Charnock lost 2-1 at Widnes with Matt Davison scoring the goal.
The Reserves won 5-0 at home to Ashton Athletic Pilgrim scored three goals and Sheehan and Whittle the other two.
The Academy drew 2-2 at Chipping with Ryan Donnellan scoring both goals
Widnes 2 Charnock Richard 1
Saturday 22nd April 2017, Hallmark Security League Division 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Josh Norgate, Ross O’Farrell, Mike Fletcher, Anthony Hough, Mark Adams (Luke Gibson 81), Anthony Hough, Carl Grimshaw, Jon Hession (Oliver Evans 78), Danny Smith (Joe Fielding 78). Subs: (Not Used) Gavin Bates, Jack Sanders.
Two opportunist goals by Widnes centre forward George Lomax put a huge dent in Charnock’s title hopes as the Villagers lost 2-1 at the Select Security Stadium at Widnes, leaving the Villagers still requiring three points from their last two games to seal automatic promotion. As expected this turned out to be a very close match the home side took the lead on 19 minutes but Charnock equalised on 25 and it was 1-1 at half time. The second half had only just commenced when Widnes scored their second goal which proved to be the winner as Charnock failed to penetrate a determined home defence.
There was a blow before the kick off when Ashley Young failed a fitness test having picked up a groin injury against Sandbach. Mark Adams came in on right with Matt Davison moving into midfield otherwise the starting eleven was the same as on the previous Monday. Oliver Evans was back from injury and on the bench.
The Select Security Stadium is the home of Widnes Vikings the Rugby League club and it is a fine arena to host a football match with its artificial surface. Only one area of seating was available for spectators and an amazing 462 paid for admission, a record crowd for the football club.
It was a fine, sunny afternoon but it was still chilly in the shade where all the spectators were seated. Charnock won the toss and Widnes kicked off playing towards the western end of the ground. Understandably because of the importance of the game both sides started rather warily and there was seven minutes on the clock before the first opportunity arose. Hough was fouled just inside the Widnes half and Grimshaw headed over from Bibby’s free kick. Two minutes later Charnock sprung out of defence down the left and the move finished with Carl Grimshaw shooting wide from distance. George Lomax did well on the left and his centre was cleared with difficulty. The game was very even but Widnes took the lead on 19 minutes, a long throw from the left was laid back to George Lomax and his left foot shot went just beyond the diving Halton to find the net just inside the far post. It was a blow for the Villagers and it knocked the stuffing out of them for a short time and Norgate had to head behind when a determined attack developed down Charnock’s left. Another long throw from the left caused further problems the ball eventually going wide from a shot from distance. Charnock picked up their game and equalised on 25 minutes, Fletcher did well on the halfway line and fed DAVISON who surged forward through the middle went past two opponents and hit the ball into the corner of the net. It was a fine goal and it was a case of game on. Almost immediately Hession was almost in, the ball finishing in the hands of keeper Owen Wheeler. Adam Halton almost conceded a goal on 32 minutes coming out of the area and kicking the ball up in the air, Norgate managed to scramble the ball away before any damage occurred. Jon Hession then had a shot past the post before a long ball saw Grimshaw competing in the air with Mike Burke, the latter almost heading the ball over his own goalkeeper’s head. Fletcher then dithered on the edge of the area and it took a last ditch tackle to knock the ball out for a corner.
It was all square at half time and Charnock had produced some excellent football at times. There was all to play for in the second half but the home side took a 2-1 lead after only two minutes, a shot rebounded off Fletcher in the box to GEORGE LOMAX who made no mistake in despatching the ball into the corner of the goal. There was an element of luck initially but it was a fine example of finishing by the classy striker. So Charnock were faced again with the task of getting back into the game but the goal caused them to lose their impetus and Widnes had a spell of domination. Luke Edwards had a shot across the face of goal and Sam Sheen’s shot was well saved by Adam Halton. On 58 minutes excellent approach play involving Grimshaw and Hession gave Hough a shooting chance but Wheeler saved well. Josh Norgate struck a pile driver from distance but it hit Smith who was probably offside anyway. On 62 minutes when Grimshaw was fouled just outside the area Spencer Bibby‘s free kick sailed over the bar. Charnock were pushing forward and consequently there was danger from Widnes breakaways. The home side were taking every opportunity to slow the game down. Over a two minute spell Charnock introduced Evans, Fielding and Gibson for Hession, Smith and Adams as they looked to grab an equaliser. Evans was almost in from a Grimshaw knock down but a defender just beat him to the ball at the expense of a corner. On 83 minutes Widnes broke clear and Davison did really well to get back and kick the ball out for a corner. The home side continued to waste time over throw ins and goal kicks and Roberts was booked for taking too long over a throw in. The closest the Villagers came to grabbing a point was on 88 minutes when a Fletcher free kick bobbed around in front of goal and a clearance hit Fielding only to fly over the bar. The referee announced five added minutes and played six, the final two minutes of which saw the home team desperately hanging onto the ball at the corner flags.
It had been an entertaining match played in good spirit and it could have gone either way; Charnock played some fine football at times but the home defence had been outstanding, particularly in the final 20 minutes when the Villagers had been piling on the pressure.
Widnes with 90 points celebrated winning automatic promotion at the final whistle but City of Liverpool with 84 points, a much superior goal difference and with two matches to play could match their 90 points so to be certain they need one point from their two remaining games.
Charnock with 88 points need to reach 91 points so one win from their two remaining fixtures will ensure promotion. Tuesday 25th April could well be the deciding fixture when the Villagers travel to play City of Liverpool 7.45 kick off. A draw would ensure that Charnock would not have to face the play-offs.