Wilmslow ladies 4s 9 Whitchurch ladies 3s 1
The game started with a push back from Wilmslow, who gained some ground early on but were bested by Whitchurch whose centre forward, Jessica Carruthers, managed to slip an early goal past the Wilmslow goalie. However Whitchurch were brought back down to earth and despite managing to defend some hard shots from the Wilmslow forwards. First time goalie Evie Whatmough valiantly saved multiple shots however Whitchurch were 3-1 down at half time.
With high spirits Whitchurch started the second half, with many quick runs to the opposing goal by winger’s Ellie McEvoy and Caitlin Shaw. Unfortunately, excellent play from Wilmslow earned them a 5-1 lead and without a practiced goalkeeper and the absence of their regular captain Whitchurch went home with a heavy 9-1 loss. Player of the match was Jessica Caurruthers.
Deeside Ramblers Men’s 7s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 1
The Men’s 2s travelled to Tarporley on Saturday for a high-noon showdown with Deeside Ramblers 7s.
Fielding a side with more experience than many games this season, the 2s took control of the ball from the first push back. But it was Deeside that somehow managed to score the first goal, almost immediately. With no apparent danger a long straight ball was played into the Whitchurch dee and the Deeside forward, under pressure, seemed to mis-control the pass but inadvertently divert the ball into the goal.
Whitchurch quickly overcame their bewilderment and took control of the game. Whilst Deeside struggled to get close to the Reds goal, Whitchurch manoeuvred the ball well in midfield, with Tom Forster and Ryan Murtagh driving through the middle of the pitch and created a number of chances to equalise.
Doug Buckeridge playing in an unfamiliar right wing role, did well to manoeuvre the ball past the on-rushing keeper, but wasn’t able to apply a finishing touch ahead of the retreating defender. Wyn Morris was unable to apply a back-post touch to a bouncing shot from Buckeridge. Craig Hockenhull was unlucky to have the ball bobble off a defender’s stick just as he was about to sweep home a right wing cross, and Tom Forster did well in the dee but saw his shot hit the outside of the post.
With Iain Bones, Matt Brookes, Danny Foulkes and Mark Sugden repelling all of the Deeside attacks, it seemed inevitable that Whitchurch would score the next goal. However an error of judgement gave away a soft short corner. This was well defended by Whitchurch, but due to encroachment by a Whitchurch player at the halfway line, the umpire decided the short should be retaken. This time Deeside got a lucky break as a ricochet favoured their striker who flicked the ball over keeper Neil Jones, and Iain Bones was unlucky that his high block dropped and span backwards over the line, before being hacked clear.
Although 2-0 down at halftime, the 2s had played well and looked to continue their form into the second half. From the pushback Whitchurch attacked the Deeside goal at every opportunity. Despite illness, Euan Morris worked hard down the left wing, until replaced by dad Wyn, ably supported by Airan Jones from left back. Craig Hockenhull went close when a flick took a touch from the keeper and the ball spun agonisingly wide of the post. The 2s won a number of short corners which were well defended by Deeside, until eventually one was squared to Iain Bones who rifled the ball through the keeper and defenders to pull a goal back.
Whitchurch continued to push for an equaliser but as the second half wore on, legs began to tire and Deeside became more of a threat on the counter attack as the Whitchurch players struggled to find accurate forward passes.
Neil Jones produced a couple of excellent saves, but as the match drew to a close, he was powerless to stop a fine, high strike from a right wing cross.
The 3-1 defeat was harsh on Whitchurch. They played well and dominated the game for large periods of the match. Deeside got lucky breaks for both of their first half goals, whilst Whitchurch didn’t have any of that fortune in the opposition’s dee.
Whitchurch Men’s 1s 7 Bangor University Men’s 2s 1
The first game in the double-header weekend was against Bangor University, who had beaten the Reds 5-0 in the away fixture, so Whitchurch were keen to impose themselves on the match from the start. Able to field a strong team with several senior players available, Whitchurch had the early possession and were able to control the game for large periods of time.
Jon Chappell had another fantastic game, scoring four goals in a busy first half, with two strikes from the edge of the dee, a tap in from a scramble after a short corner, and a top corner bullet from a short corner routine. He was supported up front by Tom Leonard who also scored from a few feet away after another short corner routine moved the ball past the Bangor players quickly.
Bangor were able to get a goal back, thanks to a quick counter attack, but the defence of Steve Kay, Alex Fry and James Partington were able to keep the attacks out for the rest of the half, and the midfield of Rob Chappell, Jack Barnes, Ben Fry and Dale Seymour were able to move the ball around with ease setting up multiple attacks. Seymour was able to get on the score sheet too with a smart run through the middle and a cracking shot from the top of the dee.
Ben Kimberley caused trouble down the wing again, and Jake Wood had another impressive game on the left, and Martin Beecher was able to continue his scoring record with an impressive one-handed reverse-stick swat to send a rebound back past the diving keeper to go into the half-time break 7-1 up.
