Match Reports 29/02/20

Bowden Vixens 2 Whitchurch ladies 3s 1

Whitchurch ladies 3rds played a friendly away against Bowden Vixens on their spare weekend from the league. The first half saw goalkeeper Louise Cottrell and the defence of Mel Reid, Emma Stubbs and Hermione Ball come under pressure from the Bowden attacks but they calmly retrieved the ball and set up Whitchurch attacks through the midfield of Poppy Huxley, Annie Leigh and Alice Page.

With the inners of Jasmin Williams and Emily Lister a constant thorn in the side of opposition as they worked tirelessly to break down the opposition possession. In the centre of the pitch, Jan Teggin and captain Wendy Cooper worked together with forwards Jess Kimberly, Kate Buckeridge, Caitlin Edwards and Libby Fox to create Whitchurch chances in the Bowden dee. The first goal was scored by Bowden as they broke quickly and finished clinically giving them a lead into the break.

Whitchurch soon were back on equal terms in the second half as Page drove through the Bowden midfield and slipped the ball to Kimberley to score. Bowden again took the lead breaking quickly and catching Whitchurch with a counterattack.

Whitchurch pushed hard for the equalising goal and despite creating many good chances their luck wasn’t there as they failed to make that last elusive touch in the dee.

Player of the match was Hermione Ball. Next week Whitchurch ladies 3’s are at home to Cheshire Blues.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 7 Neston ladies 3s 2

Ladies 1s entertained Neston 3s at home this week and what a mix of weather they had. As soon as they set up on the pitch the skies darkened and snow began to fall.

Straight away Whitchurch put plenty of pressure on Neston, using the width of Kezzie Hutching and Hebe Dixon. Forwards Izzy Huxley and Ellie Windsor battled in the dee and won a short corner allowing Emma Harper to use her powerful shot to slot their first past the keeper.

With the snow coming down so thick the game was stopped until it was safe to play again.

Neston fought well, but defence Chloe Lloyd and Harper cleared from the dee. With some fast play up the pitch from captain Catherine Winter-Gresty and Millie Edwards, Anna Latham stormed from nowhere onto the back post to score their second. Neston got on the score sheet from a powerful strike off a short corner. Sarah Field received a ball in the dee from Edwards and scored a 3rd for Whitchurch. Just before half time Neston made a break and scored a second.

A quick team talk and the ladies 1s came out battling against Neston defence.

Some lovely passing around Neston and Field returned the assist to Millie Edwards for a 4th.

Great play through the centre of the pitch through Molly Fry and out to Nina Hodges who set up Field for another two great goals. With only minutes to go Sarah Field managed to get a 7th for Whitchurch from open play. A great 7-2 win for the ladies 1s.

Whitchurch currently sit third in the league with the top two one point ahead, but as they play against top team Bowden at home next week promotion is still a real possibility!

Chester University Men’s 1s 1 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 6

On a blustery Saturday afternoon Whitchurch men’s 1st’s travelled to Chester Uni campus to play their men’s first team, missing two key defenders in captain Danny Foulkes and James Partington. The latter definitely big shoes to fill for Luke Davies stepping in to cover the left back role.

The opposition could only field a team of 10 players; however, this wasn’t evident in the opening spell as they pressed high onto the Whitchurch back line of Alex Fry, Chris Ruscoe and Luke Davies, with Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh being called into early action in the Whitchurch goal to prevent the hosts taking an early lead.  Whitchurch took the lead soon after as they exploited the space left at the Chester back from the high press. A quick move up field started by Tom Forster found Jon Chappell in the opposition dee, who drew the keeper off his line to slip the ball to his younger brother Rob Chappell, who slapped the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0 to the away team.

Whitchurch continued to soak up the pressure of the young Chester squad who had a series of short corners looking to find the equaliser, but the away team defence along with Sturge in goal kept them at bay.  At the other end Whitchurch won a short corner after some neat build up, resulting in a slick pass from stand in captain Dale “Stavros” Seymour finding Chris Ruscoe to slot the ball home under the Chester keeper making it 2-0 to the visitors.

Chester’s high press and quick ball movement eventually paid off just before half time when a shot on goal found a Whitchurch foot on the line and a penalty flick was awarded. Sturge managed to get a good hand onto the resulting flick but it somehow trickled in under his body to give the home side a sniff of getting back into the game, however, on the stroke of half time Jack Barnes’ pin point pass across field found Ben Kimberley at the top of the opposition D, who’s powerful shot found the bottom right corner to maintain Whitchurch’s two goal lead at half time.

Chester pressed once more at the start of the 2nd half but the extra man advantage of the away side started to take its toll on a now tiring home team. Gaps were left open and some quick ball movement through the Whitchurch midfield lead to the fourth goal being scored, as Nick Cooper rounded the Chester keeper and smashed the ball low and hard into the bottom left corner.

Great support play from Airan Jones, Sam Conway and Will Gilbert fresh from the bench meant Whitchurch always had fresh legs on the pitch and this began to take its toll on the home team. Reduced to nine players due to injury, Whitchurch took advantage and made it 5-1 when Jon Chappell pounced on a loose ball from a short corner routine and blasted it into the Chester goal.

