Charnock fell to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Litherland REMYCA.
The Academy drew 3-3 at AFC Preston, there were two goals for Joe Burton and Liam McNally scored the other one.
Charnock Richard 0 Litherland REMYCA 1
Saturday 7th January 2017 - Hallmark Security League Division 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 0
LITHERLAND REMYCA 1
Team: Adam Halton, Ross O’Farrell, Josh Norgate, Mike Fletcher, Ryan Scofield (Lewis Swarbrick 45), Anthony Hough, Spencer Bibby, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Danny Marland (Jon Hession 74), Danny Smith (Oliver Evans 45) Subs: (Not Used) Damian Dashti, Luke Gibson.
Charnock fell to their fifth home league defeat of the season, a record that is threatening their chances of winning the league or even gaining promotion. Another poor defensive display was at the root of this defeat and but for a fine display of goalkeeping by Adam Halton the defeat could have been by a greater margin. Litherland RYMYCA, after failing to take several good chances, finally found the net just before half time and despite a half time re-organisation by Charnock that produced a markedly improved performance in the second half they never really looked like getting back into the game.
There were a number of changes to the starting eleven that beat Bacup Borough on the previous Saturday, Luke Gibson and Damian Dashti were dropped to the bench and there was no place in the squad for Benn Veitch. Mike Fletcher came in at the back along with Ross O’Farrell at right back and Josh Norgate at left back. Spencer Bibby moved to the left of midfield and there was the return from injury of Danny Smith on the right. Also returning after suffering an ankle injury at FC Oswestry was Oliver Evans, he was on the bench. Mark Adams was unavailable.
The fog in the morning continued into the afternoon and whilst it never really looked like preventing the start of the game there was relief when it cleared just before the kick off only to return in the final minutes of the game.
Charnock won the toss so REMYCA kicked off playing towards the Charter Lane end. With second in the table hosting the team in fourth place this was always going to be a close match and so it proved with a single goal settling the destination of the three points. Reflecting on the match it really came down to the defences with the visitors’ defenders producing a solid performance whilst Charnock’s back four, particularly in the first half, was breached a number of times and but for another fine performance from goalkeeper Adam Halton the game would have been decided well before half time. Four times in the first half Adam came out to block shots after opponents had broken through the fragile home defence. Litherland are another side who break quickly and the home defence struggled to cope, with Josh Norgate being caught out a number of times on the left. The return of Mike Fletcher saw him look the best of a back four that was all over the place in the first half. Charnock’s best chances came early in the game a neat passing movement from the right set up Spencer Bibby running in from the left with a fine shooting opportunity in only the third minute but his shot lacked power and it was an easy save for Sean Lake in goal. Then when Bibby was floored on the edge of the area he got up to fire the free kick narrowly beyond the far post. REMYCA were coming more and more into the game and Nathan Fairhurst and Anthony Hough were being out numbered in midfield and already Halton had had to twice deal with one on ones. A REMYCA left wing corner after 22 minutes ultimately resulted in a heading chance for Chris Lowe at the back post but his effort went wide. Charnock replied with Carl Grimshaw finding time from a Norgate free kick to direct a shot that skimmed a post and then, after Bibby had again been fouled, his free kick was saved by Lake. Halton was out to thwart the visitors again as they saw more and more of the possession. The breakthrough came in the 38th minute a right wing corner was headed clear by Schofield but it was driven back into the penalty area where following a couple of deflections by the home defenders the ball dropped to Colin McDonald in front of goal and he made no mistake. The visitor could have scored again before the break when Alex Ryan cut in from the left and found McDonald on the edge of the area but he shot over the bar.
Changes were expected at the interval and manager Andy Westwell duly responded by taking off Ryan Schofield and Danny Smith and on came Lewis Swarbrick and Oliver Evans. Ross O’Farrell moved to centre back with Bibby reverting to his normal position of right back. Swarbrick operated on the left with Danny Marland moving to the right and Evans playing up front. The reorganisation largely worked as Charnock looked a far better proposition in the second half but REMYCA still carried a threat up front but there were no more players running clear on goal. Grimshaw had a left foot shot which was well wide of the mark and when Carl gave Oliver Evans a chance to run clear he was marshalled to the right of the box but he still brought a save out of Lake. The keeper than saved again from the same player and the game was rapidly developing into a contest between the home attack and the visiting defence. However there was still plenty of life left in the REMYCA attack and a chance saw a shot go wide before a free kick provided a heading chance for McDonald but he headed over as Halton came out. When Colin Quirk hit shot on 60 minutes Halton dived across the catch the ball. Charnock were pressing up front but the REMYCA defence looked strong and confident. Bibby made a fine crossfield run and fed Swarbrick who put Norgate in on the left Lake turned his cross shot out for a corner. Winger Alex Ryan had a chance for Litherland but shot well wide and then another attack down the right had the home defence at sixes and sevens the ball finally falling into Halton’s hands when Boyle, lying on the ground, tried a shot. Jon Hession replaced Marland after 74 minutes as Charnock as usual went for broke but the visiting defence was dominant and their only mistake was when Chris Lowe brought down Evans as he was about to go clear on 88 minutes the result was a red card but the 10 men held out easily despite the Villagers applying plenty of pressure in the closing minutes.
So another disappointment for the home supporters in a crowd of 128 which was a fine attendance on such a miserable January afternoon. There is some good news however Ashley Young is not far away from returning after being absent since October and Sam Parkinson is looking to regain his match fitness following his ankle injury at Ashton Town in 1st October.
Charnock have only dropped two points in 10 away league games but they will be tested at Prestwich Heys on Saturday 14th January at the Adie Moran Park Stadium kick off is 3.00pm.