Charnock beat Prestwich Heys 5-2 at Mossie Park. The goalscorers were Carl Grimshaw 2, Anthony Hough, Danny Smith and Jon Hession.
Charnock Richard 5 Prestwich Heys 2
Wednesday 29th March 2017 Hallmark Security League Division 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 5
PRESTWICH HEYS 2
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Josh Norgate (Luke Gibson 75), Ross O’Farrell, Ryan Schofield, Ashley Young, Matt Davison, Anthony Hough, Carl Grimshaw, Jon Hession, Danny Smith (Mark Woods 67). Subs: (Not Used) Damian Dashti, Jack Sanders, Joe Fielding.
There have been some excellent games midweek under floodlights in the last two seasons and this was another. Do not let the 5-2 final score mislead you into believing this was an easy win for Charnock because the scores were level with only 15 minutes remaining. Prestwich Heys have had a remarkable run of success since the turn of the year and they produced another excellent performance in this fixture. It should be noted that this game was their third match in the last five days having already played on Saturday and Monday, a schedule that would have Jose Mourinho having a heart attack if any of his sides faced such a fixture programme. After a day with periods of steady rain the referee declared the pitch borderline as regards its suitability for the match and left it to the two managers. In view of their recent exertions Jon Lyons the Prestwich manager could well have opted to see the game postponed but he agreed the match should proceed.
Charnock had the better of the opening half hour and ran up a two goal lead but the visitors pulled a goal back and looked the stronger side at half time. The second half saw Prestwich have the balance of the possession and when they equalised with 15 minutes remaining it looked as though they would go on to collect all three points. However, the Villagers quickly regained the lead and then increased it which left the visitors having a mountain to climb and although they continued to compete, Charnock added a fifth goal in added time.
The starting eleven was the same as the team that won 7-0 at Daisy Hill on the previous Saturday; Joe Fielding, back from injury, and new signing but old favourite Mark Woods joined Luke Gibson, Damian Dashti and Jack Sanders on the bench.
Considering the weather a crowd of 124 was remarkable and despite further rain falling during the game the pitch stood up well in the conditions. Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end and quickly took charge of the fixture. Anthony Hough, who was to have his best game for the Villagers, was put in on goal as early as the eighth minute but as Matt Ince, in the Prestwich goal, advanced his shot hit the post and went out for a goal kick. The wind certainly should have benefitted the team kicking towards the Charter Lane end but both teams produced better performances when facing the elements. Charnock built on their display at Daisy Hill and the Prestwich side came under pressure and on 13 minutes they failed to deal adequately with a loose ball in their area. It looped around in the air, Ince failed to hold onto it and DANNY SMITH drove it into the net. Prestwich almost immediately hit back with Michael Itela storming down the right and Adam Halton tipping his powerful drive over the bar. The subsequent corner caused problems for the home defenders but finally a shot was easily collected by Halton. After 18 minutes another good move by Charnock saw a fine run by Hough set up Hession and Ince did well to get down and turn his shot around the post. Then, it was Grimshaw hitting a shot across the face of the goal. Charnock were playing some neat attacking football and the underfoot conditions were not proving to be a hindrance and they increased their lead on 25 minutes. A ball whipped in from the right was helped on by Jon Hession and CARL GRIMSHAW turned the ball home from close range. It was almost 3-0 on 28 minutes when Smith crossed from the left and a defender headed the ball against a post. Prestwich had already showed that they were capable of some good football but up to this point had failed to create many chances; at this point they picked their game up somewhat but it was something of a surprise when they pulled a goal back on 35 minutes. Halton could only beat out a powerful swerving shot from distance and Adam Nuttall buried the loose ball in the corner of the net. The goal gave the visitors a real boost and they were now the team on the front foot. A header from an in-swinging corner was headed over the bar and Ryan Schofield did well to turn a right wing cross to safety. Two players went into a strong challenge on 44 minutes and Josh Norgate came off worst and he needed extensive treatment before he could continue. It had been an exciting first half and as the drizzle continued to sweep across the ground at half time the game was delicately poised.
Although the Villagers had the advantage of the wind in the second half it was Prestwich who were initially the dominant side. Moving the ball around smoothly the play was almost entirely in the Charnock half. Ryan Schofield has now regained match fitness following his arrival from Burscough and his subsequent injury and with Ross O’Farrell beside him chances for the visitors were difficult to come by. A Halton free kick was headed on by Hough and Ince got to the ball just before Grimshaw and when Hough got down the right, cut back and produced a cross Hession was just short of getting on the end of it. These though were two isolated offensive incidents as the visitors dominated play. Too many aimless forward passes from midfield gave the home strikers no chance of holding up the ball to relieve the pressure. On 63 minutes a long cross from the left saw O’Farrell do really well to divert the ball, in front of goal, away from Nuttall. Grimshaw than had a chance to advance on goal but he drifted to the left of the 6 yard box and his shot from an angle to the near post was blocked by the keeper. Mark Woods came on after 67 minutes to replace Danny Smith. Prestwich deservedly equalised on 75 minutes with a splendid goal, a cross was whipped in from the left and a diving header from substitute Jamie Baguley flew into the corner of the net giving Halton no chance. It was definitely game on but within two minutes Charnock had regained the lead with an attack down the right that caused the visitors’ defence problems and when the ball rolled out to the in-rushing ANTHONY HOUGH he swept the ball into the net. It was a real downer for Prestwich and they were in further trouble two minutes later. Again it was Hough who was involved, he picked up the ball on the half way line and sped forward, it was three attackers against two defenders and when he passed the ball out to JON HESSION on the right he cut in and unleashed a pile driver that beat Ince. Prestwich did not give up and had the ball in the net after 86 minutes but it was disallowed. Spencer Bibby landed a free kick from distance on top of the angle of the goal before White for Prestwich made room on the right and swung a left footed shot just beyond the far post. As the game moved into added time Hough again burst forward to the bye-line on the left and when he rolled the ball across goal GRIMSHAW had an easy conversion.
It had been a pulsating game and interest had been maintained almost until the last minute. The visitors had contributed greatly to the game and the return fixture on Saturday 15th April should be a game not to miss. The three points moved Charnock up to third position in the table and with games in hand on the top two they are in a great position to challenge for the title.
Charnock now face two away fixtures Alsager Town on Saturday 1st April kick off 3.00pm. and the club are running a coach for anyone interested leaving the clubhouse at 11.30am. On Tuesday 4th April Charnock visit Chadderton with a 7.45pm kick off.