North West League
Division 8 South West
Whitchurchs 2s 1
Winnington Park 4s 2
Following the excellent win last weekend at Runcorn, Whitchurch faced a tough challenge against Winnington Park 4s at SJT.
Winnington started the match on the front foot, dominating possession and territory. Quick movement off the ball and strong running was overpowering the Whitchurch midfield and the defence struggled to clear the ball.
With Whitchurch struggling to get any ball to their forwards, the constant pressure soon brought a couple of goals.
First a well worked move on the Winnington right led to a cross into the dee, where the Park forward took an early shot past keeper Neil Jones.
This was quickly followed by a flicked short corner that was saved by keeper Jones, but with Tom Forster blocked by the keeper, the Winnington forward reacted quickest to poke the ball in for a 2-0 lead.
Winnington thought they’d scored a third after another short corner. The ball was well saved by keeper Jones and got trapped under his body. With a melee of defending and attacking sticks hacking to get the ball out, eventually the ball was poked into the goal but umpire Jess Kimberley called a retake of the short corner.
This moment seemed to derail Winnington a bit and galvanise Whitchurch.
They started to gain more possession of the ball in midfield through Forster and Craig Hockenhull, and the ball started to find the young wide players in more advanced positions.
Martin Beecher started to find space in the Winnington dee, but unfortunately succumbed to injury midway through the half when trying to get in a shot.
Locki Price had a fine strike touched over the bar by the Winnington keeper after good work on the right by Fred Egerton and Josh Parry.
Despite being 2-0 down at halftime the 2s felt they were still in the game and needed to continue the good work from the end of the first half.
Whitchurch started the second half brilliantly and immediately took the game to Winnington. A superb driving run from Hockenhull led to a cut-back to the top of the dee where Forster fired home into the bottom corner of the Winnington goal.
Whitchurch continued to push forward looking for an equaliser. Joe Coburn and Price combined well on the left and Euan Morris and Fred Egerton worked well together on the right. Josh Parry worked had in his new position of forward and did well to hold the ball up and bring teammates into play.
Winnington always posed a threat on the counter-attack, however. With Tom Molenaar struggling with a knee injury, James Page stepped into the right side of defence and worked hard to stop any threats on that side of the pitch.
Matt Brooks and Airan Jones had excellent games in the centre of defence with Matt’s tackling and Airan’s interceptions stopping most of the Winnington attacks and Doug Buckeridge worked hard to limit the threats on the Winnington right, with the help of Locki, Coburn and Joe Faithfull, making his debut for the 2s.
On the few occasions the Whitchurch defence was breached, keeper Jones came up with some smart saves to keep Winnington out.
Unfortunately Whitchurch were unable to find their equaliser, but the team can be proud of their efforts, particularly in a fine second half display against a very capable Winnington side.
The slow start ultimately proved costly, but everyone in the match day squad worked very hard to get back into the game, restrict the Winnington chances and drive forward looking for goals.
Once again Hockenhull was excellent in midfield, as was Forster.
Martin Beecher and Molenaar both shrugged off injury to help the second half efforts and Matt Brooks had a great game at the centre of defence.
n Next week the 2s travel to Denbigh 2s.
n Whitchurch Mens 1s game was cancelled due to unfit pitch.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald