Charnock ran out 3-0 winners over Crooklands Casuals at Mossie Park with Carl Grimshaw scoring twice and David Burrows adding the other goal.
The Academy had an excellent 6-3 win at Ribchester as they chase the title in Division 2 of the Mid Lancashire League. Joe Burton hit a hat-trick with Patrik Bibby adding two goals and Luke Barrow also finding the net.
Charnock Richard 3 Crooklands Casuals 0
Saturday 18th April 2015, West Lancs League Prenier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
CROOKLANDS CASUALS 0
TEAM: Gavin Bates, Spencer Bibby, Damian Dashti, Josh Norgate, Liam Hayton, Jamie Sanderson, Alex Randell (David Prout 58), Andy Roberts (Jack Bennett 67), Carl Grimshaw, Alex Porter (David Burrows 67), Woods.
Another entertaining football match at Mossie Park saw a score line that was somewhat flattering for the home team. Crooklands Casuals turned up and produced a display that on another day could have seen them depart with all three points. As it was Charnock held a narrow one goal lead right up to the final minutes and the two late goals gave a somewhat unjust angle on the game. Crooklands spurned two excellent chances in the second half that could well have produced a different conclusion to the game.
Manager Andy Westwell again made changes to his starting line-up no doubt with the Richardson Cup final in mind. David Burrows and Jack Bennett both dropped to the bench and David Fisher was away on the cricket field turning out for Chorley. Alex Randell was available and started and Andy Roberts and Alex Porter also were in the line-up. David Prout was back to take a place on the bench.
It was a sunny afternoon but there was a cool wind as the game kicked off with Charnock playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end. Crooklands soon showed that they were capable of playing some neat, tidy football and there was little between the sides in the first half. Charnock fresh from their Richardson Cup semi-final win in mid-week took some time to settle although an early attack when Porter did well down by the left corner flag produced a shooting chance for Andy Roberts which saw keeper Robert Bamber make an excellent block and when the ball bobbed up again at the back post Grimshaw’s header was cleared off the line. Crooklands carried a constant threat with David Mansergh looking dangerous and he was well supported by Stephen Caskie and the tricky Chris Wraighte. The home defence had to be at their best but nevertheless the visitors had the ball in the net twice in the opening 16 minutes. On eight minutes Mansergh fashioned himself a shooting opportunity on the edge of the area and his shot went into the net just inside the post but Wraighte had followed in and tried to assist the ball into the net. He had interfered with play and thus was ruled to be offside. It was a lucky let off for the Villagers and a big disappointment for Mansergh. Then when Bibby went missing on 16 minutes Mansergh threaded the ball through to Wraighte on the left he duly rounded Bates and found the net but he had already been flagged offside. The final score often relies on these important decisions. Crooklands maintained their pressure surging forward and closing Charnock down at every possibility. One may have doubted their ability to maintain this high octane football and expected them to wilt as the game went on but there was no problem with their fitness as they kept running right up to the final whistle. Charnock as the half progressed began to carve out some half chances, Carl Grimshaw headed wide from a left wing cross. Jamie Sanderson’s shot was blocked and Randell hit the rebound wide. When a right wing corner brushed off Sanderson’s head the ball rebounded off Norgate into Bamber’s hands. David Mansergh almost put Crooklands into the lead in the 30th minute only a terrific last ditch tackle from Liam Hayton prevented the shot. On 31 minutes Charnock took the lead as a result of a fine move. Alex Randell hit a long ball over the top to Porter who from the bye line, on the right, hit a looping right footed centre over Bamber and CARL GRIMSHAW ran the ball into the net from close range. Charnock were now having a good period in the game and Woods broke from a Crooklands corner, fed Porter who returned the ball over the top and Mark was clear but he failed to take advantage and his final shot was well off target. Grimshaw headed a ball onto Alex Porter but his shot from the edge of the area was wide. Then, just before half time, after a good run by Woods, Glyn Caine had to head the ball over his own cross bar.
