Charnock Richard drew 3-3 with Garstang with goals from Lewis Swarbrick, David Burrows and Carl Grimshaw (penalty).
The Reserves lost 3-1 at Garstang, Patrik Bibby scoring the goal.
The Academy did not have a fixture.
Charnock Richard 3 Garstang 3
Saturday 31st October 2015, West Lancs League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
Team: Gavin Bates, Spencer Bibby, Damian Dashti, Ross O’Farrell (Danny Smith 74), Josh Norgate, Mike Fletcher, Jamie Sanderson (Jordan Murdoch 63), Jack Bennett, Carl Grimshaw, David Burrows, Lewis Swarbrick (Oliver Grundy 80). Subs: (Not Used) Oliver Vaulks.
Garstang will have left Mossie Park very aggrieved that they did not inflict Charnock’s first league home defeat since late August 2012 and their anger will be justified because the penalty from which Charnock equalized in the 94th minute should never have been awarded. It was a Charnock player that handled in the area. For the third home game on the trot the Villager’s defence shipped goals and when Garstang took a 3-1 lead in the 66th minute it looked as if Charnock’s long standing unbeaten run at home was about to finish. However the never-say-die attitude of the home side players resulted in them reducing the lead on 83 minutes before the late, late penalty salvaged for them what was perhaps an undeserved point.
Charnock had David Prout and Matt Ashcroft missing from the side that won through to the quarter finals of the Lancashire Amateur Shield the previous week. Damian Dashti came in at left back and Jamie Sanderson started in midfield. Oliver Vaulks and Jordan Murdoch were on the bench along with Reserve Team player Oliver Grundy, making his first appearance in the squad, and the newly signed Danny Smith who came up through the club’s Junior Section but last played in the First Team back in 2012.
It was an overcast but mild afternoon and the game started with Garstang kicking off playing towards the Charter Lane end of the ground. The Garstang line up has plenty of height and they produced a performance that saw them defensively sound and with the whole team played as a unit. Charnock have lost some of their rhythm in the last few weeks and defensively, rather surprisingly, have become very vulnerable. The three goals conceded in this match means that they have shipped 11 goals in their last three games.
The early stages of the game saw both sides testing each other out; Jack Bennett had the first Charnock shot on goal but it lacked power and Dan Curwen in the visiting goal saved easily. Garstang took the lead on eight minutes O’Farrell won the ball on the right but immediately gave it away and when the ball was swung out to Matty Bell on the opposite flank he had a clear run on goal, Bates took most of the pace off the shot and Josh Norgate chased back onto the line but he was just too late to get the ball clear and it rolled over the line. Charnock picked up their game and began to dominate but there could have been a second goal for Garstang but a header from a corner just went wide. At the other end Grimshaw laid off a Burrows cross to Swarbrick but his shot was straight at Curwen. Then another Swarbrick shot was deflected and Curwen did really well to palm away a ball that was heading for the top corner of the net. Charnock equalized on 14 minutes, Burrows set Dashti up on the left and SWARBRICK headed past Curwen from his diagonal cross. Bates then had to go full length to keep out a powerful shot from Birch before Ross O’Farrell and Josh Norgate both went for the same header and missed the ball. Liam Breslin was clear but Gavin Bates dived to block his shot and was up quickly to gather the ball before the big striker could follow up. On 26 minutes a Dashti centre fizzed across the face of the goal right in front of a surprised Carl Grimshaw who made no move to make contact. Mike Fetcher started a great move into the visitor’s penalty area that finished with the flying Spencer Bibby firing into the side netting from the corner of the six yard box. Charnock had looked the more likely side to have taken the lead at this stage of the game but it was the visitors who went in at the interval leading 2-1. On 43 minutes Bates got a strong hand to a shot but failed to divert the ball over the bar and it dropped almost on the goal line and Breslin was adjudged to have knocked the ball over the line in the tussle that resulted. There was still time for Grimshaw to hit a powerful free kick just past the post from a free kick on the edge of the area after Jack Bennett had been fouled.
Charnock had it all to do in the second half but some solid defending along with a little luck frustrated the homesters for much of the final 45 minutes. Liam Breslin operating alone up front proved to be a constant handful for the home defenders and whilst Charnock shaded possession there was plenty of threat from the visitors. A hand ball from O’Farrell after more confusion in the home defence on 54 minutes resulted in a free kick from the edge of the area flying over the bar. Grimshaw was unlucky not to level the scores on 61 minutes when he spun on the edge of the area but his shot came back of a post. Jordan Murdoch replaced Jamie Sanderson after 63 minutes. The home defence was again all over the place on 66 minutes and a weak header out was picked up and the ball immediately played out to Bell who beat Bates from the left hand side of the penalty area. 3-1 down Charnock now had a mountain to climb if they were to get anything from the game. Charnock, on 74 minutes, as usual in these circumstances abandoned defence in a quest to save the game with forward Danny Smith coming on for defender Ross O’Farrell. A minute later it could have been even worse for the villagers but Bates made another good save, initially stopping the shot and then getting back to collect the ball on the goal line fractionally before Breslin. Oliver Grundy made his debut on 80 minutes replacing Lewis Swarbrick and despite his small stature Oliver is capable of producing long throw-ins and this caught out the Garstang defence in the 83rd minute. His throw from the right bounced in front of goal and BURROWS under pressure at the back post head home. Charnock were back in the game and Grimshaw just failed to get a proper contact on the ball after a good move down the right as Charnock went for the equalizer. Garstang looked like hanging on as the game went into added time but there was a strong shout for a penalty when a Murdoch shot hit an out stretched arm before, with three minutes of added time showing, came the controversial hand ball and GRIMSHAW fired home from the penalty spot.
It had been another high scoring game at Mossie Park, the third in succession and Charnock had been far below the standard of football they had been producing earlier in the season. However, let us not take anything from Garstang who battled away throughout the game they certainly look a side on the up but it is not surprising that teams play out for their skins when they visit Mossie Park, in recent seasons Charnock have been the side to beat with all their success.
Charnock need to recover their previous defensive performances and with Liam Hayton due back in training this week after being missing with a groin injury since the second game of the season there is hope that he will provide the steadying influence at the back. Mark Woods, also absent since the beginning of August with a knee injury, was able to join in the pre-match warm up and he should be back in action in the next few weeks.
Finally, we should not forget referee John Leeson he certainly will not be on the Christmas card list of Garstang FC this year but he is not the first official to have made a mistake, there have been a number at the top level of football this season. We need these people willing to come and officiate otherwise football games cannot go ahead. Garstang will be feeling particularly hard done by after this game but I wager that sometime in the future they will be the beneficiaries of a wrong decision and the boot will be on the other foot.
Next Saturday 7th November sees Charnock back at Euxton Villa in the first round of the Richardson Cup note the kick off is 2.00pm.