Charnock beat Ashton Town 3-0 at Mossie Park with Mark Adams, Spencer Bibby and Carl Grimshaw scoring the goals.
Charnock Richard 3 Ashton Town 0
Saturday 10th December 2016 - Hallmark Security League Division 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
ASHTON TOWN 0
Team: Gavin Bates, Ross O’Farrell, Josh Norgate (Anthony Hough 57), Mike Fletcher, Luke Gibson (Damian Dashti 65), Lewis Swarbrick, Spencer Bibby, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Oliver Evans, Mark Adams. Sub: (Not Used) Danny Marland.
Ashton Town arrived at Mossie Park having collected only four points from 19 games residing in 22nd place in the table and desperate to win points to avoid possible relegation. The side was much changed from the players who lost 5-1 at home to Charnock back on 1st October. In an attempt to thwart the Villagers they lined up with three central defenders and five in midfield but in reality it was five across the back. The formation was successful for almost the entire first half largely due to dogged defending, plenty of luck and most importantly some excellent goalkeeping from Joe Clements. Charnock’s defeat the previous week against Widnes was largely down to failing to take chances and the first half saw a similar outcome with the deadlock only being broken in first half added time. Two goals early in the second period ensured that the home side collected the three points leaving the visitors to depart looking for success elsewhere.
There were two changes to the side that won 5-2 at Cheadle Town on the previous Wednesday, Gavin Bates came in for Adam Halton, who was nursing a minor groin problem, and Lewis Swarbrick replaced the absent David Prout. Danny Marland had recovered from the illness that had seen him miss out in midweek and he was on the bench with Damian Dashti and Anthony Hough. It was a mild afternoon overcast early on but heavy rain set in after the interval and Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end. Once again there was a healthy attendance with 118 paying to watch.
Nathan Fairhurst had been named as the Division 1 Player of the Month for November in the week, a deserved reward for the consistently excellent performances that he has produced so far in this his first season at the club and once again he was at the centre of most of the excellent football again produced by Charnock in this game. As expected the home side took the game to Ashton straight from the kick off but it was not all one way. With a couple of pacey forwards Ashton looked to gain some success from breakaways and they created a couple of good chances early in the half. However it was mainly Charnock pushing forward looking to score and as the first half progressed Bates in the home goal became more and more isolated. Charnock’s goal chances were not as clear cut as in the Widnes game but a succession of centres and shots failed to make their mark largely due to the visitors’ defensive wall, keeper Joe Clements producing some fine saves and at times good old Lady Luck helping out the desperate Ashton side. Oliver Evans and Carl Grimshaw saw their shots dealt with by the keeper and Spencer Bibby shot narrowly over the bar. Headers from Luke Gibson and Grimshaw were just wide and an Evans free kick saw Clements make a fine save at the foot of a post. The visitors threatened early with Garry Purcell looking as if he was in on goal but Fletcher stepped in to hold him off and allowed Gavin Bates to clear. Jack Irlan brought a fine save out of Bates and then on 37 minutes Purcell made room inside the area but his shot was so far off the target that it went out for a throw in. As the half progressed and the home supporters’ frustration grew it looked as if half time would arrive with the game still without a goal. MARK ADAMS had other ideas and picking up the ball in the centre circle two minutes in to added time he drove goalwards straight at the heart of the defence and after sidestepping tackles his shot from just inside the penalty area finally saw Clements beaten. Charnock went in at the interval with a deserved lead.
It did not take long for them to double their lead in the first minute of the second half, Grimshaw headed a right wing cross back across goal and Fairhurst was pulled down as he went for the ball. SPENCER BIBBY gave Clements no chance from the penalty spot. After all the frustrations of the first half the Villagers were now in a commanding position and they made it an even more satisfying situation in the 54th minute when CARL GRIMSHAW headed home his 35th goal of the season from an Oliver Evans right wing corner. Unfortunately from this point on in the game Charnock appeared to take their foot off the gas and as in the game at Cheadle give the opposition a chance to come back into the game. Anthony Hough came on for Josh Norgate with O’Farrell moving to left back. Jack Irlam for Ashton saw a couple of his efforts drop just over the bar and when a left wing centre dropped onto the head of Purcell his header went wide. Damian Dashti came on for Luke Gibson and O’Farrell moved to central defence demonstrating his versatility. Charnock missed out on a chance to improve their goal difference as several of the other sides competing at the top of the table were knocking in plenty of goals but in the final ten minutes they created several good chances. Clements turned a Grimshaw header over the bar, Adams shot just past the goal angle and Grimshaw and Evans both had efforts blocked in the area. Even in the three minutes added time both Grimshaw and Adams could have added to the final score.
The win took Charnock to two points short of City of Liverpool who top the table with the team in green having four games in hand. Saturday 17th December sees Charnock make the trip down to meet FC Oswestry Town at The Venue which is also home to The New Saints who play in the Welsh League. Kick off is as usual at 3.00pm. There is a coach leaving Charnock at 11.30am prompt - all supporters are welcome.