A 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Longridge Town saw Charnock move through to the semi-finals of the Lancashire Amateur Shield. The score after 90 minutes was 1-1 with Carl Grimshaw scoring the goal.
The Reserves lost 2-0 at table topping Fulwood Amateurs.
The Academy game at Ribble Wanderers was postponed
Charnock Richard 1 Longridge Town 1
Saturday 14th November 2015 Lancashire FA Amateur Shield QF
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
LONGRIDGE TOWN 1
(Charnock won 6-5 on penalties)
Team: Gavin Bates, Spencer Bibby, Damian Dashti (Ross O’Farrell 90), Oliver Vaulks, Matt Ashcroft, Josh Norgate, Danny Smith (Jamie Sanderson 62), Lewis Swarbrick, Carl Grimshaw, Mark Adams, Mark Woods (Jack Bennett 83). Subs: (Not Used) David Prout, Jordan Murdoch.
This, as expected, was an enthralling Lancashire Amateur Shield tie with both sides committed to attack and there was plenty of excitement for the 153 spectators who braved a wet, miserable November afternoon. The only disappointment was that the tie had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. After 90 minutes of intense football, with Longridge for 80 minutes of that time having to play with only 10 men, the tie was locked at 1-1. For many years since it’s interception over 100 years ago the game would have gone to a replay at Longridge with extra time if necessary and if the tie had still not been decided there would a replay on a neutral ground. Now a result is required after one game, why? The LFA have chosen to reduce the number of the clubs eligible to enter the Lancashire Amateur Shield in recent years so there are not so many rounds to play anyway.
Longridge will be very disappointed not to be in the draw for the semi-finals because after Charnock had taken the lead in the first half they dominated the play in the second period. However, it took a penalty for them to equalise and when it came to the shoot-out they failed to score with their seventh penalty and Charnock as 6-5 winners were through to join Royton Town and Poulton in the semi-final draw. The other tie between Turton and Blackpool Wren Rovers was postponed.
There were a number of changes to the Charnock line-up following the 3-3 draw with Garstang two weeks previously, Mike Fletcher was suspended, David Burrows was out with a back problem and Jamie Sanderson, Jack Bennett and Ross O’Farrell were all relegated to the bench. In came Matt Ashcroft and Oliver Vaulks as central defenders, the team were pleased to welcome back Mark Woods who had been out with a knee injury since August. Danny Smith started his first game for three years having recently returned to the club and Mark Adams, returning after injury, partnered Carl Grimshaw up front.
Both Longridge and Charnock have been knocking the goals in all season, both teams averaging nearly four goals a game in the league but the Charnock defence had been decidedly off colour in their previous three game conceding 11 goals. So there was plenty to suggest that this would be a high scoring tie but despite plenty of goalmouth incident some excellent goalkeeping and high quality defending, that resorted to desperation at times, ensured that both sides could only find the net once each.
Would the game be played was the query on both teams supporters lips on the Saturday morning, a 10.30am pitch inspection declared the pitch playable but with heavy rain forecast would it still be in a suitable condition come 3.00pm? Well the match did go ahead and it was played almost throughout in pouring rain and the pitch will need considerable careful, tender care if it is to be fit for a game the following week but basically there is no doubt that the game should have gone ahead.