Crooklands had the benefit of the wind in the second half and created a number of good chances. However, it was Charnock with the first threat, Woods heading a right wing corner wide at the near post. Then Mansergh had a powerful run in from the left along the bye line and Bates did well to block his shot and then dive onto the loose ball. Alex Randell was having a very influential impact in midfield with his ability to always be available to receive the ball and pick a pass and he started a great move down the right on 57 minutes which saw Bamber have to save from Andy Roberts when Jamie Sanderson centred. It was the first of a number of excellent saves from the Cumbrian stopper in the second period. Unfortunately at this point Randell had to go off with an injury and David Prout came on. When Crooklands made another break Norgate was struggling to contain the attack but Hayton was back to roll the ball back to Bates. Two minutes later there was a fine save from Bamber, throwing out an arm to turn the ball away when Grimshaw was allowed a free header from another Sanderson centre. Charnock were now carving out chances but the visitors were not by any means out of the game and there was still a feeling that the game could go either way. Sanderson had to stretch and consequently could only shoot wide when the ball fell to him in the six yard box. Crooklands then had an excellent chance to level the scores when Stephen Caskie got on the end of a left wing centre but from right in front of goal he headed over the bar. Charnock then withdrew Andy Roberts and Alex Porter with Jack Bennett and David Burrows replacing them. On 69 minutes Mansergh got in on the left but his shot from the angle was off target. As the game entered the final 20 minutes a long throw from the left gave Grimshaw another clear header but again Bamber was up for it to again turn the ball away and it just a eluded Bennett in the six yard box. Crooklands then produced a fine shot that hit the cross bar and then flew out for a goal kick. Another snap shot from Caskie was just off target as both sides continued to threaten. There was then a change in formation with Jamie Sanderson dropped to full back with Bibby moving forward into midfield. The game up to this point had been very entertaining but the final 10 minutes were especially tasty with Bibby curling in a shot from distance on the left that just dropped on to the top of the net. Then when Grimshaw fed substitute Burrows his lob from 30 yards only just cleared the bar. Chris Wraighte had a powerful shot deflected wide as Crooklands continued to put in a strong finish to the game. Burrows shot straight at Bamber and then on 89 minutes Grimshaw failed to capitalise when a defender missed a header and the ball dropped to him right in front of goal. Only seconds later however a rash tackle in the corner of the penalty area saw Burrows floored and CARL GRIMSHAW stepped up to score from the spot and confirm his position of leading goal scorer in the Premier Division for the second season running. Despite going two goals down Crooklands continued to push forward but it was disappointing for Robert Bamber in goal after all his heroics when a shot from distance from BURROWS deceived him, maybe it was the sun, in the third and last minute of added time. Crooklands would be very disappointed with the final score, it didn't reflect the contribution that they had made to an excellent game of football. Both teams had been intent on playing football and consequently the referee did not have to produce one card throughout this enthralling encounter. It is difficult to see how Crooklands Casuals are not finishing the season in the top half of the table both Charnock’s encounters with them this season have been tight games and last season they were the team that ended Charnock’s unbeaten run of league games that had lasted for over 12 months.
Charnock now have to concentrate on completing the league and cup double, a feat that they accomplished last season. They meet Fleetwood Hesketh in the Richardson Cup final at The County Ground, Leyland on Wednesday 22nd April Kick off 7.30pm.
The Charnock Academy have also won through to a cup final, the William Shakespeare Trophy but unfortunately the game is on the same evening at Irongate, home of Bamber Bridge, kick off is the same at 7.30pm. Supporters have the difficult choice of which game to attend. At least one member of the committee has decided to go to this game and hopefully he will be burning the midnight oil producing a match report for the benefit of all those supporters that decide to go to Leyland.
Saturday 25th April will see Charnock’s last game of the season when they are hosts to Slyne With Hest, kick off is the usual 3.00pm. The game has an added interest because if the visitors can collect all three points they will finish as runners up to Charnock in the table.