Charnock returned to winning ways with a fine 4-2 victory over Widnes at Mossie Park. Ashley Young, Sam Parkinson, Carl Grimshaw and Spencer Bibby from the penalty spot scored the goals.
The team moved up to fourth position in the table
Charnock Richard 4 Widnes 2
Tuesday 14th February 2017 - Hallmark Security League Division 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 4
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Josh Norgate (Damian Dashti 72), Ashley Young, Luke Gibson (Ross O’Farrell 79), Anthony Hough, David Prout, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Sam Parkinson, Danny Smith (Mark Adams 59). Subs: (Not Used) Jon Hession, Oliver Evans.
Over the festive season and since, Charnock have suffered a stuttering spell of form only collecting four points from five games whilst the visitors for this fixture, Widnes, have been on a 16 match unbeaten run in the various competitions in North West Counties League including a 4-1 win at Mossie Park in December that ended the Villagers interest in the Division 1 Cup. Following the very disappointing defeat for Charnock on the previous Saturday at Sandbach United this was not a “must win fixture” but it was an extremely important game if Charnock were to remain in the top six in the table.
As expected the game proved to be another entertaining match played at a high tempo with both sides producing some excellent football. Charnock took an early lead but Widnes levelled from the penalty spot, a free kick was converted to give the team in green a 2-1 lead at the interval. Widnes equalised almost immediately after the break but two goals from Charnock sealed a splendid 4-2 win that pushed them back up into fourth place in the table.
Selection of the home team was delayed whilst doubts about the fitness of several players were assessed; Mike Fletcher failed a fitness test and Mark Adams was declared only fit enough to be on the bench. So Adam Halton, available again, replaced Gavin Bates in goal, Ashley Young dropped back into central defence with Like Gibson coming in for Fletcher. Anthony Hough moved to central midfield with David Prout starting on the right. Danny Smith replaced Mark Adams on the left.
The evening was milder than in recent days and a good crowd of 136 turned up for this potentially competitive game. The wind was from the south and made little impact on the game and Widnes kicked off playing towards the Charter Lane end. As expected the game started with both sides anxious to make an early impression and the play was fast and furious a feature that was maintained throughout the match. With a number of pacey forwards the early tactics of the visitors was to get the ball forward as quickly as possible whilst Charnock looked to play the ball through midfield with their neat passing game. The return of Sam Parkinson has provided some badly needed added strength up front and with Ashley Young back in defence, Charnock looked a better balanced side. The playing record of the visitors since the autumn shows that they have put together a very good squad so the Villagers had it all to do if they were to collect any points from this fixture. Following the defensive mistakes at Sandbach it was an improved defensive performance although there were several instances of desperation in the home penalty areas.
Charnock took the lead after only six minutes a free kick from about half way into the Widnes half, by the touch line, was turned home by YOUNG at the back post the ball entering the net off the inside of the post. It was a great start for the home team but their lead was only maintained until the 15th minute when Luke Gibson was penalised for a foul 35 yards out. When the free kick was delivered into the area the same player was then adjudged to have fouled and a penalty was awarded and Gibson cautioned. Kevin Towey duly converted from the penalty spot. The tone of the game was set as both sides went all out to establish superiority with Spencer Bibby getting to the bye line on the right only to shoot into the side netting and then Grimshaw shooting wide from the edge of the area after the visitors had struggled to clear the ball. Widnes came back with some quick raids that stretched the home defence. Nathan Fairhurst saw his shot saved by goalkeeper, Owen Wheeler, after a good move down the Charnock left before Spencer Bibby went on a great run through the middle only to lose the ball in the area, however the referee awarded the Villagers a free kick on the edge of the area for a foul on Spencer. On 29 minutes SAM PARKINSON stepped up and hit a tremendous free kick that beat the keeper on his side of the goal as his defensive wall looked on. The game continued at a furious pace and as the visitors looked to equalise several shots were blocked by the home defenders. On 36 minutes Towey advanced through the middle but Halton was down to save his shot and then the same player shot over the bar when he made room on the edge of the area. Leading 2-1 at the interval it had been a good performance from Charnock.
The start of the second half saw the Villagers take the game to their opponents but on 48 minutes Widnes broke with the home defence stretched. Halton got down to save the shot from the right but only diverted the ball to Webb who easily made the score 2-2. It was a real blow to Charnock to lose the lead so early in the half and Widnes, buoyed up by getting back into the game, had a really good spell. In the home defence however, every player stuck to their task and despite the pressure Halton was not really tested. At this time the game could have gone either way but Charnock would have regained the lead but for Wheeler clawing away a fine header from Grimshaw from a left wing centre. Mark Adams came on for Danny Smith after 59 minutes and appeared not to be too much under the weather as he became a constant threat down the left for the remainder of the match. On 64 minutes Norgate made room on the edge of the area and his right foot shot went narrowly over the bar. A right wing corner by Widnes caused major problems to the home defence but they finally cleared the ball. On 69 minutes Josh Norgate produced a wonderful centre from close to the left corner flag to GRIMSHAW at the back post who headed the ball back across goal and the scrambling keeper failed to prevent it hitting the back of the net. It was just the boost that Charnock needed but Widnes came back with Webb getting down the right and Chris Lomax firing over the bar from a perfect position. Damian Dashti came on to replace Josh Norgate on 72 minutes and he prevented any further attacks down Charnock’s left. With 15 minutes remaining the Villagers increased their lead, BIBBY out on the right touch line survived a foul tackle by Chris Lomax, for which he was later cautioned, and sprinted to the bye line where he was tripped inside the area. He duly dispatched the spot kick and Charnock had a two goal cushion. Understandably the visitors came back at the Villagers and their defence had to be on its toes. Luke Gibson went off with what looked like cramp after 79 minutes and Ross O’Farrell came on to produce his usual style of no nonsense defending, just what was required in the circumstances. With the visitors throwing everyone forward there was more space upfront for Charnock and their players used it sensibly holding on to the ball to slow the game down. Widnes never really looked like saving the game and after four minutes of added time the three points went to Charnock’s account.
Charnock’s next three games are all away. On Saturday 18th February Charnock are at Stockport Town kick off 3.00pm. Ground Post Code: SK6 1QX, Saturday 25th they meet City of Liverpool K.O. 3.00pm and they play at Bootle’s Delta Taxi’s Stadium Post Code:L20 1NY and on the following Wednesday 1st March it is a trip to Prestwich Heys Kick Off 7.45pm Ground Post Code: M45 6WG.