North West Hockey League
Div 6 South
Whitchurch Mens 1s 0
Bangor University Mens 2s 5
Whitchurch travelled to Bangor for a late-pushback game this week against a young and well-trained team, and suffered their first significant loss in a long while.
The first half started well, and Whitchurch had the majority of the play.
Several chances were set up well, with Ben Kimberley’s crosses into the dee from the right wing passing just inches from the tap-ins that would have given the Reds at least two goals.
Airan Jones, stepping up from the 2s well, had an excellent game on the left wing, making runs and getting behind the Bangor defence.
At the other end of the pitch, the defence were hard-pushed by a strong Bangor attack, who were able to get a goal from a scramble in the dee.
The Reds reset, and held out for the rest of the half, with Alex Fry stepping up in the central midfield role, and Steve Kay taking his place as sweeper, and they were able to control the centre of the pitch and get the ball out wide to Ben Fry and Jake Wood.
They had very strong games and impressed with their strong runs down the wings, and they consistently pressured the Bangor players, fought for every ball and got through to the dee and released Tom Leonard to attack with his usual mix of top-of-the-dee strikes and movement through the defenders but, despite the pressure and getting a number of short corners, the final hits evaded them and the goals refused to come.
Sturge in goal kept out a number of strikes including a diving save which involved a Bangor forward trying to get the ball over him, until James Partington was able to tap the ball onto the attacker’s foot.
The second half started with immense pressure from the Bangor team, who played with fluency and took control of the centre of the pitch more, passing the ball more freely amongst themselves and cheered on by some passionate supporters.
The pressure took its toll on the Whitchurch defence who let their marking slip, and Bangor were able to score a couple of quick goals. Ryan Murtagh and Matt Brooks were worked hard at left and right back to keep a stream of attacks out, but eventually the pressure told and two more goals went in.
The game ended with Bangor deserved winners, but Whitchurch know the areas they need to improve on before they play Liverpool Sefton 3s next week at home - a known threat, as a team who came up with them last season - pushing back at 2pm at SJT.
For a full round up, see this week’s Herald.