The icing on the cake came in the last ten minutes as Captain Seymour’s neat pass set up young Will Gilbert running into the dee one on one with the Chester keeper he nonchalantly slipped the ball under him, ran around and thumped home the ball to pick up his first senior 1st team goal and Whitchurch’s 6th, mirroring the score line from the previous meeting earlier in the season, and maintaining Whitchurch’s push to be league champions with two matches left to go.

Next week Whitchurch welcome Chester 5th’s for their final home match of the 2019/2020 season, with only a single point required to confirm their position as league winners.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3 Bangor University Men’s 1s 4

The Men’s 2s welcomed runaway league-leaders Bangor University to a cold and blustery Whitchurch on Saturday. With the Welsh side boasting a 100% win-rate this season, it was no real surprise that Bangor started the game on the front foot. Their pace and power were difficult for the home team to get to grips with, and Whitchurch were unable to string their passes together and found it difficult to dispossess their opponents. Wyn Morris and Doug Buckeridge were doing their best to clear the danger, but Bangor won a series of early short corners that were well dealt with by Whitchurch.

As in previous games this season, Whitchurch progressively grew into the game. Joe Coburn, Luke Beddow and Richard Leigh were linking well in midfield, whilst Alex Leigh was providing a useful outlet on the right-hand flank. With Euan Morris’s willing running upfront, the home side started to cause some problems to the Bangor rear-guard.

Whitchurch opened the scoring with a neat passing move involving Coburn and Beddow, that sent Alex Leigh free on the right side of the dee and his cross shot was knocked in by Morris at the back post. Bangor responded but still couldn’t conjure up a clear chance, although keeper Neil Jones kicked clear on a couple of occasions. As Bangor committed players forward, Whitchurch struck on the counterattack and doubled their lead as Euan Morris fired in his second from a narrow angle.

Bangor were a little shell-shocked but dug in and increased the intensity, putting more pressure on the Whitchurch backline. Several short corners came and went for the away side but eventually the away side pulled a goal back, as Whitchurch appealed for a foot as the goal-scorer picked up the ball in the dee.

The league-leaders continued to apply pressure, but still looked vulnerable on the counterattack. The Whitchurch passing through midfield was good and with Ethan Gresty driving down the right and Owen Pearce on the left, crosses whizzed across the Bangor dee, but no Whitchurch players could get the finishing touch. The home side were also unlucky when a shot came back off the post but fell to a Bangor stick.

At the other end, keeper Neil Jones produced a couple of handy stops to keep out the away side and Will Snaith did really well to deflect a chipped shot away from the goal-line. Eventually however, Bangor managed to find an equalising goal, taking advantage of a bit of confusion in the Whitchurch defence as substitutions were being called.

With the scores level at half-time and having lost a two-goal lead, it was important that Whitchurch girded themselves and put the same commitment into the second half of the game. Bangor flew out of the blocks and the pace and power of their players continued to cause problems for the Reds defence. Again, Neil Jones made some good stops, Gareth Teggin made some useful blocks, Wyn Morris made some robust tackles and Will Snaith provided excellent cover on the left.

The home side continued to work the ball well through midfield. Richard Leigh and Dave Brunyard were diligent in their defensive duties and supplied the ball to Coburn and Beddow to create some magic. Gresty and Jacob Buckeridge were providing width on the flanks, and although the team threatened around the dee, they couldn’t quite fashion a clear chance to shoot at goal.

Bangor took the lead midway through the half. Once again Whitchurch were distracted by what they thought was a foot in the build-up and failed to deal with a pass into the dee which was cleverly deflected over the diving Jones. The away side sensed a chance to take control of the game, but Whitchurch fought back and a cleverly worked short corner routine saw Euan Morris fire in his third goal of the game to equalise.

The game was now in the balance. Bangor looked a bit surprised to be pegged back and Whitchurch sensed an opportunity to pull off an unexpected victory. Bangor continued to drive with pace and power through the middle of the pitch, whilst Whitchurch moved the ball in short neat passes up to the Bangor dee. But with the game heading towards its conclusion it was Bangor that snatched the next goal. Good play down their left saw a diagonal ball played into the dee and a mishit shot crept under Jones’ pads to give the away side a decisive lead. Whitchurch responded well and drove forward in search of another equaliser, but despite having a short corner on the final whistle, they couldn’t quite grab the draw that they deserved.

Although they lost the game, Whitchurch should take a huge amount of pride and satisfaction from this game. Bangor have been the stand-out team in the division this season. There is a reason they have a 100%-win record and have despatched most teams with ease, including the 2s in the reverse fixture. They are a very good side. Once again Whitchurch showed they can compete with the best teams in the division, but unlike the previous occasions where a late capitulation has resulted in horrible defeats, this time they were in with a chance of getting a result with the very last play of the game.

Joe Coburn was superb in midfield and dictated most of Whitchurch’s good attacking play, Euan Morris was ruthless in front of goal and put in a great shift up front, and again Alex Leigh was excellent on the wing and at fullback. But all the players, young and old, should be proud of their efforts in the match. Similar application in their final two games of the season could see them finish the season in style.

The 2s next game is a re-arranged fixture at home to Winnington Park 4s, at 11am, on Sunday 8th March, at SJT.