Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 Stockport Bramhall Men’s 2s 0
The Reds faced third-placed team Stockport Bramhall this week in a match that would help confirm the top of the league positions going into the last few games of the season.
Both teams started well, with Whitchurch again finding some excellent form with passing moves working well to accelerate the ball up the pitch and putting pressure on the Stockport defence. Time and again, Stockport had to spend extra time working out where to pass from a free-hit as the Reds’ marking was excellent in all areas of the pitch. Rob Chappell, Dale Seymour and Ben Kimberley were each able to make incisive runs through the middle, and Jack Barnes and Tom Forster drove down the wings causing trouble for the Stockport defence.
The pressure paid off, as Whitchurch started to win penalty corners, and all three goals came from these. None were the first-strike shots that they might originally have seemed, but all were calm composure in the dee, with the ball being moved well and at pace leaving Stockport no chance. The first was Seymour receiving the injection, laying the ball off before making his run and getting it back again to put it into the net. The second was Barnes’ flick not quite the skyrocket he’d intended, but the rebound off the keeper’s pads fell nicely for a second attempt that he was never going to miss. The third was Nick Cooper, whose drilled shot deflected off a defender’s stick, giving the keeper no time to react. A fourth might have been scored, but unfortunately clipped Forster’s foot on the Stockport goal line.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic in the first half, with Stockport never quite having the luck: their striker got one-on-one with Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal but pulled his shot left. A few minutes later, a goalmouth scramble ended with looping shot that just floated over the Whitchurch crossbar. Sturge was called upon to come out and prevent other one-on-ones, as Stockport used the break well, but the half ended 3-0.
The second half was a more balanced affair: Stockport went on the attack, leaving players higher up the pitch similar to Keele last week and Whitchurch had to sit back more to defend. Alex Fry and Chris Ruscoe each made critical last minute interceptions when it looked certain Stockport were going to score. Sturge held the goal area and provided the base for Danny Foulkes, Ruscoe and James Partington to move it around the back. Fred Egerton and Jon Chappell added options up front and were unlucky not to score. Stockport won a number of short corners in the dying minutes, but the defence held.
All in all, it was another strong game from Whitchurch, with Chris Ruscoe picking up the player of the match award, but everyone had put in a shift to get the fifth clean-sheet of the weekend, leaving them ranked second for home game performances across the whole North West Hockey League. They play Neston 5s at home next week.
Whitchurch ladies 1s 3 Deeside Ramblers 3s 1
Ladies 1s played at home against Deeside 3s this Saturday and saw a definite improvement to the Deeside side from last time they played.
Whitchurch ladies controlled the ball well passing back to Chloe Lloyd and Kezzie Hutching who were holding the defence line, passing back out wide to Anna Latham and Molly Fry. Continuing to attack hard mid players Millie Edwards, Hebe Dixon and captain Catherine Winter-Gresty were making Deeside’s game difficult and it payed off as their first goal was from open play passing within the dee from Sarah Field to Ellie Windsor to score. The sides seemed quite equal at this point and keeper Maddy Sugden made some great sliding tackles but unfortunately Deeside scored before half time.
A good team talk and Whitchurch needed this win and continued to take control and put plenty of pressure on the Deeside defence. A run of short corners for Whitchurch and their persistence payed off, Hebe Dixon receiving the ball to shoot and a rebound from a Deeside stick was quickly picked up by captain Winter-Gresty to slot through Deeside defence into the left corner. A moment of excited celebration for Whitchurch as that was their 100th goal of the season and this really changed their play.
In the lead again now and Whitchurch seemed to pick up the pace and worked so well together, picking off any advance from Deeside. Hayleigh Busby kept Deeside from making any headway on the left supported by Latham. Several shots on goal from Sarah Field, but the Deeside keeper was not for letting her score today. With 5 minutes to go some amazing play from Ellie Windsor and Molly Fry on the right won another short. Edwards pushed out to Field to pick out Izzy Huxley on the post to score their 3rd.
Now it was for Whitchurch ladies 1s to keep possession until the final whistle, which they did for most of that time, not allowing Deeside any time in their dee.
A great game and final score 3-1 for the ladies 1s.
Millie Edwards was awarded players player; their next game is away against Oxton.
Ladies 1s after their win. Thanks to Louis Tinsley for the photo.
Golborne Men’s 3s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3
Whitchurch were looking to build on their excellent win from the previous weekend when they travelled up to Warrington to face a Golborne side whom they’d narrowly beaten earlier in the season.
In windy conditions, the game followed a similar pattern to that previous encounter. Golborne started much the better and Whitchurch were lacklustre and sloppy. The home side were quick to capitalise and took an early.
The Reds stirred themselves and responded well. Joe Coburn and Luke Beddow began to get more possession in midfield and twice Doug Buckeridge found good positions on the left of the dee, forcing a save and a short corner. The Reds came close to equalising from a short corner, but a fantastic save and block on the line saw the fly high over the crossbar.
However, as the subs rolled on, Whitchurch found themselves further behind. A sloppy pass out of defence was collected by Golborne and a long ball found their centre-forward all alone in the Whitchurch dee. Despite keeper Neil Jones’ best efforts, he was unable to prevent the forward scoring.
With Golborne happy to pack their own dee and prevent Whitchurch finding space to pass around their opponents, the away side’s attacks continually broke down without much threat to the goal. Golborne were content to counterattack by either carrying the ball from the edge of their own dee or firing long balls forward to their high attacking players. The latter being a tactic that seemed to unsettle the Whitchurch defence.
All through this season, Whitchurch have proved to be adept at finding solutions to problems during the game and in this match, they started to stretch the pitch in all directions, giving Golborne more to do to close up the spaces. As the gaps appeared, the Reds started to get into more threatening positions and a neat through ball put Euan Morris into space in the dee and his reverse hit flew past the Golborne keeper to halve the deficit.
