Charnock drew 1-1 at City of Liverpool a result that virtually ensures automatic promotion to the Premier Division. Litherland REMYCA need to overhaul a 20 goal difference in their last match to grab second place in the table. Matt Davison scored the vital goal.
City of Liverpool 1 Charnock Richard 1
Tuesday 25th April 2017, Hallmark Security League Division 1
CITY OF LIVERPOOL 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Josh Norgate, Ross O’Farrell, Luke Gibson, Mike Fletcher, Matt Davison, Anthony Hough (Jon Hession 56), Carl Grimshaw, Mark Adams (Danny Smith 78), Mark Woods. Subs: (Not Used) Joe Fielding, Jack Sanders, Damian Dashti.
To all intents and purposes the point that Charnock collected with a 1-1 draw at City of Liverpool ensures that they will be playing in the Premier Division next season. If Charnock lose at St Helens in their last game of the season and Litherland REMYCA win in theirs, both teams could finish with the same number of points, 89 but the Villagers have a 20 goal better goal difference which is highly unlikely to be overtaken. As expected this was a very difficult game for Charnock and they were so far off the pace in the first half that they could well have been two or three goals down at half time rather than by a single conversion from the penalty spot. The second half saw a big improvement and they snatched an equaliser with 14 minutes to play and managed to hold onto the point as the home team pressed in the closing minutes.
There were changes to the Charnock starting eleven, Luke Gibson came in for Jon Hession who was on the bench. Mike Fletcher moved into midfield with Matt Davison moving to the right of midfield with Mark Adams lining up in a striker role. Mark Woods replaced Danny Smith, who was on the bench, on the left. Damian Dashti was back to join Jack Sanders and Joe Fielding on the bench. Unfortunately both Charnock’s first choice midfielders Ashley Young and Nathan Fairhurst were on the side lines due to injury.
City of Liverpool have had some remarkable attendances this season and as expected this game drew a record crowd of 729, amazing for a club at Step 6. The atmosphere was remarkable with plenty of singing and encouragement from the home fans.
Charnock won the toss and City of Liverpool kicked off playing towards the City end and it was a relatively quiet start with both sides weighing up each other. The first threat came from the home team when Bibby lost the ball in the centre circle leaving the defence under pressure and Gibson did well to put in a strong tackle to knock the ball out for a throw in. Matt Williams then had a shooting opportunity for City and the ball whistled just beyond the far post. City were beginning to dominate and after Charnock had scrambled the ball away from the area another shot was over the bar. On 15 minutes a header from midfield set McDonald free down the right but his cross shot went past the far post with Halton having it covered. Charnock were now really struggling with the home side having most of the possession. McDonald got down the left and his pass found Williams but his shot was mis-hit and never threatened the goal. In a rare raid by Charnock, Hough hit a lofted shot that bounced just outside the post but Longrigg, in the home goal, had it covered. After 24 minutes a mis-hit shot deflected off a Charnock defender and Norgate had to be alert enough to clear the ball out for a throw in as a home player moved in on the right. With Charnock struggling to get out of their own half Mark Adams, on 27 minutes, had a good run through the middle and only a strong tackle on the edge of the area prevented him getting in on goal. City of Liverpool had to replace the injured Joe Camozei with Declan Grogson after 27 minutes. As the home side maintained their dominance the breakthrough came on 30 minutes when a desperate tackle by Fletcher as the ball fell to a home player in front of goal resulted in the award of a penalty. Halton got down and almost got a hand to John Connolly’s spot kick but it found the net and Charnock were really up against it. When Longrigg came out to punch a Charnock free kick from the halfway line Fletcher‘s header back went beyond the post. Once again on 34 minutes, like a number of times this season, Charnock had to thank the defensive qualities of Ross O’Farrell who was on hand to block a goalbound shot after a right wing corner. It looked as if the Villagers task had become even greater after 36 minutes when City of Liverpool again found the net but the offside flag had been up from earlier in the move. Charnock on 41 minutes appeared to have equalised when Grimshaw headed a chipped free kick over Longrigg but once again an offside flag wiped the goal off.
After spending most of the first half under the cosh the team in green had come back into the game somewhat but overall despite some strong defending they could well have been two or three goals down at the interval. The single goal deficit at least gave them a chance but it was obvious that they would have to make a major improvement if they were to get anything out of the game. Charnock produced a spirited start to the second half but it was not long before City of Liverpool were back on the attack. A ball from the right saw a header from beyond the back post set up a shooting opportunity but Halton was down at the foot of the post to save. Charnock immediately went up the pitch but the move finished with a scuffed shot from Davison. On 56 minutes Jon Hession came on for Anthony Hough as manager Andy Westwell went all out to get something from the game. As the hour mark approached Charnock really picked up their game and it was the home defence that came under pressure. A right wing and then a left wing corner caused problems with the home defence struggling to clear. An excellent run by right back Chris Lester through the midfield right up to the edge of the area finished with a shot beyond the far post. It was now largely Charnock setting the tempo of the game and when a centre came in on 69 minutes a home defender headed just past the angle of the goal. A break by City of Liverpool down the right saw Halton go down to collect the centre, he however fumbled the ball but just managed to snatch it as danger threatened. Adam then produced a fine save when Jamie McDonald burst into the area. On 75 minutes the home side had a good shout for a penalty as a player went down when tackled but the referee waved play on. Charnock equalised on 76 minutes, Norgate got down the left and Grimshaw was up to challenge the keeper when his cross came in Longrigg failed to get a firm hand on the ball and MATT DAVISON hit the loose ball into the net. It was now a case of Charnock holding onto a point with City of Liverpool desperate as they saw their chances of automatic promotion disappearing. Danny Smith replaced Mark Adams after 78 minutes and the Villagers looked to hold on. A home teams left wing centre provided a heading opportunity for a player coming in from the right but his effort was well off target. Charnock dealt with three consecutive corners and when Matt Williams shot from distance he was nowhere near the goal. Charnock threatened on 87 minutes and Grimshaw headed low corner from the left just past the near post. It was as expected a case of the home side pushing forward and the Charnock defence holding on. The referee played an added five minutes and the nearest the home team got was a header off target by Grogson.
It had been a highly competitive football match and Charnock had really shown excellent spirit in coming back to win a point after such a disappointing first half performance. Like so many clubs in this league that we have visited this season City of Liverpool were superb hosts and their hospitality was excellent. Many thanks. At the end of the game they clapped Charnock team off the pitch and they were profuse with their congratulations on Charnock’s promotion. Sportsmanship at its best and we hope to be meeting them again in the Premier Division in season 2017/8.
Saturday 29th April sees Charnock complete their league fixtures with visit to Valerie Park, home of Prescot Cables, to play St Helens kick off 3.00pm.