresh from a break Whitchurch continued to work the ball around using Millie Edwards, Hebe Dixon and Jessica Carruthers giving Whitchurch shots on goal and a run of short corners. Hayleigh Busby played well as a floating sub allowing Whitchurch to catch their breath, keeping them fresh. The 3rd goal came from Emma Harper who hit it from a 16 and Field shot at goal, the keeper saved it but Ellie Windsor caught the rebound and Whitchurch were back in the lead. Macclesfield were not for giving up and came back with a goal from a short corner.

Whitchurch really wanted this win and fought right to the end and with minutes to go Millie Edwards passed Field the ball who hit it across the dee and Izzy Huxley got a touch to score the winning goal. With minutes to go Whitchurch held the ball and passed around Macclesfield until the final whistle.

Amazing keeper Maddy Sugden was awarded players player from Macclesfield.

They play away next Saturday against Warrington.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 8  Bowdon Men’s 5s 0

Whitchurch were at home this week to play the team they’d beaten 10-1 away earlier in the season, looking to repeat their performance with some solid build-up play and off-the-ball work. As with the previous encounter, it was a game of two halves: the first being fairly balanced, with good work from both teams, and the second when the flood-gates opened and the goals kept going in.

It wasn’t a flawless performance, with a lack of control on the ball playing a large part in the first half with most of Bowdon’s time on the ball coming from Whitchurch giving it to them. However, the Reds were persistent in defence, getting the ball back time and again. Paul “Sturge” Leigh had another strong game in goal, keeping a clean sheet this week with a number of critical saves. With captain Danny Foulkes away this week, Alex Fry stepped up and took charge, joining the defensive team of Chris Ruscoe, James Partington and Luke Davies to create a solid base for the team. In front of them, Rob Chappell and Dale Seymour again controlled the middle of the pitch making it hard for Bowdon to get any decent time on the ball.

This control and pressure eventually paid off, as the ball was moved up the pitch with Nick Cooper passing it to Tom Forster who slipped it to Ben Kimberley who put it in the back of the net. More good play followed with Forster getting on the score-sheet himself with a sublime strike from the edge of the dee which went through the keeper’s legs.

The half-time talk was about the slight lack of finesse on the ball, and trying to avoid going for the low-percentage long balls versus close control, holding the ball up waiting for teammates and moving for each other. It worked well, as Whitchurch took control in the second half and put together a performance similar to the second half in the original fixture, where crisp passing, good movement and solid tackling, especially from Fry in the defence, meant the Reds had far more of the ball and used it to their advantage. A drive down the right wing saw Jack Barnes able to get to the by-line before belting in a rocket to the top corner. More pressure saw a shot illegally blocked on the line, and Seymour was composed and accurate at the resulting penalty stroke, putting the ball low past the keeper.

Forster then got his second, with good play and passing giving him plenty of time at the top of the dee to line up his shot, and he put it in the gap between the post and the keeper’s legs. This was followed by Joel Leese putting a sublime flick across the goal high into the net, and Sam Conway followed this up by getting a shot away on his back foot to turn a seemingly unlikely situation into another goal. Finally, Barnes got his second from a short corner, with a lack of height on the flick deceiving the keeper and bringing up the eighth goal for the day.

It was another strong, well-disciplined performance from Whitchurch who, with nearby teams only getting draws, go three points clear at the top of the table and twelve points clear of third place, looking to work for promotion at the end of the season.

Birkenhead Men’s 2s 7  Whitchurch Men’s 2s 2

With Birkenhead pushing for promotion and having already inflicted a heavy defeat on the Whitchurch Men’s 2s, the return fixture on the Wirral was always going to be a tough game for the Reds.

Birkenhead started fast and immediately pinned Whitchurch back in their own dee. The speed of their passing had the Reds chasing shadows and Birkenhead won several short corners and duly took the lead with a low strike from the top of the dee. The home side continued to drive forward and quickly added a second goal, although Whitchurch felt the ball had been won in midfield by a Birkenhead foot.

Belatedly, Whitchurch managed to get a foothold in the game. The midfield of Joe Coburn, Luke Beddow and Airan Jones began to string some passes together and managed to make some progress towards the Birkenhead goal. Wyn Morris and Pip Jones were clearing the danger from the Birkenhead attacks and Gareth Teggin & Will Snaith were more diligent at tracking the wide runners and provided support as the team moved up the pitch.

Midway through the half, Whitchurch pulled a goal back. Alex Leigh started the move running strongly down the right. A quick one-two with Joe Coburn put Alex clear into the dee and he squared the ball for Euan Morris to reduce the deficit.

Birkenhead were always a threat going forward. The Whitchurch defence continued to clear most of the danger, but keeper Neil Jones was alert to clear any shots that did head towards goal. The Reds were quick to counter-attack as the home attacks broke down. Fred Delf-Rowlandson and Joe Faithfull were causing trouble for the home side on the right and on the left Jacob Buckeridge was tenacious and Will Gilbert’s speed was difficult to contain.

As half-time approached Whitchurch won another short corner. The routine didn’t quite go to plan, but Euan’s reverse stick shot looped up towards the back post and Will Gilbert did well to steer a waist-high ball into the goal for the equaliser.

Having been seen their lead disappear, the home side came out with renewed vigour in the second half. Whitchurch weren’t quite as penned in as the opening period of the first half, but Birkenhead were a serious threat to the Reds goal. Once again Neil Jones made some good stops and the defenders were working hard to protect the goal. Inevitably Birkenhead took the lead again, from another well struck short corner, but Whitchurch dug in and made it difficult for the home side to get further ahead. The Reds still posed a threat at the other end, but the Birkenhead defence and keeper kept the Reds at bay.

Midway through the half, Birkenhead extended their lead. They continued to press for more goals, but the Whitchurch defence was stoic, and Alex Leigh made some fantastic last ditch stops to prevent the home side running away with the game.

But with 10 minutes to go a familiar 2s failing raised its head. A sudden loss of concentration and a desire to run the ball rather than pass lead to possession being given up cheaply. Within the space of a few minutes the score line went from 4-2 to 7-2. This was a disappointing end to the game for the Whitchurch side. There was no doubt that Birkenhead deserved to win the game, but the sudden, late collapse has now happened three times this season and is something the team needs to address. This young side will sometimes struggle to match the power of some of their older opponents, but the collapses at the end of difficult games are in stark contrast to some of the excellent hockey the team can and does play.

Despite the score line the defenders and keeper all had very good games. Pip, Wyn and Gareth were strong in the tackle and Will and Alex were diligent in their defensive duties whilst also providing a threat going forward. Neil Jones had a great game in goal, including an excellent save from a short corner that was fired towards the top corner of his goal. Alex Leigh was excellent. His last ditch defending in the second half was incredible, at least twice saving certain goals, but his driving run in the first half to set up the teams opening goal was exceptional.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s will look to get their season back on track with a home game against Deeside Ramblers 5s on Saturday 1st February.