A review of the 2014/15 season is now available under the Match Report heading.
Season 2014/15 Review
Season 2013/14 was such a success for Charnock Richard with both the First Team and the Reserves winning their leagues and cups that it always was going to be difficult in the 2014/15 season to beat or even match these achievements. As it was the club has had a very successful season but has not won as many trophies as in the previous campaign. The First Team matched their previous season success retaining both the championship and the Richardson Cup trophies but the Reserves failed to finish in the top two in their league and were knocked out of the Houston Cup in the early rounds.
Having had a relatively settled squad for the previous three seasons there were few changes to the First Team squad. Brothers John and Jamie Sanderson returned from Lostock St Gerard’s and Ian Dickinson arrived from Hesketh Bank. Jack Bennett who had come up through the club’s junior football section also moved up into the First Team squad. Matt Mawdesley another former player who had come up through the Junior Section and who had returned from Coppull United late in the previous season also started the campaign in the First Team squad.
There was a major blow when Craig Banks suffered a reoccurrence of a groin problem in the Villagers first pre-season friendly game. It was an injury that was to keep him out of the side almost until Christmas. New signing Ian Dickinson, due to his cricket commitments with Chorley CC, would not be available until late September. David Fisher had also re-signed and joined in the preseason training but his cricket commitments, as usual, meant that he was also not available until late September.
The Wilf Carr Memorial Trophy match which pitches the champions against the cup winners was the pre-season challenge and because Charnock had won both trophies the league committee decided that Blackpool Wren Rovers as runners up in the league would be Charnock’s opponents. Wrens turned up with a number of additions to their squad and went away with the trophy after a 3-2 victory. Defeat in this match is rapidly becoming a habit as having now played in the competition four times Charnock have only won the trophy once.
When “Player of the Season” Mark Woods went off injured in the first half of the opening league fixture against Fleetwood Hesketh there was little indication that Charnock would be without one of their important players until the New Year. Matt Mawdesley also suffered an injury in August that saw him miss the remainder of the season.
Once the season started Blackpool Wren Rovers set the pace at the top of the table and with maximum points from their first nine games Charnock struggled to keep in touch. The Villagers lost their first points when Longridge Town visited Mossie Park at the end of August and they departed with a well-deserved point from a 3-3 draw. Charnock were struggling to field the same team from game to game, injuries, holidays and work commitments meant that manager Andy Westwell was having to make last minute decisions regarding his starting line ups. A particular problem was a lack of central defenders with a number of players having to be asked to play in this position. A couple of new signings John Hardiker and Gerard Morris and former Charnock youngster Luke Gibson all made fleeting appearances before deciding that their future lay elsewhere. Ashley Young, early in the season, departed to play in the Northern Premier League with Padiham and Danial Hogg, at the end of October, decided that he wanted to return to Euxton Villa. There was a further major blow before the side travelled to Garstang at the end of September John Sanderson had dislocated his knee on the previous Sunday. John tried to make a comeback twice but failed and he now needs major surgery on his knee so he will not be available for the foreseeable future. It was disappointing to lose a player with the talent that John possesses, he signed for Charnock in April 2001 and his remarkable career at the club has only been over shadowed by Andy Roberts.
To put the cap on a disappointing day Charnock lost their first league game of the season at Garstang 2-1 which left Charnock five points behind league leaders Wren Rovers. The defeat led to a very disappointing October. On the following Saturday Charnock were knocked out in the second round of the Lancashire Amateur Shield by neighbours Coppull United.
With the cricket season now finished both Ian Dickinson and David Fisher were available for the game at Crooklands Casuals early in October which Charnock won. Ian made seven appearances before returning to Hesketh Bank. Following a 2-2 home draw with Euxton Villa Charnock were trailing Wren Rovers by seven points in the table when they turned up for the important game at Mossie Park on 1st November. The game was another land mark in the history of the club it was the first league game to be played under the newly erected floodlights. All home league games between November and the end of January kicked off at 3.00pm rather than the 2.00pm time of most of the other games in the division. Charnock were down to a bare 14 players against Wrens but a dogged performance saw the Villagers win 1-0. However, they produced a disappointing performance the following week when they went to bottom of the table Eagley and lost 2-1. Team confidence was at low ebb and the strikers were just not finding the target with numerous chances being missed. Alex Porter and Mike Fletcher had now left to play for Nelson and out of the squad that had started the season nine players were now unavailable for selection for one reason or another.
