Sale ladies 3s 0 Whitchurch ladies 1s 13
“Stormin’ start” to second half of season
Whitchurch Ladies 1s travelled to Sale on Saturday to gain a landslide victory. From the outset the Whitchurch team dominated the play, frustrating the opposition and gaining an early lead, to settle the post-Christmas holiday nerves.
Sale had 11 players outfield, opting not to have a goalkeeper, their strategy being to put players high into Whitchurch’s half, looking for opportunities to break through the Whitchurch defence. The Shropshire team were too strong though; with consistent attacks from mid-fielders Lisa Sullivan, Catherine Gresty and Helen Machin, reaching the forward attack of Ellie Windsor, Sue Read, Phoebe Jones and Laura Workman. Another two goals took Whitchurch to a half time score of 3-0.
The second half saw Sale coming back with a strong attack, gaining a short corner soon after, but Whitchurch were determined to block any goals and the defence of goalie Gwyneth Rees-Thomas, supported by Katie Fowles, Catherine Reece-Gresty, Emily Hilton and Jayne ‘Crow’ Williamson ensured that the ball was soon back in the Sale half.
Whitchurch continued with consistent and relentless attacks on the Sale circle, accurate passing, teamwork and skilful moves around the Sale defence began to frustrate the Sale team, resulting in a haul of another 10 goals for Whitchurch. Including a hat—trick for Laura Workman and a first goal ever for defender Emily Hilton. Full time score 13-0. Player of the match was Jayne Williamson. Scorers: Read 4; Workman 3; Sullivan 2; Windsor 1; Fowles 1; Gresty 1; Hilton 1
Whitchurch Mens 2s 2 Runcorn Mens 3s 0
After a 5 week break over Christmas, Whitchurch 2s returned to action with a home fixture against third-placed Runcorn 3s. The 2s beat Runcorn earlier on in the season in one of the few games they were able to field a full squad of players. Once again Whitchurch were able to field a full squad for what turned out to be a close, competitive fixture.
The opening exchanges were fairly even, but Whitchurch took the lead after 10 minutes through a fine finish by Jack Barnes from a short corner.
For most of the first half Whitchurch were able to control their opponents. The three-man defence of Iain Bones, Ryan Murtagh and the fierce tackling Mark Sugden restricted the Runcorn side to just one effort on goal in the first half. The front two of Jack Barnes and Ben Fry caused the Runcorn defence all sorts of problems and created a number of chances that were well saved by the Runcorn keeper.
Unfortunately despite their superiority Whitchurch were unable to increase their lead before half-time.
Runcorn came out in the second half with more purpose and aggression, forcing Whitchurch back towards their own D. However with the defence standing firm and some tireless work tracking back from the midfield of Craig Hockenhull, Phil Tranter, Richard Leigh, Jake Wood, Aaron Swain, Aaron Shackleton and Doug Buckeridge, Runcorn struggled to create many clear shots at goal.
On the odd occasion that Runcorn did get their shots away, Neil Jones was up to the task with some excellent stops and clearances. With his Christmas present fixed to the frame of the goal, the video evidence will soon be on YouTube …
Despite conceding territory, Whitchurch were always a threat on the counter attack. Early in the second half a good clearance from Ryan Murtagh was worked to Jack Barnes on half-way. Jack ran the full length of the pitch before squaring brilliantly for Ben Fry to score at the back post.
Whitchurch created good chances throughout the second half. Ben Fry had shots well stopped by the Runcorn keeper, Aaron Swain shot narrowly wide after a good move and Jake Wood was millimetres away from diverting in another opportunity.
Whitchurch’s good work was almost undone in the final few minutes of the game. As Whitchurch tired, Runcorn were able to force a short corner, which was well worked to enable them to fire past Neil Jones from close range to reduce the deficit to a single goal.
Runcorn pushed forward again and forced a succession of short corners in the final moments. Brilliant defending and goalkeeping repelled all of Runcorn’s late efforts and Whitchurch hung on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory.
This was another excellent team performance from Whitchurch against a good, competitive Runcorn team. Despite the rustiness in some of their play following the long break from competitive hockey, Whitchurch defended solidly and were always a threat going forward. It was also good to welcome team captain Phil Tranter back to competitive hockey after a long lay-off from injury.
The win moves Whitchurch 2s back up to 6th place in the league.
The 2s are away to Whitchurch 1s next weekend.
Whitchurch ladies 2s 1 Crewe ladies 3s 4
Whitchurch played their first match after the Christmas break taking on local rivals Crewe Vagrants. Whitchurch started took the game to Crewe from the start and for the 15 minutes restricted Crewe whilst being awarded a number of penalty corners, which they failed to convert. As Crewe began to settle the forwards began to trouble the Whitchurch defence with their pace.
Whitchurch rode their luck pressing high and Shola Bailey in goal pulled off three good saves to keep the game even between the two sides. Crewe with the first penalty corner off the game took the lead as Whitchurch lost their concentration and they had a straight forward shot into the back of the goal.
Despite both sides having opportunities the score remained in favour of the visitors at the break.
Crewe took the lead at the start off the second half when the ball came to their forward at the top of the dee and the shot left the keeper no chance as it glanced off the post and into the goal. Whitchurch maintained their pressure on Crewe and their work rate was rewarded when Jess Kimberley picked out Hayleigh Busby in the dee who calmly rolled the ball into the path off Charlotte Lawder to score her first goal for the club.
Whitchurch lost their concentration after the goal and were again punished as Crewe took the lead with a well-worked goal. Whitchurch continued to push for the equaliser but after the extended break for Christmas fitness began to tell in the later part of the game and as they pushed forward for further goals Crewe punished them with one further goal on the break.
The 2s were pleased with the way they played having given a solid and hard working performance and the team is improving week by week, they forced the best out of Crewe to earn the victory and will take this into their game next week away to Macclesfield 4s.