Charnock won 4-1 against Thornton Cleveleys. Alex Randell, David Burrows, Mark Adams and Jack Bennett scored the goals.
Patrik Bibby and Ryan Donnellan scored the goals that gave the Reserves a 2-0 win at Thornton Cleveleys.
The Academy ran in seven goals without conceding at bottom of the table Burscough Bridge. Joe Burton 2, Connor Hegerty, Joe Singleton, Callum Sheehan, Sam Roberts, Andrew Barnes found the net.
Charnock Ricahrd 4 Thornton Cleveleys 1
Saturday 26th September 2015 West Lancashire League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 4
THORNTON CLEVELEYS 1
Team: Gavin Bates, Spencer Bibby, Matt Ashcroft, Oliver Vaults, Josh Norgate, Mike Fletcher, Jack Bennett, Alex Randell, Mark Adams (Carl Grimshaw 74), David Burrows, Lewis Swarbrick (Jamie Sanderson 73) Subs: (Not Used) Damian Dashti, David Prout, Ryan Schofield.
This win with 10 of the 30 scheduled fixtures completed saw Charnock Richard move back to the top of the table. With two thirds of the league games yet to be played it remains important that the Villagers remain focused if they are to remain in the running for the championship. Thornton Cleveleys finished bottom of the pile last season and they only escaped relegation because the Premier Division was below strength last term and Turton, who finished second in Division 1, missed out on promotion because their ground did not meet Step 7 requirements. It is a different story this season because the summer months were spent overhauling the playing staff and consequently they now have a team that is capable of competing at this level and in this game they provided a stiff challenge for Charnock. The Villagers were two goals to the good in the first 22 minutes but Thornton could consider themselves unlucky to be facing an uphill struggle after a very even opening to the game. Charnock made it 3-0 just before the break but the visitors immediately fought back to reduce the arrears. The second half remained competitive with Charnock only adding to their goal tally in the final minute of the game.
Charnock made one change from the side that started at Burnley United the previous week Lewis Swarbrick started in preference to Jamie Sanderson who was on the bench. Also returning, and joining Damian Dashti and David Prout on the bench, were Carl Grimshaw who was still carrying a knock from the Shield tie two weeks previously and Ryan Schofield who had been ill.
It was a fine autumnal afternoon with little wind as the game kicked off with Charnock playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation End. Thornton saw plenty of the ball in the opening quarter of an hour, Harry Rowe headed a Willetts free kick over the bar before the latter player broke on the left but shot wide from a good position. At the other end Mark Adams and David Burrows looked dangerous with their pace. Alex Randell likes to be involved all over the pitch taking corners and free kicks and he gave the Villagers the lead on 17 minutes, his right wing corner was cleared out for another corner and the second time his in-swinging effort went through the hands of keeper Mark Smith into the net. This was an unusual mistake from a keeper who was at Wren Rovers last season but has previously thwarted Charnock a number of times whilst playing previously for Thornton. Disappointed but not dismayed the visitors immediately fought back and Gavin Bates had to turn an effort from Noble over the bar. Another neat move on 22 minutes started by Spencer Bibby saw Charnock increase their lead, Randell cut across the edge of the area fed BURROWS and he shot just inside the post. The game continued to be very open with both sides producing some neat football, Adams had a chance to increase the lead on 27 minutes, a lovely diagonal ball from Burrows put Adams in but he shot wide. The visitors should have pulled a goal back on 29 minutes when a misplaced pass from Charnock saw three visiting players up against Oliver Vaults but he kept his head and a well-timed tackle saw the ball out for a throw in. Randell shot straight at Smith before Joel Khambey, for the visitors, headed past the post from a corner. The end to end play continued and when Charnock attacked again Burrows had a shot blocked, Bennett saw his effort from the rebound beaten away by Smith and Adams then shot wide. Charnock’s best move of the match on 35 minutes finished with Randell putting Burrows in but Smith saved his shot. Bibby then found Adams on the right of the six yard box he evaded two defenders but Smith anticipated his shot and made a fine save. Ashcroft then had to be alert to get across to clear a centre after Noble got past Bibby on the right. Charnock increased their lead on 42 minutes, they broke forward after a Thornton corner and another great ball from Burrows sent Adams in from the right, Smith diverted his shot onto the underside of the bar and the ball bounced down over the line. Thornton immediately attacked and an unnecessary free kick was conceded out on the Charnock right and when the free kick came in the defence failed to deal with it and Noble found the net under the diving body of Bates. At half time the visitors remained very much in the game.
Obviously reminded over the interval that they could still get something from the game Thornton remained competitive throughout the second half and Charnock could never really relax believing that the game was won. However, the home defence, despite having to make a number of changes over the first two months of the season, remains very solid and the visitors again struggled to create chances whilst at the other end Charnock continued to look likely to add to their lead. Burrows and Swarbrick both produced shots on target but Smith, not fazed by his previous error, made sure that he was not beaten. Thornton again saw plenty of the ball but their only real chance of reducing the arrears came on 75 minutes when Noble held off Norgate but could not manage to beat Bates with his shot. Jamie Sanderson replaced Swarbrick and then Carl Grimshaw came on for Adams and he immediately tested Smith with a shot from the edge of the area. It all looked as if the final score would be a 3-1 win for Charnock but from a throw in on the right in the 90th minute BENNETT hit a shot from the corner of the penalty area that found the far corner of the net, it would appear that Smith was put off by the nearby presence of Grimshaw. The keeper then, in added time, managed to turn a powerful shot from Grimshaw onto the underside of the bar from where it bounced out and was cleared.
This was another decisive home win by Charnock which will please, in particular, manager Andy Westwell who commented earlier this week on the continuing number of changes he is having to make each week due to players unavailability. Liam Hayton remains on the sidelines having suffered a groin injury at Euxton back in early August and Mark Woods’ progress continues to be slow as he tries to throw off a knee problem picked up against Wren Rovers at the end of last month. Gavin Bates, in goal, however continues to produce some excellent saves and his ability to marshal the defence in front of him whoever is filling the defensive positions means that once again the goals against column in the league table is by far the lowest of any team in the division. Josh Norgate signed for the club upon his return from Australia at the turn of the year and he has taken over the captain’s role and produced some impressive performances at centre back this term. Both Oliver Vaulks and Ross O’Farrell have played alongside him in the absence of Hayton and have proved to be solid performers. Vaulks is not the tallest and most powerfully built of centre backs but he is quick into the tackle and wins most of his headers. Mark Adams, a previous player at the club, has come in and has provided an alternative up front when Carl Grimshaw has been absent. He should continue to make a major contribution as the season progresses.
As we move into October it is the Lancashire Amateur Shield which becomes the next important fixture with a tantalising home second round game against Fulwood Amateurs on Saturday 3rd October. Note that this tie kicks off at 3.00pm not the 2.00pm scheduled for all the other games.