The game kicked off with Charnock playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end and they were straight into the attack. Smith made progress on the right and Grimshaw had the ball nicked off his toe just as he was about to shoot. A right wing corner saw a Grimshaw header drop just beyond the far post. Longridge came into the game and a back post header from a right wing corner saw Damian Dashti clear the ball off the line. There was an opinion that the ball had crossed the line and Keiran Walmsley’s comment about the assistant referee resulted in him receiving a straight red card after only 11 minutes. It was a real blow for the visitors but they were not put off by the decision and in all honesty their lack of numbers did not affect their performance which was a real credit to them. Play swung from end to end. Danny Wilkinson got clear on 16 minutes and only a last ditch tackle by Olly Vaulks saved the day. A Charnock right wing corner should have created a couple of opportunities before Charnock took the lead on 23 minutes, A ball down the right saw Adams produce a cross and when the ball eventually came to CARL GRIMSHAW he curled a shot just inside the post. When Smith got down the right again and crossed Adams missed his kick. Ex-Charnock player Sam Nightingale delivered a cross from the left but McKenna’s header was an easy save for Bates. Charnock then had two shots blocked before Bibby shot over the bar. At other end Bates did well to save a Brad Carsley shot. An Adams’ shot then hit Grimshaw in the area but Woods could only fire the rebound over the bar. Just before half time a good build up involving Bibby and Adams put Grimshaw through and he beat Hind in the goal only to be flagged offside. There was doubt about the validity of the assistant referee’s decision but like the earlier incident although the result of games often hinge on these judgements they have to be accepted.
It had been a very entertaining first half and there had been little between the sides despite the visitors’ reduced numbers. There was a comment at half time comparing Longridge’s performance in the second half in the league game played previously in the season when they had again been reduced to 10 men and they had come out and dominated the play. On that occasion Charnock had had a two goal lead and the match finished 2-1. History repeated itself and there was a similar performance in this match, Longridge having plenty of possession in the final 45 minutes leaving Charnock relying on breaks to threaten the visitor’s goal. Longridge replaced Nightingale with Jordan Tucker for the second half. After some recent very disappointing defensive performances the home defence appeared to recover some of their earlier season confidence and despite Longridge surging forward at all opportunities they created very few goal chances. Brad Carsley produced a powerful shot that saw Bates do well to turn around the post and the keeper produced another excellent save late in the game to get down to a shot after a Longridge free kick.
The speed of Adams up front provided a constant threat for Charnock despite their lack of possession and but for two fine saves from Matthew Hind in the visiting goal they may well have won the game within the 90 minutes. He did really well to get his finger tips to a Grimshaw powerful shot to turn the ball over the bar after Adams had sped down the right.
He then made an excellent save getting down to save a Grimshaw snap shot. There was a strong shout for a penalty when a visiting player went down in the area but there was no doubt about the spot kick when Ashcroft caught McKenna in the box after 68 minutes. Brad Carsley made no mistake from the penalty spot and the game was all square. Longridge should have taken the lead three minute later, Joe Melling got to the by-line on the right and his cross to the back post looked easy for Jordan Bowen to head home but his effort went wide. On such incidents hang the result of matches! Neither side could score a winning goal in the final minutes of the game so it was down to a penalty shoot-out.
Both sides converted their first four penalties but when Jack Bennett’s effort was saved by Hind it looked odds on that Charnock would go out of the competition. Gavin Bates, however, had other ideas and he saved Joe Melling’s shot. Lewis Swarbrick and Jamie Sanderson both found the net with excellent shots before the unlucky Troy Carsley saw his effort knocked away by Bates. The quality of the shoot-out had been excellent, every penalty had been on target but it was very disappointing to decide a match between two committed sides in this manner. So Charnock Richard, under the rules of the competition, move through to the semi-finals.
One of the highlights of the match for the home supporters had been to see Mark Woods back on the pitch, a lively first half saw him understandably tire in the second and he was replaced by Jack Bennett after 83 minutes. Danny Smith also provided a real threat on the right before Jamie Sanderson came on to replace him in the second half. Liam Hayton remains on the injured list, his return from a groin injury back in August has suffered a set back. With almost all the first team squad now free of injury manager Andy Westwell has plenty of choice in his selections as Charnock look to get back into league action in the coming weeks. The semi-finals of the Lancashire Amateur Shield are not usually scheduled until well into the New Year.
Saturday 21st November sees Charnock travel to Wateringpool Lane where, bottom of the table, Lostock St Gerard’s are their opponents. Note the kick off time of 2.00pm, no floodlights at this venue.