What should have been the second local derby in eight days – the first one against Andover Town sadly fell foul of the weather – attracted an attendance nearing two hundred and fifty but failed to live up to a promising start although the home side fully deserved the points at the end of the day,

For the first time for many weeks, possibly the first time this season, New Street kicked down the hill in the opening half and after a scrappy start they very much dominated possession. Ross Cook, back in the side after a three week absence, controlled a long Reece Rusher cross, lost his footing, recovered and curled his shot past the angle of post and bar – with the visiting defence little more than spectators. Another Rusher cross was rather unconvincingly palmed clear by former Street keeper Chris Wing before the pressure paid off as early as the eleventh minute.

Shane Lock collected the ball midway in the opposing half and the through ball split the defence with Cook lifting the ball past the advancing Wing. (1-0)

Another Lock pass sent Cameron Thatcher free on the left only for the shot to beat Wing and the far post before the score was doubled on the twenty minute mark. Cook fashioned a shooting chance for Harry Lawton, the shot was deflected over the keeper and Lock turned the ball over the line with the defence completely flat footed. (2-0)

The first attack of note by the visitors sent Craig Rutledge clear on the right but he hesitated as goalkeeper Mike Weatherall narrowed the angle before scooping the ball wide of the post, Cook was inches wide from distance with Wing frantically back pedalling towards his goal and the striker followed that with a booking after a late challenge. On the occasions that the visitors did break forward they always lacked numbers and Ashley James and Matt Scott in the middle of the Street defence were largely untroubled. Cook broke clear again and was denied by the keeper’s legs, but it was a chance, and Rusher was narrowly wide from the edge of the area before the half ended with a long and powerful run from Rutledge which ended through lack of support. One imagines the home dressing room at the break were wondering why they were only two goals ahead.

The second half started in the manner of the first with a Rusher cross that evaded three green shirts and another that was headed narrowly wide by Matt Scott who had momentarily abandoned his defensive duties. Wing was a long way out of his area to deny Rusher and dealt confidently with a number of crosses but could do nothing with a twenty five yard piledriver from Zach Hine that crashed against the post and rebounded to safety. Despite this Whitchurch were having more of the game than in the first half, especially in midfield, but they were unable to pose any real threat up front. The usual influx of substitutes came from both sides and Robbie Owen was just too high at one end, after the ball had carelessly been given away, before Weatherall was at full stretch to hold a Cameron George effort at the other. Whitchurch’s Connor Bloomfield collected just the second booking of the afternoon for an unnecessary challenge in the centre circle, well dealt with by the referee who was at pains to involve the visiting skipper in the conversation, but the game had stagnated somewhat and there were just two more efforts on goal before the final whistle. A Whitchurch corner caused a lengthy scramble in the six yard box, with Thatcher hooking the ball off the line to prevent an own goal, and Wing acrobatically tipping an Owen header over the crossbar.

In many ways a strange game since New Street could easily have been four or five goals ahead at the break but Whitchurch found energy and effort in the second half that had been largely lacking in the first – no doubt that had received some strong words during the break (that is politely put) while the home side seemed to lose their way. But the result was fair with three more points in Street’s promotion push though Whitchurch can perhaps take some comfort from the fact that in the two meetings with New Street they have only conceded three goals, and there are a few sides that will fare much worse before the season is over.