However, this was to be the proverbial game-of-two-halves as the second half involved no scoring at all, but rather a much-improved Bangor performance cancelling out the Whitchurch effort well. They moved a striker up to sit at the edge of the Whitchurch dee, changing the structure of their attack, opening up the centre of the pitch and ensuring that the long ball had some outlet.
Whitchurch had to defend well and use that new space themselves, but the damp pitch and renewed strength of the attacks meant a much slower, more even half with Paul “Sturge” Leigh in the Reds goal called upon only a couple of times – but times that he was impressive in stopping anything going near the net. It was to be a muted second half and frustrating at time for Whitchurch, but critically no goals were conceded and the game ended 7-1, moving the Reds up to fourth in the league.
Re-arranged game Sunday 28th
Whitchurch Mens 1s 2 – Keele University Mens 2s 4
The second game of the weekend was hit by availability issues, which Whitchurch unable to field as strong a team as the day before, and it was to prove critical in a rearranged game against Keele played in Stoke. Keele were able to field a strong team with substitutes, and their fitness and skill paid off with a first half where Whitchurch couldn’t match their pace and conceded at regular intervals.
Their goals were all well worked, bar the second which was fortuitous as James Partington slipped whilst running out for a short corner and blocked Sturge’s view in goal and the ball flew past the two of them, and Whitchurch struggled to respond. When they did have the ball, they were able to make good progress and were unlucky not to go 1-0 up within five minutes with good work from Ben Fry, but a succession of poor passes or trying to get past one player too many meant that attacks were blocked and a lot of time was spent running back.
The half ended with Keele 3-0 up and looking strong, but the half-time talk from captain Alex Fry reminded the players to focus on their strengths, pick their passes better, communicate louder and fight to “win” the second half 2-1 to show what they could do.
It was to be a prescient rallying call, as the second half was a much better performance by Whitchurch. Constantly under pressure they were able to mark Keele effectively, forcing them to pass backwards on several free hits, and the runs that Keele did do were stopped in time – Sturge in goal had a very strong half and between his dives, his pads, and his right goal post, he kept everything out bar one shot from an overload run.
Danny Foulkes was instrumental in blocking runs down our right wing, and covering as the Keele attack swapped to their right, and Ryan Murtagh marked their centre forward out of the game for large periods. Airan Jones, stepping up from the 2nds, put in a solid shift at left back, working well with Josh Parry – also stepping up – who had an impressive game on the left wing. Partington made up for falling over with some critical blocks on short corners, and the momentum shifted. Alex Fry, Ben Fry and Jack Barnes controlled the centre with far more time on the ball, and Ben Kimberley was tearing their defence apart with high-speed runs.
With the pressure starting to tell, Barnes was able to drill a shot past the Keele keeper after a rebound, and Whitchurch’s recent successes with short corners continued with Tom Leonard scoring a screamer into the top-right corner to give the Reds two goals which reflected well the amount of effort they put in the second half. The final whistle went with the game at 4-2 to Keele moving them up to fourth, but Whitchurch can be proud of the resolve and effort shown in that second half, and can take that on to their match against Liverpool Sefton 3s away next week.
Rearranged game Sunday 28th
Lymm ladies 5s 3 Whitchurch ladies 2s 1
It was a tough match for Whitchurch who were finally playing against Lymm on their 4th attempt to rearrange the game.
Whitchurch started off strong, with great passes from Beth Sykes, Natasha Foster and Edina Jones in the midfield interchanging with Tracy Tolhurst and Hayleigh Busby wide on the wings. Eventually their possession paid off as Phoebe Jones received the ball in the dee and spun around slotting the ball past the keeper into the goal.
Whitchurch weren’t in the lead for long, as Lymm quickly ran at the defence and only some great interceptions by Martha Teggin broke up the Lymm attacks. Despite some excellent saves by Sarah Latham Lymm took 2-1 lead into half time.
Chloe Lloyd debuted in the centre half position playing with strength and speed picking out teammates with a range of passing. Izzy Huxley ran up and down the pitch helping keep Whitchurch in the game. Captain Emma Clarke and Jess Kimberley controlled the defence and helped Whitchurch continue to try and drive their way back into the game. The final score was 3-1 to Lymm and player of the match went to Tracy Tolhurst.
Lymm Ladies 3s 6 Whitchurch ladies 1s 1
Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Lymm 3s with a number of regulars missing and no subs. From the off Lymm were the controlling side, making the most of their quick, accurate passes and entering Whitchurch’s dee easily.
Lymm scored first from a well-executed short. Whitchurch started to put the pressure on Lymm and managed a great pass in from Hebe Dixon to Sue Read who deflected into the net. Lymm responded with attacking pressure and were rewarded with a short corner from which they scored just before half time.
After the break Whitchurch tried to push up with many fantastic manoeuvres from Millie Edwards and Helen Machin, but Lymm were too strong in defence. Whitchurch tired and Lymm played around the midfield players and received plenty of short corners, which they scored three more goals.
Sprits were low and even though Whitchurch dropped to defend Lymm managed to score their final goal to make Whitchurch walk away with a 6-1 loss.