The away team scored again soon after as Will Gilbert escaped his marker and found space on the left. Will drove diagonally into the dee and flicked a pass towards the back post where Jacob Buckeridge had made a superb run from the other flank. He steered the ball through the narrow gap between post and keeper for the equaliser.
Whitchurch started to dominate the game. Wyn Morris and Pip Jones were cleaning up Golborne’s attacks and Richard Leigh and Airan Jones were tidy in possession in the middle of the pitch. The wingers were a constant threat to Golborne, and the home keeper was forced to make a couple of handy saves. A flurry of short corners at the end of the half were well defended by Golborne although there might have been the hint of a foot in one of the goal-line stops ….
Despite the 2-2 half-time score line, Whitchurch felt that they were in the ascendancy. However, the break galvanised Golborne. Whitchurch were again sluggish from the pushback and the home side quickly retook the lead from a scramble after a short corner.
Again, Whitchurch had to find their way back into the game. Progressively their passing became crisper and they started to find dangerous positions with Luke, Joe and Ethan Gresty prominent. Chances came and went from open play and short corners, but eventually the Reds worked the ball well around the edge of the dee and Alex Leigh fired a pass across the face of the goal and Euan was on hand to score his second goal of the match.
Golborne continued to be a threat on the counterattack. Neil Jones made some good stops and Wyn and Pip continued to battle away against the high attackers, helped by Gareth Teggin and Will Snaith.
The final minutes of the game became a bit tetchy as both teams felt hard-done-by as umpiring decisions went against them. Ultimately, however, the 3-3 draw was a fair result in an entertaining game. Both teams had chances to win the match, but good defending and goalkeeping thwarted both sides.
This wasn’t Whitchurch’s best performance of the season by a long way. They were lethargic at the start of both halves and struggled to get their game going. The defence had a tough afternoon and both Gareth and Will Snaith found it tough going at times. But once again the team dug-in and battled to a reasonable result. The importance of width and stretching the pitch was being bellowed from the side-lines and implementing that strategy paid dividends as chances and goals were created. Jacob Buckeridge had a strong first half, rewarded with an excellent goal, and Alex Leigh continued his good form.
The 2s travel to the Wirral to face Neston in their next game, on Saturday 15th February.
Deeside Ramblers ladies 4s 5 Whitchurch ladies 2s 3
Whitchurch ladies 2’s headed off to Deeside for an away match they knew would be challenging. The match started in Deeside’s favour with them gaining push back and putting pressure on Whitchurch’s dee. Catherine Reece-Gresty and Emma Clarke worked brilliantly in defence working the ball up the left side of the pitch to Martha Teggin. A cross from Amelie Morris to Ellie Pearson on post secured Whitchurch their first goal. Towards the end of the first half, a quick break from Deeside made the score line 1-1.
In the second half, Whitchurch were forced to push back and work hard in defence and were unlucky to concede a second goal. Holly Gilbert and Jess Kimberly worked well as half’s and pushed the ball up to Phoebe Jones, who sent the ball to Caitlin Edwards who scored Whitchurch’s second goal. Deeside once again put pressure on Whitchurch’s dee to secure two more goals. Beth Wright made some brilliant saves preventing Deeside from scoring further. Towards the end of the match, Deeside made one final push and managed to score their final goal. However, Whitchurch fought back harder, a ball from Holly Edwards allowed Nicola Forster to pass to Tracey Tolhurst, securing Whitchurch their third goal.
Player of the match awarded to Holly Edwards
Neston ladies 5s 0 Whitchurch ladies 3’s 1
Whitchurch ladies 3’s travelled to the Wirral determined to show how much their game has improved after a heavy home defeat to Neston Ladies 5’s way back in September last year. With one sub, an injured captain Whitchurch knew it was going to be tough but they didn’t let it dampen their spirits!
Whitchurch won first pushback and had to make a quick turnaround as Neston choose to play the first half against the wind. Thanks to a superb training session last week (Thanks go to Emma Clarke!), we kept our width due to some excellent play from right half Meg Bruynard and Emily Lister on the left.
This week, Whitchurch choose to play with three defensive players along the back, Emma Stubbs, Jan Teggin and Mel Reid who tackled superbly spraying shots wide to Bruynard and Lister which forced Neston to play everything down the middle, allowing our two inners Jaz Williams and Annie Buckeridge to pick up and run with the ball.
Several shots were fired into the Neston dee by Kate Buckeridge on the left wing and Louise Whitely on the right wing to our waiting centre forward Libby Fox, who narrowly missed the goal at the left hand post and was unfortunate not to win a short corner just before the half time whistle.
A rousing half time talk by captain Cooper, helped Whitchurch to keep their cool and continue with our determined tackles and superb passing. The Whitchurch defence stifled out most of the Neston attack and prevented them from scoring despite a multitude of successive short corners.
Cottrell defended her goal like a Trojan despite getting stuck against the right hand post and Stubbs was cool and calm with her passes out of the dee to Williams and Annie Buckeridge who were waiting in exactly the right places.
A harsh green card reduced Whitchurch to ten players about ten minutes into the 2nd half but this didn’t deter the Whitchurch defence with Reid clearing some hard shots from the 16 yard line and Teggin making some excellent passes to Brunyard and Williams on the right. The Buckeridge’s also frustrated Neston with some long runs down the left wing.
Finally, the last 10 minutes saw Whitchurch rewarded with some short corners of their own due to the sheer driving determination of the Whitchurch attacking players and 60 seconds from the final whistle a hard hit from Fox was deflected in by Whitely giving Whitchurch a hard fought win.
Emily Lister was voted by Neston as players player!