Charnock suffered a 5-0 defeat by 1874 Northwich at Mossie Park.
The Reserves won 3-0 at Furness Cavaliers with goals from Lama Meite, Carl Rigby and Lewis Pilgrim.
Charnock Richard 0 1874 Northwich 5
Saturday 17th August 2019, NWCFL Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 0
1874 NORTHWICH 5
Attendance : 216
Charnock Richard: Ben Ascroft, Spencer Bibby, Aaron Griffith, Jack Bennett (Rick Ainscough 73), Ross O’Farrell, Lewis Haydock, Matt Davison, Owen Morris (Ryan Schofield 63), Carl Grimshaw, Jack Kay (Oliver Oxley 66), Danny Regan. Sub: (not Used) James Walker.
1874 Northwich: Nick Ward, James Blair, Lee Jackson, Mark Jones, Ryan Mitchell (Harry Cain 45), Jake Parker, Michael Koral, Matt Woolley (Nathan Okome 84), Scott McGowan, Sam Hare, Taylor Kennerley (Callum Gardner 73). Subs:(Not Used) Lee Knight, James Ormrod.
Charnock suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of table toppers 1874 Northwich, but for some fine saves from keeper Ben Ascroft and the help of the woodwork on several occasions the final result could have been nearer double figures. After a bright start by the Villagers Northwich slowly took charge but the game remained goalless at the interval. However the visitors took the lead early in the second half and from then on it was all one way with Charnock’s three man defence overrun by some fine attacking football. A tactical change, bringing on Ryan Schofield and reverting to four man back line, failed to stem the tide and losing Danny Regan to a second yellow card saw the visitors ram home their superiority with two further goals in the final 10 minutes.
With Mark Woods suspended and Nathan Fairhurst unavailable there were two changes to the starting line-up; Owen Morris and Jack Bennett both made starts in midfield. On the bench were Rick Ainscough, Oliver Oxley, James Walker and Ryan Schofield. It was a sunny afternoon and there was again a healthy attendance of 216. The pitch was in good condition despite a week of heavy rain. 1874 won the toss so Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end.
1874 arrived having won all their opening three fixtures which included a fine win at Clitheroe in the FA Cup on the previous Saturday. The game was very even for the opening 25 minutes with Charnock moving the ball around quickly on the excellent surface and they saw plenty of possession but failed to really test Ward in the visiting goal. An early understrength header back to Ascroft by O’Farrell almost let Koral in. At the other end Grimshaw was caught offside. On 15 minutes a Bibby free kick from 25 yards came back off the post. A whipped cross for the visitors from the right somehow eluded Kennerley in front of goal. At this point it was a very even game with both sides looking to play football and Charnock putting together some fine moves. Grimshaw then got in just to the left of the goal but his shot was into the side netting. Whilst the visitors were producing some decent shots Charnock for all their efforts were failing to trouble the Norwich defence, a number of shots were blocked and Nick Ward in goal was not called upon to make any real saves. The pattern of the game began to change after 23 minutes when Kennerley brought a diving save out of Ascroft with Charnock starting to lose the battle in midfield and their three man defence coming under increasing pressure. Danny Regan was booked for a foul on 25 minutes and a shot from Kennerley came back off the bar. When Bibby dwelt on the ball immediately in front of goal Ascroft grabbed Kennerley’s effort. Not afraid to shoot from distance a Koral shot was straight at Ascroft. Charnock had now lost much of their early rhythm and both Grimshaw and Kay, who had featured earlier in the half, were struggling to make any impact. Blair blasted a free kick conceded on the corner of the penalty area just beyond the far post and with only minutes to the interval it was important that Charnock held out. With the home defence now under almost constant pressure, Hare hit a shot narrowly wide before Bibby and then Griffith made important blocks in the area. With Charnock still very much in the game at the interval but on the back foot in the latter stages of the half it was to be hoped that kicking towards the Charter Lane end with the benefit of a fresh wind they could regain the impact that they had made in the early stages of the match.
1874 made a change for the second half, whether it was tactical or forced, replacing a defender with a forward and it made a major impact on the game. Ryan Mitchell was replaced by winger Harry Cain and four minutes into the half he burst down the right and with Charnock short of defenders 1874 had two men unmarked on the left, Kennerley easily found Jake Parker and he beat Ascroft. Charnock almost equalised immediately on the restart, a Davison centre just eluded Grimshaw and brushed off a defender for a corner. On 57 minutes a McGowan shot appeared to be turned onto the cross bar by Ascroft and the keeper then made a fine save from Cain. The visitors were producing some fine football with the ball being swung from wing to wing and the home defence being constantly out-numbered. Earlier in the game Charnock had largely held their own but now they were being overrun. Another fine save from the Charnock stopper came before the crossbar was again rattled by a shot. There was no surprise when 1874 increased their lead on 60 minutes, Kennerley fired home after the home defence had again been easily opened up. Then Scott McGowan through on goal scooped the ball way over the bar. On 63 minutes Owen Morris gave way for Ryan Scofield and Charnock reverted to a back four. Cain was a constant threat on the right for the visitors and with the midfield really struggling there was little reaching Kay and Grimshaw up front. On 66 minutes Oxley replaced Kay who had made an impact when Charnock were seeing plenty of the ball but the youngster is still struggling to come to terms with the physical side of the game at this level having been involved in academy football for much of his career. 1874 Northwich were now on the rampage and Ascroft came out of his goal again to thwart Koral. On 69 minutes Ascroft got a hand to a shot but merely diverted the ball across the goal and Parker scored his second goal to make the score 3-0. Jack Bennett was replaced by Rick Ainscough after 73 minutes before Cain hit a screaming shot narrowly over the bar. Charnock’s task became even harder after 79 minutes when Regan received a second yellow card for a tackle. So far this season there has been at least one red card in every game, three in the fixture against Barnoldswick Town. Although reduced to 10 men, Charnock maintained both Oxley and Grimshaw up front and consequently there were open spaces in front of Griffith on the left. The visitors were not prepared to sit back on their laurels and they added a fourth goal on 84 minutes with substitute Okome firing into the corner of the net. Two minutes into added time the visitors scored their fifth goal with a shot from another substitute Gardner out on the left hitting the back angle on the goal and dropping over the line.
It had been a fine game of football played at a high tempo but Charnock, on this occasion, had been outplayed by a team looking likely to be one of the favourites for a promotion spot at the end of the season.
Two tough fixtures now face Charnock with a league game away at Longridge Town at the Mike Riding Ground on Wednesday 21st August, kick-off 7.45pm, followed by a visit from the same club in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 24th August at Mossie Park. Kick-off 3.00pm.