Charnock fell to a 3-0 defeat at Mossie Park to table topping City of Liverpool.
Charnock Richard 0 City of Liverpool 3
Saturday 2nd March 2019, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 0
CITY OF LIVERPOOL 3
Attendance : 238
Charnock Richard: Kyle Haslam, Spencer Bibby, Jacob Higham (Oliver Oxley 54), Oliver Turner (Joe Noblet 63), Ryan Schofield, Troy Carsley, Matt Davison, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Ross O’Farrell, Mark Woods (Aaron Griffith 74).
Sub:(Not Used) Ashley Young.
City of Liverpool: Ben Ashcroft, Luke Denson, Francis Foy, Kevin McEllin, Daniel Dalton, Anthony Brown, Joe Holt, Jack Hazelhurst, Jamie McDonald (Tom Peterson 84), David Forbes (Karl Clair 14), John McGrath (Kris Owens 71).
Subs: (Not Used) Paul Williams, David Thompson.
As expected promotion chasing City of Liverpool proved to be challenging opponents and despite a battling performance from Charnock they departed with a valuable three points from a 3-0 win. Neither goalkeeper was really extended, the result was based upon some clinical finishing by the ‘Purps’ whilst the Villagers failed to converted their very limited number of chances. To be fair with Charnock only having played one competitive fixture in the last five weeks, lack of match sharpness was always going to be a factor but take nothing away from the Merseyside based team, they produced a very polished performance and they never really looked like leaving empty handed. An early goal from a free kick gave Liverpool a great start and they doubled their lead before the break. Reduced to 10 men just before half time they concentrated on preserving their lead in the second half but a fine third goal with 25 minutes remaining saw them, relatively comfortably, hold out for the win.
There were three changes to the Charnock starting line-up one positional; Oliver Oxley and Joe Noblet were dropped to the bench replaced by Mark Woods and Matt Davison and Jake Higham moved to left back. There was a surprise when Ashley Young was named on the bench and alongside him was Aaron Griffth who has been playing with the reserves. James Walker was on holiday and both Danny Regan and Mark Adams remained on the injured list.
A good attendance was expected and a crowd of 238 created a good atmosphere with the visiting supporters providing plenty of vocal support. The Premier Division January ‘Player of the Month’ Troy Carsley was presented with his award by the Chairman of the North West Counties League before the kick-off.
City of Liverpool won the toss, so Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end. As expected the game started at a fast tempo with both sides moving the ball around quickly, Hazlehurst for the visitors fired a shot well wide and Matt Davison made a good run down to the right corner flag but keeper Ben Ashcroft collected his centre comfortably. On nine minutes Woods on the left found Grimshaw and he hit an ambitious volley from 25 yards that sailed just beyond the left angle of the goal. A minute later City of Liverpool took the lead, a long ball was being chased into the area by McDonald, he was fouled by Schofield and John McGrath fired a free kick from 30 yards into the far corner of the net. It was a disappointing start for the Villagers but they came back with Bibby having a good run down the right and putting Davison in to the bye-line where he won a corner. The kick saw Grimshaw head down to O’Farrell about 12 yards out but unfortunately he shot over the crossbar. Although it was an overcast afternoon it was not really gloomy but surprisingly the floodlights came on after 15 minutes and they remained on for the remainder of the game. The game was fairly even at this point but the visitors were showing an aptitude to break quickly and were looking the most dangerous side. Too often the Villagers were slow to the ball, possibly an indication of their recent blank Saturdays. At the midpoint of the half McDonald tried to catch Haslam out by trying to lob him from the half way line but the ball dropped just over the bar. Nathan Fairhurst had a powerful shot, after a Charnock corner, but it was straight at Ashcroft. City of Liverpool increased their lead on 36 minutes, a centre from the left saw Higham get his head to the ball but it dropped to Hazlehurst who hit a shot just inside the post. Not an easy chance but competently taken by a player who carried a real threat throughout the match. As the end of the first half approached the excitement grew, on 40 minutes Hazlehurst was bowled over in the box and Charnock were extremely lucky not to be going further behind from the penalty spot. Immediately Forbes broke clear but Haslam came out to partially block his shot, the ball was still heading into the net until Higham got back to hack it clear before it reached the goal line. A minute later it was Matt Davison breaking clear from the half way line, he reached the penalty area but shot wide as Ashcroft advanced. It was a glorious chance to get the Villagers back into the game but he seemed to run out of steam and hence confidence at the vital moment. Finally Joe Holt received a second yellow card for a wild tackle on O’Farrell, having already been booked for a similar tackle on Carsley early in the match he was sent off. So the visitors were down to 10 men and Charnock had the benefit of the wind in the second half.
City of Liverpool brought on Clair for Forbes at the start of the second half and altered their tactics no doubt expecting Charnock to be on the front foot they concentrated on defending their lead. They still, however, carried a definite threat whilst the Villagers continued to struggle to create real chances. Following a corner Hazlehurst hit a tremendous goal bound shot that Schofield bravely headed away for a corner. Oliver Oxley came on after 54 minutes at the expense of Jake Higham as manager Andy Westwell looked to get back into the game. When O’Farrell headed on a Woods free kick Grimshaw just failed to reach the ball. After 58 minutes the visitors broke and the move finished with Clair shooting over the bar from right in front of goal. When Woods swung in a high ball from the left it was dropping under the bar and Ashcroft, under pressure from Grimshaw, failed to hang onto the ball but it was scrambled away. Charnock were seeing more of the ball than in the first half but the visitors’ defence was not being unduly stretched. Oliver Turner went down clutching his ankle, he did not receive any treatment but he was quickly replaced by Joe Noblet with Ross O’Farrell dropping into central defence. Another break by City of Liverpool on 66 minutes saw a cross from the right find Hazlehurst on the edge of the area and he hit a powerful shot than beat Haslam and at 3-0 the game was really over. Could Charnock at least score a consolation goal? Well they upped their game as the 90 minutes approached but for the seventh time this season they failed to score. With 74 minutes on the clock Mark Woods gave way for Aaron Griffith to make his first team debut coming on at right back with Bibby moving forward and Davison switching to the left. On 87 minutes a Noblet left wing corner swung in by the wind was dropping under the bar but Ashcroft managed to tip the ball onto and over the bar. The corner set up a mad free-for-all in the six yard area and a couple of shots were blocked before the ball was scrambled away. Davison cut in from the left and Ashcroft had to go down to save his shot. The final whistle was blown after three minutes of added time.
Once again it had been an excellent game played in a good spirit with both teams concentrating on playing football, the sending off was the result of two very isolated wild tackles. City of Liverpool had looked dangerous throughout the 90 minutes but when it came to looking back on the game goalkeeper Kyle Haslam had very few saves to make. If Charnock had been more ruthless with their finishing the final score may have been closer.
On Saturday 9th March Charnock are at home again, on this occasion playing Winsford United, who are fighting relegation so the match should be another tough challenge, kick-off is 3.00pm.