Charnock win 5-2 against Squires Gate at Mossie Park with Carl Grimshaw and Luke Gibson both scoring twice and Mark Woods adding the other goal.
The Reserves had their first win of the season 5-0 away at Dalton United with Liam McNally scoring twice and Sanderson, Bennett and Entwistle scoring the other goals.
The Academy played their first game of the season and won 3-0 at AFC Preston, Griffiths scoring a hat-trick.
Chanrock Richard 5 Squires Gate 2
Saturday 19th August 2017, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 5
SQUIRES GATE 2
Team: Adam Halton, Matt Davison, Jack Sanders, Luke Gibson (Josh Norgate 77), Ryan Schofield, Joe Noblet, Mark Adams (Damian Dashti 74), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Oliver Evans, Mark Woods. Sub: (Not Used) Luke Barrow.
Nine points from three matches has seen Charnock Richard leading the table but no-one at Mossie Close will be getting carried away because with the Villagers facing 44 league games in the season there are a considerable number of difficult games to play before May next year. Their main objectives this season are to finish outside the relegation positions, whatever they may be this season, and to be as successful as possible in the knock-out competitions. Of course it is a good boost to have made a good start to the season rather than be looking to win your first point after three games and Charnock can be very satisfied with their performances to date; this 5-2 win over Squires Gate was a very comfortable victory. A note of caution, however, must be made after Charnock conceded two poor goals after taking a 5-0 lead. So far this season, in the four games played, the Villagers have conceded 10 goals and they must improve defensively if they are to continue to pick up points.
There was initially only going to be one change to the starting line-up that won 4-1 against Padiham on the previous Tuesday, Mark Adams coming in for Spencer Bibby, who was away, but Ashley Young was a late withdrawal after illness struck his family and so Luke Gibson started in his place. Josh Norgate back from holiday was on the bench along with Damian Dashti and Luke Barrow.
It was another afternoon that was more like late September than August with a strong westerly wind and only brief sunny intervals. The 137 who paid for admittance were rewarded with another entertaining match with plenty of goalmouth incident and a number of goals. Squires Gate kicked off playing towards the Charter Lane End of the ground and Charnock almost took the lead in the opening minute, Mark Adams put Oliver Evans away down the left and his powerful shot from an angle was beaten out by keeper Ben Fletcher at his near post. Following the excellent display against Padiham on the previous Tuesday there was plenty of expectation that the performance could again reach that level and the fans were not disappointed as once again Charnock played some delightful football and fired home five goals. Similar to the Padiham game Charnock should have scored even more goals but once again they came up against a goalkeeper in Ben Fletcher who was in fine form and he produced a series of excellent saves. Having shown their intent in the opening minute the Villagers went on to largely dominate the game, playing into the wind in the first half they moved the ball around neatly and carried an almost constant goal threat. Matt Davison on the right was involved early on providing a cross that saw a defender head the ball away before it landed on Carl Grimshaw’s head but shortly afterwards the Villagers took the lead after only 10 minutes. Olly Evans was to produce a number of excellent right wing corners throughout the game and on this occasion his delivery was headed on by Jack Sanders at the front post and CARL GRIMSHAW headed home just inside the far post. Charnock continued to run the game with Nathan Fairhurst and Mark Woods, in particular, dominating midfield and it was the latter player who increased their lead on 15 minutes. WOODS took a left wing corner and when the ball came back to him he smashed a powerful shot, from out on the left, across the goal into the far side of the net. Little was being seen of the visiting attack as Charnock continued to produce some excellent football with Davison a constant threat down their right. Half chances were produced and keeper Fletcher made a couple of fine saves but there were no further goals before the interval. There was one remarkable incident when another right wing corner saw a header from Grimshaw hit the underside of the bar and it appeared impossible that the ball did not cross the line but it was cleared and obviously without any confirmation from this assistant the referee could not award a goal.
The second half saw almost constant pressure for the first half hour from the Villagers as Squires Gate realised how difficult it was to defend against the wind. Charnock added to their lead only two minutes into the half with Evans producing another fine right wing corner that saw LUKE GIBSON score his first goal at this level for the club, heading home from close quarters via the underside of the bar. With Woods, Davison, Noblet and Grimshaw all producing a number of powerful shots, a good number on target, only Fletcher prevented Charnock from scoring a hatful of goals. It was a Noblet free kick from the left on 64 minutes that saw GRIMSHAW beat Fletcher to the ball to head home Charnock’s fourth goal. Then yet another right wing corner, two minutes later, saw GIBSON again rise to head home from close in. The game was all going Charnock’s way but they were brought back to earth only a minute later when Halton came out to make a routine pick up of the ball but somehow he mis-handled and Mark Buchan had a clear shot on goal and the score was 5-1. A major disappointment for the keeper but he had spent most of the second half just watching a number of missed chances at the other end. Charnock never fully recovered their composure after this goal and the visitors produced a number of attacks without really testing Adam Halton. Damian Dashti replaced Adams after 71 minutes and Josh Norgate came on for Luke Gibson three minutes later. Charnock still carried a threat with Woods having a pile driver diverted for a corner and Davison seeing a powerful shot come back of the post. Dashti launched a shot that was headed of the goal line and Matt Davison following up put his header hopelessly wide. A free kick for the visitors on 88 minutes set up substitute Jack Williams to reduce the arrears as the home defence totally lost concentration. The final result did not reflect the ease in which Charnock had won the game.
The disappointment of going out of the Emirates FA Cup has been replaced by the excellent start that Charnock have made at Step-5 particularly pleasing has been their performances in the last two games producing some highly entertaining football.
Rather surprisingly, at this time of the season, they now face a 10 day break from the game with their next fixture being away at City of Liverpool on Tuesday 29th August. The game will be played at the TDP Solicitors Stadium, the ground of Bootle, with a 7.45pm kick off.