Whitchurch Men’s 1s 5 – Oxton Men’s 4s 0
Whitchurch’s second home game of the season was a chance for them to consolidate their early successes and start to make their positive, selfless play the bedrock for the rest of the year. They came up against an Oxton side who had a number of younger players which gave the Reds a chance to let their greater experience show. Too many Oxton attacks tried to go through players instead of around, and Rob Chappell and Dale Seymour were able to block attack after attack before they got anywhere near to the Reds’ goal.
Given the confidence on the ball, Whitchurch were able to put together some lovely passages of play, starting with width across the defence from Danny Foulkes at sixteens to move the ball out wide to Pip Jones and James Partington, or back across for an attack up the other side of the pitch, as well as coming back with the ball time and again instead of always driving forward. This gave the team a solid platform to work from, with options on both sides from Joel Leese and Marcus Conway who could then drive the ball up, but they had options in all directions.
Seymour and Chappell in the midfield, with Tom Forster just behind, were able to control the centre of the field and lay the ball off to each other, as well as going through the young Oxton players if needed. Up front Nick Cooper and Jack Barnes, playing higher up the pitch this week, attacked the Oxton dee with good stick skills and sharp passing to keep the pressure on.
The first goal came from a short corner routine; the first few short corners hadn’t quite got the rewards they deserved, so a switch in plan had the pass out returned as a sharp satellite beam pass through players to injector Foulkes who was able to crack it past the keeper at the near post.
A second followed soon after, with more selfless play in front of goal: Cooper’s run into the dee drew the keeper, but rather than take the shot, he slipped it to Barnes who went for goal and, despite a tackle on the goal line, forced it in. A third was a goalmouth scramble, with Cooper tapping in just in front of Airan Jones who would otherwise have taken the prize for the shortest time ever between coming on as a substitute and scoring!
The second half came with a scare for Whitchurch as an Oxton attack into the dee was awarded a penalty stroke. Thankfully the right post dealt with it, although keeper Paul “Sturge” Leigh was on hand. Sturge also made a number of significant blocks as the Oxton attack started to make more of their high player who spent most of his time now in the Reds’ dee. At the other end though Whitchurch were putting together some lovely hockey. Attacks started from the sixteens were moving from player to player as they let the ball do the work – but only because players were running for their teammates, making sure they were in the right places to make it easy for the passes to get through.
Cooper picked up his second goal as Barnes put in a strong drive into the Oxton dee followed by more unselfish play in front of goal to lay it off for Cooper to slap it into the open goal. Several more goals could have come, but the Oxton keeper was their best player and made a number of significant saves. One final goal was scored though, this time by Leese whose strike was initially blocked but came straight back out to him, and there was no chance the second shot would miss.
It was another solid performance by a developing team, which leaves them top of the league for another week. Player of the match was Joel Leese for his consistently solid performance. Whitchurch are away next week to Alderley Edge 5s.
Whitchurch Ladies 1s 2 Timperley Ladies 3s 3
Whitchurch ladies 1s entertained an unbeaten Timperley 3s this Saturday. For the first five minutes Whitchurch ladies took control, but Timperley had a strong defence, powering the ball back giving Emma Harper and Catherine Reece-Gresty a hard time in defence. Tiring quickly as the game was fast and back and forth Timperley scored two goals in the first half.
Midfielders Lisa Sullivan, captain Catherine Winter-Gresty and Anna Latham worked together giving Whitchurch a few shots on goal but couldn’t they could not find the gap. Millie Edwards and Sophie Ward made some strong runs up the lines but Timperley were holding tight.
Whitchurch had a firm team talk and came out fighting. Whitchurch raised their work rate and started to ask questions of Timperley. Kessie Hutching’s and Izzy Huxley passed well up the wing and Whitchurch started having more shots on goal with Sarah Field and Stephanie Stanton finding more space in the dee.
A goal came when Lisa Sullivan set free captain Catherine Winter-Gresty who used her speed to run the ball up the pitch and fire into the dee where Anna Latham touched in on the back post.
Heads went up for the Whitchurch ladies and the play improved, with time ticking Whitchurch had to score again and shortly after Anna Latham got her second from an Ellie Windsor cross.
Timperley quickly pulled themselves back in the game with a great shot from a short corner.
Despite numerous chances Whitchurch unfortunately could not get the much deserved equaliser. Whitchurch played the last 5 mins with everything they had to try and get a draw but time ran out.
Players player was awarded to Lisa Sullivan.
Sale Ladies 3s 1 Whitchurch Ladies 2s 7
Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled away to a late game against Sale ladies 3s.
Whitchurch started out the stronger of the two teams as they pressured the Sale defence. After some amazing runs from Grace Berry, Jessica Carruthers and Amelie Morris Whitchurch passed the ball around the Sale defence for Morris to slot the ball home. After fighting hard Sale earnt a short corner but from all the strong defending Sale slotted the ball past the advancing Whitchurch keeper Meghan Nicholson.
