Match Reports – 4th & 5th Feburary 2023

Neither men’s team had games on Saturday due to teams withdrawing from their respective leagues.

Sunday games were re-arranged fixtures when games where called off due to frozen and snow covered pitches in January.

Saturday games

Whitchurch ladies 1s 7 Alderley Edge ladies 4s 1

Whitchurch ladies 1s sat back and let the very young Alderley Edge team take control of the early stages of the game letting them move around the ball well but without really troubling the Whitchurch defence of Chloe Lloyd and Gayle Ladd.

Whitchurch started to settle and assert themselves and some solid play from Whitchurch picked out Valerie Fabery De Jonge to score.

Alderley Edge fought back and equalised from a quick run up the middle. Whitchurch continued to stretch Edge with wide play from Holly Edwards and Mollie Bell resulting in another reverse shot goal from Fabery De Jonge before half time.

A strong waking up from the coach’s team talk and Whitchurch took much more control and a well-rehearsed penalty corner saw Molly Fry passing to Captain Cath Gresty to slot home. Soon after Georgia Munro cut through the Edge defence and round the keeper to score a fourth.

Whitchurch were working well together now but Alderley Edge kept up the pressure and closed them down quickly, this made Whitchurch speed up their play and Lisa Sullivan picked out Gresty to score another. Alderley edge continued to create chances but Caz Wynne made some great saves when called upon to stifle the Edge attacks.

Whitchurch continued to apply pressure looking to capitalise on any opportunity and Fabery De Jonge scored another reverse shot to give her a hattrick.  With time nearly up Munro ran up the pitch and picked out Gresty on the post to make her a hattrick and a 7-1 win for Whitchurch.

Sandbach ladies 1s 4 Whitchurch ladies 2s 3

Whitchurch ladies 2 team were expecting a tough match facing top of the league, unbeaten Sandbach.
With a strong start from both sides Sandbach found themselves with a goal giving them the front foot. This inspired Whitchurch to work even harder and after receiving a short corner, took full advantage of the situation using Hayley Killnett to slip a pass back to injector Sophie Jones who slapped the ball through the keeper’s legs securing Whitchurch’s well fought goal. Poppy Huxley then found a pass to Bella Morris who was able to make a quick drive down the line, finding another pass to Poppy Gilbert who was able to fire a cross across the dee allowing Heidi Groom to score an Ariel goal.
As a Sandbach player entered the Dee with the ball goalkeeper Megan Nicholson attempted the save but unfortunately miss timed and tripped the player over leading to a yellow card. Without a goalkeeper for 5 minutes Lydia Jones volunteered to go in goal and saved the resulting penalty flick. However, due to the lack of goalkeeper Sandbach were able to level the scores.

With the score as 2-2, the half time talk consisted of compliments given to the team for their hard work during the first half and to keep it up in the second half. And that is what Whitchurch continued to do. With captain Emma Stubbs standing her ground in defence and skilful possession from Heidi Carr, Whitchurch stayed optimistic. Jasmine Williams found wide passes allowing multiple runs into the dee leading to attempts on goal. Another short corner gave Whitchurch the advantage using Hayley Kellett to strike a goal changing the score to 3-3. With 10 minutes to go despite Whitchurch’s strong defending from Hermione Ball, super saves from Megan Nicholson and clinical interceptions from the whole team, Sandbach were able to secure themselves a win with a final goal. Hayley Kellett was awarded a much deserved player of the match.

Sunday games

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 – Manchester Men’s 1s 2

Whitchurch played a Sunday catch-up game against Manchester 1s this week in what was a hotly anticipated match on both sides. Whitchurch were unable to field a team for the away game earlier in the season, so this was the first time the two sides had met since a tough and heated game last season when the Reds could and should have won, but unfortunately came away losing by a goal in the last minute.

This, then, was to be a rematch with added interest – and the Reds had the advantage of playing at home with a full complement of strong players, and not having had to play the day before as their opposition had pulled out of the league. The game started well enough, and Whitchurch scored first with captain Jack Barnes drawing first blood with a fine shot from a short corner. However, second blood was to come from Barnes’ own face – after some strong work by Manchester to get a goal back, taking advantage of some indecision at a short corner by the Reds’ defence, they won a second short corner and the follow-through from the strike accidentally caught Barnes in the face, and that was his game over as he went to get medical treatment.