The team went to Thornton Cleveleys on 25th October and produced their poorest display of the season, heading for a 1-0 defeat the Thornton goalkeeper collapsed in the third minute of what was going to be five minutes of added time. Delay to the arrival of professional medical assistance resulted in the match being abandoned. The game was replayed later in the season and Charnock won 6-0! So what would have been a run of only one win in seven games turned out to be only one in six. A lucky let off and at this point of the season a real bonus for Charnock.
The visit to Fleetwood Hesketh the following week and a 2-1 win saw the season turn around for Charnock. They went on an unbeaten run until the end of the season that included winning 14 consecutive games, a record for the team since it joined the West Lancashire League back in 1993. Craig Banks finally overcame his groin problem and returned for selection immediately before Christmas. Mark Woods declared himself fit in early January and both players went on to show how much they had been missed.
With Charnock now in the ascendancy Wren Rovers after their storming start to the season were now finding the going much tougher and Charnock, following their 3-1 home win over Coppull United on 20th December, took over at the top of the table and remained there for the remainder of the season.
Two players that had been playing in Australia on their return indicated their intention just before Christmas to sign for the club once their international clearance had been obtained. Alex Randell had previously played for the club back between 2008 and 2010 but Josh Norgate had spent most of his career at Hesketh Bank before travelling abroad. With all the formalities completed both players were registered with the league early in the New Year. Alex Randell’s appearances this season were restricted to only three due to work commitments but Josh soon became a regular starter in the defence and even contributed two goals as the side went on to success. His performances in the final games of the season as a central defender made a real impact.
The New Year saw Charnock back on form and full of confidence and producing some convincing wins whilst Wrens were failing to win maximum points. The home game against Thornton Cleveleys on 21st February produced another record for the club. Charnock won 7-2 and Carl Grimshaw scored all seven goals. No-one in the recent history of the club had scored this many goals in a game. BBC Five Live noted the feat and Carl was interviewed live on the 606 show that evening.
By Saturday 21st March it was apparent that our nearest challengers for the title were now Slyne With Hest. On this date Charnock won the title after their 3-0 home win over Hesketh Bank. It was not realised that Charnock were in an unassailable position at the top of the table at the final whistle but when the result of Slyne’s match at Burnley came through the title was ours again because they had lost 2-0.
With the title heading to Charnock for the fourth season in succession the final challenge was to retain the Richardson Cup. Matched against Thornton Cleveleys at Mossie Park in the first round of the Richardson Cup once again the match was abandoned, again for an injury to a Thornton player. This time Charnock were winning 1-0. The tie was finally replayed early in February with Charnock recording an easy win. The second round tie was also initially postponed and that resulted in the last three rounds being played in April. Charnock beat Burnley United at home and then had a tough semi-final match against Blackpool Wren Rovers at Lostock St Gerard’s Ground and won 2-1. The final at The County Ground, Leyland saw Fleetwood Hesketh defeated 2-1 and Charnock were presented with the trophy again.
The season has really been a roller coaster this time but once again the club can thank the players for their dedication and their resilience particularly when things were going wrong back in the autumn.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bates has been an ever present since he arrived back in August 2013 and has made 70 appearances. He has been one of the main reasons why Charnock have only conceded 21 league goals this season. This is another record, the previous best being 28 against in the 1995/6 season. Not only does Gavin produce some superb saves he is excellent at organising the defence, constantly issuing instructions.
Liam Hayton has had another tremendous season producing excellent performances despite having to play with a number of different partners in central defence. Liam arrived at the club back in 2008 as a free scoring forward but he has made the majority of his 225 appearances in defence. He really stood out in the autumn when the team were struggling for defenders.
Damian Dashti, whilst getting on in years, has again produced consistent performances. Damian is another player who has been at the club for many years coming up through the Junior Section. Spencer Bibby another player who has come up through the junior section consolidated his place at right back.
Craig Banks joined the club back in 2008 and has made 168 appearances and his presence back in the team from December helped the Villagers in their winning run to the title.
Ross O’Farrell yet another player who has come through the ranks at Charnock made 22 appearances and showed his versatility by playing in all four positions at the back.
After returning to the club in 2010 Mike Fletcher had been a regular starter but an offer to play at Nelson lured him away in October. He came back to make a substitute appearance in the Richardson Cup semi-final. His departure provided a chance for David Fisher to make his mark in the number 6 shirt an opportunity that he took with both hands and he made a valuable contribution to the side’s late drive to win the title.
