With the home games postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Winnington Park Men’s 3s 1 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 6
Whitchurch travelled away this week to play the team they played in the first match of the season, hoping to get another good win under their belt and stay top of the table for a ninth week. They started with both Rob and Jon Chappell on the pitch providing experience in the middle and up front, and the two combined well for the Reds’ first goal as Rob drove the ball down the right and along the by-line towards the goal before unselfishly passing it to Jon to put it away.
Winnington responded well, and put the pressure on Whitchurch throughout the game with runs down both sides of the pitch that were lacking only the last bit of pace or a final touch to be turned into a goal. Paul “Sturge” Leigh was again a rock in the Reds’ net, making his signature diving saves and giving the defence the confidence they needed when moving the ball around at the back. Danny Foulkes again built play well, supported by Chris Ruscoe and James Partington, with Ruscoe making a number of incisive runs down the right causing all sorts of trouble at the back for Winnington.
Rob Chappell controlled the centre of the pitch, with Tom Forster just behind, and they moved the ball well wide in both directions – but knew when a straight run could cause trouble – and the pressure told as Nick Cooper received a sharp pass, ran into the dee on the left and unleashed a bullet that hit the keeper’s pads, but with enough force to keep going and make its way into the back of the goal.
At the other end of the pitch, Winnington started winning the 50:50 calls, and were awarded a number of short corners, and they finally put one away despite Sturge’s best efforts on the line. Again, rather than letting their heads drop, Whitchurch focused their efforts and went up the other end of the pitch looking for another, and Rob Chappell dribbled the ball around the dee before getting a reverse flick into the net.
Being 3-1 up at half time meant the game was still in the balance, but substitutes were starting to make a difference with fresh legs playing their part. Alex Fry lent experience in the centre of the pitch and gave options for distribution; Ben Kimberley gave another strong performance making a number of runs into the dee and being very unlucky on a couple of occasions not to score, with shots going just across the face of the goal or being saved well. Luke Davies, on his return after a few years away, gave 100% with great runs, tackles and commitment. Fred Egerton ran well and provided options in attack, as well as covering when Winnington were coming forward. Jack Barnes was powerful but controlled on both sides of the pitch, with some excellent tackles, runs and passes. The team were building up more good phases, but over a sustained period unlike last week’s five-minute-show.
The quality started to show with Kimberley finally getting his reward as a shot across goal was unfortunately put into the net by a defender running into it. Then Cooper was the receiver at a short corner, and the rest of the Whitchurch team drew their players to the sides leaving him a big empty net to aim at, and his flick was never going to miss. He was on hand again as Jon Chappell’s high flick at goal was just going to be saved by the keeper’s outstretched hand before Cooper stuck a stick up and knocked it past the frustrated goalie.
At the other end, Sturge was making his saves count, including an impressive leaping block with his right hand to knock the ball away even as the Winnington attacker was starting to celebrate! It rounded off another good performance where Whitchurch made their talent count, but without ever getting complacent. Ruscoe was awarded the player of the match for his endless running and impact on all parts of the pitch, but it was a good team effort with everyone putting in a shift. Whitchurch are at home next week against Bowden Men’s 5, looking to continue their winning run.
Timperley ladies 3s 5 Whitchurch ladies 1s 2
Whitchurch ladies 1s travelling away to Timperley this week. Whitchurch attacked from the off and took Timperley off guard in the first few minutes as Millie Edwards shot from the top of the dee to hit the back board.
Timperley attacked aggressively after this and equalised minutes later. The game was fast and tiring as the play was end to end. Whitchurch ladies played well passing the ball wide to Sophie Ward and Kezzie Hutching. Timperley were taking the ball fast from side line and free hits and scored three more before half time.
After a break Whitchurch came back out hard attacking at every opportunity with strikes on goal from Hebe Dixon, Catherine Winter-Gresty and Sarah Field, but the Timperley keeper had every angle covered. A run of short corners allowed Whitchurch to score their second goal as Sarah Field picked out Ellie Windsor on the post.
More well practiced sequences we broken down quickly by the Timperley defence and kept Whitchurch from scoring. Keeper Maddy Sugden made some amazing slide saves clearing to the defence Emma Harper and Chloe Lloyd who kept pushing the ball up towards Jessica Carruthers and Izzy Huxley.
A lucky break after a short corner allowed Timperley to score their 5th goal. At 5-2 Whitchurch heads had lowered knowing it was a too bigger gap to catch but fought on till the end.
Whitchurch came away with only their 3rd loss of the season but unfortunately dropping them to 4th place and further away from a possible promotion.
Ladies 1s play Macclesfield at home next week.