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Charnock fell to a disappointing 3-2 home defeat against AFC Blackpool on Boxing Day. Carl Grimshaw and Mark Adams scored the goals for the villagers.
Charnock Richard 2 AFC Blackpool 3

Monday 26th December 2016 - Hallmark Security North West Counties League Division 1

Charnock Richard 2

Att: 129

Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Ross O’Farrell, Josh Norgate (Ryan Schofield 60), Luke Gibson (Damian Dashti 71), Lewis Swarbrick (Daniel Marland 75), Anthony Hough, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Jonathan Hession, Mark Adams. Unused Subs: Richard Ainscough & Gavin Bates.

Charnock fell to a disappointing home defeat against strugglers AFC Blackpool in this Boxing Day Division 1 clash at Mossie Park. The win boosted the Seasiders chances of avoiding being embroiled in a relegation battle in the second half of the season, whilst, the home side suffered a jolt to their promotion ambitions. Indeed, it was a wake up call for the homesters and a timely reminder that there are no easy games in the NWCL Division 1. The loss came as shock to the system following the fine performance and excellent result gained at Oswestry Town nine days previously. A determined Mechs came out of the blocks in a determined fashion and their enterprise paid off with an unassailable three goal half time lead.

With defender Michael Fletcher suspended and inform striker Oliver Evans unavailable through injury. Charnock boss, Andy Westwell was forced to make changes to the side that had produced such a fine performance on the English/Welsh border just over a week previously. Skipper, Josh Norgate, returned to the back line replacing Fletcher in central defence whilst new signing Jonathan Hession took over from Evans to partner top marksman Carl Grimshaw in the front line. Two other recent signings, Richard Ainscough from West Didsbury & Chorlton and Ryan Schofield, returning to Mossie Park from Northern Premier League side Burscough, were allocated a place on the substitute’s bench alongside Damian Dashti, Danny Marland and Gavin Bates.

Charnock kicked off on a beautiful spring-like Boxing Day afternoon facing the ‘Mawdesley Plantation’ end but quickly found that their visitors were in no mood to hand over any Christmas presents. The Mechs had come to compete and took the game to their lofty hosts in determined fashion. Despite this it was the home team who were the first to show on 14 minutes when the visitor’s goalkeeper, Callum Kirkland, kept out a close range header from Carl Grimshaw following a well appointed free kick from Spencer Bibby from the right. Within a few minutes, this incident was replicated at the other end of the park when Charnock goalkeeper Adam Halton had to be alert in keeping out a shot from Robert Corbett following a well struck corner kick from the right. Grimshaw was dreadfully unlucky not to have given ‘The Villagers’ the lead on 21 minutes when his powerfully struck rising drive hit the ‘Mechs’ crossbar following some enterprising endeavour by Nathan Fairhust. However, the opening goal came two minutes later after a sweeping move down the right caught the home defence flat-footed. Ryan Charnley ran into space to the right of goal and found Dean Ing in space on the edge of the box and the visiting striker fired home beyond the stranded Halton. Four minutes later ‘Mechs’ stunned the home support with a second goal when Benjamin Duffield finished off a move in a goalmouth scramble with the home defence in a tangle. Duffield and Ing were giving Charnocks back line a good testing with some useful runs. The visitors crafted a third goal on 35 minutes with, arguably, the best strike of the game. Full-back, Matthew Muscroft, spilt the home defence with an angled through-ball from deep on the left and Duffield drove home with a superb low shot to find the corner of the net from the right-hand edge of the box. The visitors almost made it four before the break following an interchange of passes between Ing and Duffield, but Halton saved at full stretch to keep Duffileld’s drive from flying into the net.

Charnock left the field at half time chastened and with a mountain to climb and to their credit, they rose to the challenge in a second-half that they dominated for the most part, although the visitors remained dangerous on the break. Committed to going forward at every given opportunity Charnock took the game to the visitors in earnest. Spencer Bibby shot narrowly over Kirkland’s crossbar on 50 minutes with a free-kick from the edge of the box. Kirkland saved from Hession following further industry by Fairhurst a minute later and denied Mark Adams three minutes later. The home side continued to pour forward in numbers and Norgate came close on 56 minutes, heading a Fairhurst cross narrowly over before Kirkland saved a Luke Gibson snap-shot from close in. The Blackpool side were defending resolutely and when they got an opportunity to spring out of their defensive shell they did so with menace. A Marc Taylor drive was turned over the crossbar by the diving Halton on 70 minutes to emphasise the point. Kirkland denied Ross O’Farrell’s acute angle drive on 76 minutes and then turned aside a Grimshaw header four minutes later as the home side’s frantic search for a goal continued. On 86 minutes Charnock got their breakthrough when Anthony Hough centred and the cross was converted by Grimshaw for his 28th goal of the season. A second Charnock goal was quickly to follow on 89 minutes when Ross O’Farrell took a quick throw on the left and Adams smacked in a low drive from the edge of the box. But it was too late for the homesters and the Blackpool side greeted the final whistle with both delight and relief.

The villagers will look to bounce back this coming Saturday 31st December with another home fixture against Bacup Borough. Please note, the kick off is one hour earlier than normal at 2.00pm.

Dave Rowland

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