Jamie Sanderson is a player full of energy and his return to the club was welcomed, there were times when his commitment in midfield made a major contribution to a vital win. His performance against Wren Rovers in November comes to mind.
Jack Bennett at only 22 hopefully has many years left in his career; this was his first season playing at this level. He has had to warm the bench for a good number of matches but his overall performances have been very encouraging and he has definitely established himself at this level.
Alex Porter has been around the local football scene for a good number of years. Late to start this season he was the first player to move to Nelson but he returned to make a late contribution in the Richardson Cup and the final league games of the season.
Danny Nolan struggled to recapture the form that he showed when he joined the club at the start of the previous season. A major injury in January 2014 ruled him out of the remainder of that season and most of his appearances this term were from the substitute’s bench. He left late in the season to spend the remainder of the year coaching in the USA.
David Burrows has had his injury problems over the years since he joined the club back in 2010 but this season has been very successful for him as he has been largely injury free and that has given him a chance to appear regularly in the team. His speed up front provides a constant threat to opposing defences, he has not perhaps scored as many goals as he would have liked but his partnership with Carl Grimshaw has worked well, he has taken a lot of the pressure off Carl who has maintained his reputation of being a fantastic striker and this term he has notched another 45 goals and once again has finished as the leading scorer in the Premier Division. With 203 goals from 188 appearances since his arrival back in 2009 it is an amazing record.
The 2013/14 season saw Mark Woods sign for the club and make an impact on the team and it was disappointing when what seemed such a minor injury kept him out of the team for so long. However upon his return he soon made clear, if it was ever in doubt, of his importance to the team, plenty of enthusiasm and a never say die attitude on the pitch along with boundless energy meant that his return gave the side the impetus that it needed to go and claim the title.
Another excellent final season for Club Captain Andy Roberts who made his debut for Charnock Richard in the 3-1 defeat at Springfields on Saturday 12th August 1995. In his 20 year career at the club Andy has scored 352 goals including 12 Hat-tricks. He has made 503 full league appearances and 28 from the bench knocking in a remarkable 262 goals from midfield. In the Lancashire Amateur Shield he recorded 73 appearances plus two as a substitute scoring 39 goals. The Richardson Cup appearances are 46 with an additional 6 from the bench with 29 goals and he made a minimum of 47 full appearances and five from the bench in the Goldline Trophy and he scored 22 goals. These statistics are the known appearances. Records of the Charnock teams in two seasons of competition in the Lancashire Amateur Shield are not available and he may have played in a couple of games in the early years of the Goldline Trophy of which no records exist.
His highest number of goals in a season was 31 in season 2001/2. In a four further seasons he recorded over 20 goals and his poorest season for finding the net was 2009/10 when he only scored nine goals. Some people said that he was finished! This season he has made 27 full appearances and five on the bench scoring 14 goals. All together a remarkable achievement at one club. The club once again wish to thank him for his loyalty and all the commitment that he has brought to the team. It is difficult to envisage his record ever being beaten.
The Reserves squad this season has changed significantly from the side that did the double last term. Captain Ian Billington moved to Euxton Villa and one of the leading scorers Lewis Grimshaw transferred to Coppull United. A good number of youngsters have come up into the squad from the academy side and Ryan Donnellan the league’s highest scorer last season has not had as much success finding the net. Nevertheless the Reserves were well on their way to finishing as runners up but a loss of form in the final games of the season allowed Blackpool Wren Rovers to leap frog them and finish in second place.
The young Academy side have had a fantastic season, their performances improving as the season progressed and few supporters would have guessed at the start of the season that they would have been competing for the top spot in May. The side have now completed all their fixtures and are guaranteed at least the runners up spot. PLCC Nomads have not yet completed all their fixtures and from their remaining four matches they required seven points if they are to finish in the top position in the table. For a squad packed with teenagers it has been a remarkable performance.
Credit and thanks must be recorded to all our team management members. General manager Andy Westwell sets a high standard and once again managers, assistants and coaches have all put in an enormous amount of effort. Dave Haslam, Andy Pendlebury and “Chipper” Chippendale along with physio Martin Iddon, when he has been in England, have once again been rewarded for their efforts with the First Team with two trophies. Z Pearson, Steve Hart and James Berry have had the Reserves competing at the top of the table and Karl Colman and Paul Charnley have been remarkably successful with the academy.
Finally thanks to all the hardworking committee men without all their efforts there would not be a club. Thanks also to all our supporters who follow the team, many home and away.