Charnock won 3-2 against St Helens at Prescot Cables ground in their final game of the season to finish as runners up in Division 1. Two goals from Carl Grimshaw and the other from Jon Hession decided the match.
St Helens 2 Charnock Richard 3
Saturday 29th April 2017, Hallmark Security League Division 1
ST HELENS TOWN 2
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby (Damian Dashti 57), Josh Norgate (Joe Fielding 74), Ross O’Farrell, Luke Gibson, Mike Fletcher, Matt Davison, Ashley Young, Carl Grimshaw, Jon Hession, Mark Adams (Anthony Hough 82). Subs: (Not Used) Jack Sanders, Gavin Bates.
Charnock wound up their first season in the North West Counties League with this 3-2 win over St Helens at Prescot Cables ground and it confirmed that they would be promoted to the Premier Division in season 2017/8. It was not Charnock’s best performance of the season conceding two disappointing goals and missing a number of good chances but the final result saw the Villagers finish as runners up in Division 1 and they were presented with the trophy and medals at the end of the game. The home side took the lead but Charnock hit back with two goals in two minutes to lead 2-1 at the interval. The team in green increased their lead in the second half but St Helens pulled a goal back in the closing minutes and there was a tense end to the game as Charnock hung on for the win.
There was a welcome surprise when the teams were announced with Ashley Young returning in midfield having recovered from his groin injury and consequently Anthony Hough dropped to the bench. This was the only change to the starting line up from the draw at City of Liverpool on the previous Tuesday. Danny Smith had left the club so Gavin Bates replaced him on the bench.
The pitch was in typical end of season state with bald patches and a very uneven surface and the lack of recent rain resulted in a hard surface that made good passing football difficult. It was a fine but largely overcast afternoon with little wind. Charnock won the toss and St Helens kicked off playing towards the east end and it was the home side that made the brighter start. A free kick conceded adjacent to the bye-line on the left flew across the Charnock goalmouth and out for a goal kick without anyone getting a touch on it. Charnock came into the game as an attacking force and Hession almost got on the end of a bouncing ball in the area. When a ball rebounded to Grimshaw on the edge of the area he hit he shot wide; a good chance missed but there was plenty of excuse for errors on such a bumpy surface. A great ball from Fletcher set Davison free down the right and his cross was almost turned into his own net by a defender. On 12 minutes Grimshaw failed to make contact with a bouncing ball right in front of goal as Charnock maintained pressure on the home defence. When Hession put a cross in from the left it was just behind the in-rushing Grimshaw. Most of the play had been concentrated in the home half but St Helens broke on 16 minutes and with the Charnock defence stretched a fine ball out to the right saw Chojnicki cut in and fire a shot over Halton’s head into the roof of the net. It was disappointing for the Villagers to find themselves a goal down after largely dominating the play. St Helens almost added to their lead two minutes later, a ball over the top saw Gibson attempt an overhead kick and Edwards broke free but his dipping shot was just over the bar. The Villagers equalised on 22 minutes, Norgate on the left put HESSION in and he converted via the goalkeeper’s arm. Two minutes later Charnock took the lead when a fine through ball from Young put GRIMSHAW clear and this time he made no mistake firing past Adam Fairchild. Then Fletcher headed a right wing corner back across goal and Young headed over the bar; another good chance spurned. Another fine through ball from Young to Hession finished with Grimshaw finding the net but Hession had been flagged offside. It was good to see Ashley back on the pitch and appreciate his ability, one could only surmise the impact he might have made if he had been fit enough to play against Widnes and City of Liverpool. As the first half came to a conclusion Adams shot from distance straight at the keeper and when Davison squared from the right bye-line Grimshaw shot beyond the far post. At the interval Charnock looked comfortable and with news coming through that Litherland RYMICA were only one goal up against Holker Old Boys the Villagers superior goal difference was not under threat.
The second half saw an improved performance from the home side and after 48 minutes Halton had to save with his feet when an attack developed down the home team’s right and the follow up shot was blocked. Ashley Young produced a pile driver from at least 25 yards that rebounded back off the post. Damian Dashti came on for Spencer Bibby on 57 minutes. When a clearance from Ross O’Farrell put Jon Hession clear in the left hand channel on 59 minutes it looked odds on that Charnock would increase their lead but his shot was into the side netting. Charnock finally gave themselves a two goal cushion on 68 minutes, Norgate lofted a ball from out on the left and GRIMSHAW just beyond the back post found the net after Fairchild failed to prevent the shot finding the net. Another fine pass from Young gave Davison a chance to cross from the right but Grimshaw’s shot was way off target. As the game was drawing to a conclusion St Helens pulled a goal back on 85 minutes, a fine ball down the right opened up the visitors’ defence and although Halton got a hand to the ball he simply scooped it to substitute Andrew Gillespie who scored from close range. Another disappointing goal to concede and the home side concentrated on chasing an equaliser, the closest they came was in added time when as a result of a left wing corner the ball appeared to rebound off the woodwork.
Over the nine months since the first fixture of the season at the beginning of August it has been a very satisfying season for the Villagers. There is great satisfaction upon achieving promotion in their first season at Step-6 and there will be new challenges to come in August, competing at Step-5 and in the FA Cup. Charnock have always been well supported but their following both at home and away this season has been far greater than ever and it is a big thank you to everyone who has been present to encourage the team both at Mossie Park and in their travels from Gateshead and Carlisle in the north to Whitchurch and Oswestry in the south. The first fixture in the 2017/8 season is likely to be on Saturday 5th August in the FA Cup, another history making event for Charnock Richard FC. Enjoy your summer.