Charnock lost 2-0 in the midweek league fixture at City of Liverpool.
City of Liverpool 2 Charnock Richard 0
Tuesday 29th August 2017, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CITY OF LIVERPOOL 2
CHARNOCK RICHARD 0
Team: Adam Halton, Matt Davison, Jack Sanders (Josh Norgate 45), Luke Gibson, Ryan Schofield, Joe Noblet (Kallum Banks 63), Spencer Bibby, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Oliver Evans (Anthony Hough 63), Mark Woods. Sub: (Not Used) Mark Adams.
This fixture was when the reality of playing at Step-5 became evident because City of Liverpool were in charge of this match virtually from the first whistle to the last. In recent games we have seen the opposing goalkeepers in excellent form and their efforts have ensured that the margin of Charnock’s wins have not been greater but on this occasion it was Adam Halton in the Charnock goal that produced an heroic performance that saved the Villagers from a much heavier defeat. City of Liverpool were taller, stronger and quicker to the ball and they set the tempo of the game, egged on by a huge, at least at this level, crowd of 585 they never allowed the Villagers a chance to settle down into their quick passing football although there were, at times, glimpses of the type of football that Charnock can produce. City of Liverpool were far more direct getting the ball forward quickly and with a number of players with pace they were a constant threat. Two left wing corners were again the downfall of Charnock with both the goals conceded coming from this source.
Charnock made only one change from the team that beat Squires Gate in the previous game, Spencer Bibby replaced Mark Adams, who was on the bench, in the starting line-up. Josh Norgate and Anthony Hough, both returned from holiday, were named as substitutes alongside new signing Kallum Banks. Not only do City of Liverpool attract large crowds to the TDP Solicitors Stadium but the spectators are very vocal so there is a very lively atmosphere more so than at any other ground that Charnock visit. So the match kicked off in a noisy stadium and unfortunately the Villagers performance did little to quieten the home supporters. Having said that there was plenty of enthusiasm from the team in green and they never let their heads drop and, as one home club official remarked, it was a feisty game which saw a number of yellow cards and two sending offs.
Charnock opened brightly and had a shot blocked but on four minutes Halton had to go down to save a shot as the home side began to take charge. As in previous games it was a back three of Schofield, Gibson and Sanders with Davison as the right wing back and Bibby on the left and the formation came under increasing pressure as the half progressed. A poor back pass from Sanders saw Halton just managing to get to the ball first and then a deflected shot whizzed just past a post. Charnock were under the hammer so it was not surprising that the home side took the lead on 11 minutes. A left wing corner was helped on at the near post and Dalton headed home unopposed at the back post. Charnock came back with Fairhurst ploughing forward and trying to find Grimshaw but the ball was headed out to Bibby and he shot well off target. Another poor back pass let the home side in again and Halton brought off a fine save. Balls over the top were creating problems for the Charnock back three and when McDonald got in on one he should have done better than launching the ball into the car park. A clash on left saw a City player scythe a Charnock defender down after the ball had gone but the referee must have been unsighted because it was a far more definite red card than the offences for which he sent off the two players later in the game. Halton then saved from McDonald before on 27 minutes Davison got in on the right but he shot wide. By now Charnock had reverted to a back four with Bibby at right back and Sanders on the left. Gibson hit a good diagonal free kick from the left and running in Evans got his head to the ball but it went the wrong side of the post. Both sides were flying in with tackles in this highly competitive game and when McEllin caught Sanders with a challenge on 31 minutes the referee produced a red card. Davison intercepted the ball when it was being passed across the back four and raced into the penalty area but shot across goal beyond the post. Charnock were creating shooting chances but their lack of accuracy resulted in Longrigg not having a real shot to save in the game. Despite only having 10 men City of Liverpool increased their lead on 35 minutes, another left wing corner saw Scofield try to hook the ball clear in front of goal but he only succeeded in turning the ball into the net. It was a killer blow for the Villagers. It could have been worst as another attack saw the away goal under attack and Dalton hit a post. The first half finished with Bibby doing well on the right and Joe Noblet shooting over the bar.
Charnock made a change for the second half with Norgate replacing Sanders and the start of the second 45 minutes saw plenty of incidents as within two minutes Norgate was shown a red card for a tackle and two minutes later the referee awarded the home side penalty. There were protests from some of the Charnock players and there seemed some merit in their complaints but the referee is not going to change his decision and when Connolly fired high and wide from the spot kick there was a feeling that perhaps justice had been done. With Charnock creating little up front it seemed that it was a case of how many would the home side score but Adam Halton continued to produce some fine saves and a header from another left wing corner was headed off the line and the Villagers hung on. The 63rd minute saw the introduction of Anthony Hough for Oliver Evans and Kallum Banks came for his debut replacing Joe Noblet. Banks played at right back with Hough in midfield and Davison moving up front. Immediately Halton had to make another fine save when Noon broke clear but Davison then was almost in on goal but a fine tackle thwarted him as he was about to shoot. Another effort from the home side came back off a post and as the game progressed it was just a case of Charnock continuing to defend and they managed to see out the remaining minutes without conceding again.
Any defeat is disappointing but there are plenty of positives to be taken from this game, the club has come a long way in just over a year and it is important that games like this do not dent the overall confidence of the team. No-one could fault Charnock’s commitment on the night and they provided plenty of input to ensure that the match was entertaining, the standards required to compete at the top of this league became evident in this game and it is now a case of the club looking to continue its progress over the coming seasons.
Saturday 2nd September sees Charnock away at Hanley Town with a 3.00pm kick off. The club are running a coach to the match and if you are interested in travelling contact Alan Baron on 07887678011.