Whitchurch Ladies 2nds 4

Sale Ladies 3rds 0

ON SATURDAY, February 22, Whitchurch Ladies Seconds finally played their rearranged match against Sale.

The result of this match would determine if Whitchurch Ladies Seconds finished in the top or bottom half of the division.

Whitchurch had a strong team of 15 players, the majority of whom have played together all season with some strong replacements eager to come on the pitch.

The warm up was focused to get the team to concentrate and motivated, emphasising the need to attack the ball and make sure passes were accurate.

First push back was taken by Sale, but they did not get far, the attacking line of Amy Fry, at centre forward and Amelie Morris and Hayleigh Busby in the inner positions, hit the ball quickly to take it forward towards the Sale dee.

And this is where the ball spent most of the first half, either down the left hand-side with lovely passing play between Edina Jones and Tracey Tolhurst playing into the dee or on the right between Phoebe Jones and Nina Hodges using Molly Fry as the lynch pin to change direction of the ball across the pitch.

Frustratingly no matter how much play Whitchurch had in the Sale 22, the Sale keeper and strong defence managed to keep the ball from the goal.

Every 16 the Sale player had was heavily defended by the Whitchurch team, if the ball got past the first row of Amy Fry, Holly Gilbert or Caitlin Edwards it was soon scooped up by the halves or backs including Emily Lister, who was playing her first match for the Ladies Seconds and Catherine Reece-Gresty who played a fantastic match of sweeping back.

Even though the first goal alluded them, the Whitchurch Ladies did not give up and kept their heads focused defending well when needed and driving forward passing between themselves down the pitch towards the goal.

Sale did manage to break through twice during the first half, however with a strong half and defensive line, it didn't worry Beth Wright in goal who dealt with the ball cleanly and assertively.

In the dying minutes of the first-half Whitchurch were finally rewarded for their pressure with some beautiful passing play down the pitch slipped to the post and pushed into the Sale goal by Molly Fry

Whitchurch went into the half-time break 1-0 up.

The team talk by Captain Emma Clarke, bought the teams focus back on track, encouraged the team to relax around the goal mouth and stop trying to force the goal and urged players to stay out of the dee allowing the ball to be reset before being directed at the goal.

As anticipated Sale had also had a strong team talk and came out fighting, however each of their attacks were easily dealt with by the Whitchurch defence, to be able to counter attack on the Sale defence.

It was obvious the Sale team were tiring, and with four subs Whitchurch was able to rotate players regularly and keep the pressure on.

It didn't take long for Whitchurch to be rewarded by a fantastic goal from a short corner, push in from Molly Fry to Nicola Forester at the top of the dee, back into Phoebe Jones to the side of the goal with a fantastic shot past the Sale defence.

Whitchurch dominated the last 15 minutes of the match, with a goal from Nicola Forster and another from a short corner passed left this time to Hayley Busby who shot to the post and scored.

In the dying minutes of the match Sale were awarded two short corners in quick succession, both of which were dispensed with efficiently by Whitchurch's Keeper, who kept another clean sheet.

The final score of 4-0 sees Whitchurch move up to joint fourth in the division, player of the match was Nina Hodges.

Whitchurch Ladies Seconds have four more matches to the season, three of which are the top teams in the division so they have a very hard month ahead.

Next week Whitchurch Ladies Seconds are on the road to Neston Ladies Fourths who are second in the division.