Going in at 2-1 at half-time didn’t really tell the story of the half, as Whitchurch were lucky not to have had Manchester score several more. Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal was solid as ever, and blocked a number of shots and was unlucky with a deflection on the second goal, and the Reds’ defence dug in and made some last minute tackles. However, the wider story was one of poor discipline and pass-selection, not keeping hold of the ball well (which immediately put the Reds on the back foot as Manchester surged forward on the break while the Reds were still in the opposition’s half) and then being less than supportive of team mates who’d perhaps not done their finest work. It was dragging the standards down, and Manchester are too good a team to play against and have that happen.

The half-time team talk included Sturge finding the words to say to remind Whitchurch that that isn’t the team they are, and it is not the game they play. Alex Fry and Danny Foulkes helped focus the team and point the way forward and, as has happened a few times before for the Reds, it was the key to unlock the real team in the second half. It’s hard to imagine that the two halves were from the same team in the same game. Suddenly, Whitchurch found lots of time on the ball, and switched it from left to right to left again, possibly going all the way back to go forward. They had time on the ball; they stopped giving it away cheaply; they stopped trying to run through players; their passes found their targets and there were some passages of play that would stand out on a highlights reel for the season. As the Reds’ confidence grew, Manchester found themselves struggling to have the time on the ball they were used to in the first half, and they were getting more desperate in their challenges and appeals. Some cards were shown, which were deserved but raised some tensions even more.

Whitchurch, though, found balance and calm and continued to move the ball well, and won a short-corner which Martin Beecher put away with a smashed first-strike low and hard to the left. As the game built to a conclusion, another short-corner was initially blocked by the keeper and the ball went out wide but was fired back across the goal and Beecher got his second and the Reds’ third with smart strike. Whitchurch held on until the final whistle to take the game 3-2, at which point frustrations boiled over and some calming was required. It was a shame for the game to end on a slightly sour note, but overall Manchester had been excellent like last year, showing great individual skill and ball-carrying control and completely over-ran Whitchurch in the first half, but it was the manner of the recovery and the effort put in in the second half to recover and take the game that was the real takeaway for the Reds. Much to consider from both halves, but the guts and determination shown to take the win against such strong opposition is something the team can be deservedly proud of.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 4 Cheshire Blues ladies 1

After a tiring Saturday game, both teams put in all their effort to play this match. Whitchurch had first pushback where centre forward Hayley Kellet passed to Lisa Sullivan who drove down the pitch towards the oppositions dee. However, Cheshire blues defence was strong and cleared the ball up the pitch. They gained a short corner where their goal was fortunately disallowed.

Chloe Lloyd and Hermione Ball fought hard in defence and passed the ball up the line to Poppy Huxley on the wing where Lisa Sullivan and Molly Fry continued to get into the dee and gained a short corner but couldn’t convert. However, Whitchurch continued to hassle in the opponents dee and gained multiple shorts from which they unfortunately didn’t score from. Tilly James passed to Cath Gresty who drove the base line into the dee and attempted to score but got deflected by the goalie.

Whitchurch went to the half time break level but having dominated large parts of the game and created many chances carried on as they finished the first half.

Whitchurch took the lead as Molly Fry worked her way through the defence and did an amazing hit from top of the dee into the corner of the Cheshire goal.

Cheshire Blues were soon level as the ball deflected around the midfield and fell the their centre forward who beat the Whitchurch keeper with a diving shot.

Undeterred Whitchurch came back stronger as Mollie Bell made many runs up the pitch into the opponents dee. Sarah Kay ran tirelessly upfront and but for some excellent keeping and defending would have converted.

Chloe Lloyd took a 16 and passed to Tilly James who drove up the line and transferred it to Lisa Sullivan, She passed the ball into the dee to Poppy Huxley who was unmarked on the back post.

Blues then had the opportunity to draw level and goalie Phoebe Gregory made an amazing save tipping the ball around the post from a penalty corner strike. Here

Despite Whitchurch’s attempt to pass into the dee, Blues kept hitting the ball up the pitch and clearing the Whitchurch advances.

Even though Blues hits were strong, Whitchurch made many interceptions and from one of these Mollie Bell intercepted the opponents pass and drove down the pitch slipping it to Poppy Huxley in the dee who deflected into the goal

Whitchurch didn’t stop fighting and from a short corner Cath Gresty hit the ball at top dee which saw Lisa Sullivan get the deftest of touches deflected in Whitchurch’s final goal.