The reds regrouped and went on fighting with some interlinking play between Edina Jones, Berry and Molly Fry. Berry then completed her hattrick with two goals in quick succession.
Whitchurch were then awarded with a flick which Jess Kimberley slotted past the Sale keeper. Before the halftime whistle a quick interchange of passing between Holly Gilbert, Molly Fry and Jessica Carruthers resulted in Phoebe Jones tapping in a fifth goal.
Whitchurch continued after the break with some strong runs and defending from Chloe Lloyd and Martha Teggin driving forward the Whitchurch attacks circle. As Whitchurch started to create space the ball came across to Louise Whitley who scored her first goal for the club
As Sale started to push themselves back into the game Captain Emma Clarke calmed the team and controlled play stepping into action to break down and clear the Sale attacks. The tireless efforts of Caitlin Edwards and Nicola Forster continued to frustrate the Sale side and setup Whitchurch with more goal scoring opportunities and when the ball fell to Berry in the dee she and slapped the ball into the net bringing the final score to 7-1.
Whitchurch ladies 2s will be entertaining Oxton Ladies 4s at home.
Oxton Men’s 5s 5 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 0
Whitchurch Men’s 2s’ good start to the season came to an abrupt halt when they came up against an excellent Oxton 5s side. The Wirral-based team were in with a promotion shout last season before a significant points deduction scuppered their chances, but they handed Whitchurch heavy defeats in both games something the Reds were keen to avoid this time out.
Oxton immediately took control of the game on Saturday and Whitchurch found themselves pinned in their own half for much of the first period. Oxton were moving the ball around quickly and confidently, and their powerful running through the middle of the pitch was too much for the young Whitchurch players to deal with.
Brendan Coburn and Wyn Morris were being forced to defend in their own dee and clearances were coming straight back at them as Whitchurch were unable to string their passing combinations together. Some rest bite was coming from Alex Leigh running the ball out of defence, but the 2s were finding it difficult to get the ball out of their own half and the front players were unable to get into the game.
With the Reds defending within their own dee it was inevitable that Oxton were going to win short corners. The Wirral side demonstrated in both games last season how ruthless they could be from shorts and early on the warning signs were there. Whitchurch defended the set-pieces well, with good defensive clearances and some excellent stops from keeper Neil Jones, and twice the home side had goals ruled out from short corners for the strike being too high. Eventually however the home side got it right, firing in from the edge of the dee.
Whitchurch could feel a little fortunate to get to half-time only one goal behind and the team talk at the break stressed the need to calm down and pass the ball with more care. The team took this on board and started the second half well. Richard Leigh, Doug Buckeridge and Joe Coburn were winning the ball higher up the pitch and the short passes were finding teammates, enabling the side to make progress towards the Oxton dee.
Ethan Gresty and Jacob Buckeridge were linking up well from the wings and Euan Morris started to see the ball in attacking positions. Doug Buckeridge had a good chance to equalise from a Euan Morris cut-back, but his shot was just too close to the Oxton keeper.
Oxton’s excellent second goal came completely against the run of play. One of the home side’s young players picked up the ball near the halfway line and drove straight down the pitch, into the dee, finishing on the back stick past keeper Jones. This knocked Whitchurch out of their stride and boosted the Wirral side. Oxton quickly raced into a 4-0 lead, with Whitchurch again struggling to hold onto possession and being unable to get out of their own half. It was manful defending by Gareth Teggin and Will Snaith supporting Wyn Morris and Brendan Coburn and some good stops from keeper Jones that kept the score respectable.
After their 10-minute wobble, Whitchurch finished the game strongly. Oxton were always a threat and did add a fifth goal from a short corner just before the end of the game, but Whitchurch threatened to get on the score sheet themselves. Joe Coburn, Luke Beddow and Dave Brunyard were driving forward through the centre of the pitch and linking well with Joe Faithfull and Will Gilbert on the wings. But the 2s were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances, although the Oxton keeper had to kick away several speculative efforts.
Oxton were well worth their 5-0 win. They have an excellent side, with several talented young players, ably supported by some experienced and equally talented adults. Their hitting power was always a threat at short corners, and they now sit top of the table with three wins from three games, with eighteen goals scored and none conceded.
For the Whitchurch 2s this was a learning experience. The team did well to recover from a chastening first half to dominate the early stages of the second period and almost fashion an equaliser, and then to recover from a wobble in the middle of the second half to come strong again at the end. Alex Leigh had another good game in defence and Ethan Gresty had an excellent second half, providing an important link between midfield and Euan Morris up front.
With a few things to work on in training, the Men’s 2s will entertain Clwb Hoci Eirias 3s at 1:30pm on Saturday 12th October at SJT.