Charnock won 3-1 at Maine Road with goals from Mark Adams, Carl Grimshaw and Jon Hession.
The Reserves won 5-1 at home to Furness Cavaliers with Pilgrim 2, Algannin, Westwell and Sanderson scoring the goals.
The Academy also had a home win defeating Springfields 7-0 with goals from Griffiths 3, Hurst, Entwistle, Milnes and Dickinson.
Maine Road 1 Charnock Richard 3
Saturday 14th October 2017, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
MAINE ROAD 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
Team: Adam Halton, Mark Woods, Ross O’Farrell, Ashley Young, Ryan Schofield (Josh Nogate 45), Anthony Hough, Joe Noblet, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Mark Adams (Jon Hession 74), James Walker (Spencer Bibby 68). Sub: (Not Used) David Sherlock.
Charnock have visited a considerable number of new grounds since they joined the North West Counties League at the beginning of last season and this was another new venue to which their supporters had to find their way. Maine Road have the same name as Manchester City’s previous ground and accordingly play in the light blue strip associated with the Premier League club. The teams have not met previously and the game turned out to be a highly entertaining encounter with both sides aiming to produce some excellent neat football and largely succeeding. Maine Road took the lead but the Villagers soon equalised and it was 1-1 at the interval. Defensively Charnock had been poor in the first half and a substitution and change of formation for the second period saw them take control of the game in the second half. However the home defence proved resolute and it was late in the game before they took the lead. A third goal deep into added time finally ensured that they came away with three points.
Matt Davison was unavailable and with Dave Sherlock cup tied for the FA Vase game at Bedlington Terriers coming up the following Saturday he was dropped to the bench so there were two changes to the starting eleven. There was a first start for James Walker and Joe Noblet came back into midfield. There were only three substitutes alongside Sherlock, Josh Norgate, Jon Hession and Spencer Bibby. It was a fine afternoon and the pitch was in good condition. The Charnock following was not as numerous as usual but there were still 85 spectators in the ground.
Both teams set off looking to play football and it was an eventful start to the game with plenty of goalmouth action. The late arrival of Bibby due to traffic problems meant that Mark Woods, who was due to be on the bench, started at right wing back. The back three of Ashley Young, Ryan Scofield and Ross O’Farrell who have been very solid in recent weeks looked very vulnerable and Maine Road created a number of good chances in the first half. It became apparent as the half progressed that Ryan Scofield was struggling with a reoccurrence of the injury he had sustained against Winsford the previous week and Josh Norgate came on to replace him for the second half. Charnock kicked off and an early corner saw the home keeper Ryan Livesey struggling to hang onto the ball. His handling was suspect at various times of the match but he pulled off several fine saves. Charnock’s defensive vulnerability was exposed in only the fourth minute when Halton did really well to leave his area and “stand big” to block a shot as Connor Hughes broke clear. Jamie Roe then shot wide from the edge of the area after a good move down the left had exposed Charnock’s weakness on the right of defence. This area was to be the source of a number of chances that the home side created in the first half. Charnock’s attacking play has seen them score plenty of goals this season and it was not long before they were posing problems for the home defence. O’Farrell put Walker away down the left and Grimshaw’s header from his cross should at least have been on target. Nathan Fairhurst hit a swerving shot just beyond the far post and when Grimshaw got clear Livesey did well to come out to block the shot but Carl could only hit the rebound against the keeper again. Another corner saw the keeper again in trouble and the ball bounced around the area before a clearance rebounded off a Charnock player for a goal kick. On 15 minutes Adam Halton again did extremely well to save with his foot after his defence was again breached. The game continued to be end to end but Adam Halton was finally beaten on 26 minutes when another attack down the home side’s left produced a chance for Jack Langford and for the second week running Charnock faced having to come from behind to win the game. On this occasion it did not take long for the Villagers to equalise with ADAMS streaking through the middle laying the ball off to Hough and turning home the return pass from close range. Matt Morgan hit a cross right across the face of Charnock’s goal as the game continued to provide plenty of thrills. When the struggling Scofield was beaten again Hughes shot wide and then Woods set up Joe Noblet and the keeper did well to save his shot. After 42 minutes Livesey brought off a fine save to turn an Adams fierce dive around the post. With Hough having been moved to right back Charnock were not so vulnerable in the closing minutes of the half and they could well have taken the lead with Adams again going clear but he overhit the ball and Livesey was out to block, the ball flew up in the air and when the goalkeeper attempted to catch it he spilled the ball towards the goal but luckily for Road there was a defender on the line to clear.
As previously stated Josh Norgate replaced Schofield for the second half and played at left back with O’Farrell playing alongside Young in the centre. The final 45 minutes saw Charnock largely on the attack. There was an early threat when the home team got forward and Jack Poxen fired a shot over the bar and Hughes made an attempt, that fell short, to lob Halton but by and large it was the team in green pushing forward. Joe Noblet had a shot well off target before Walker cut in to see his shot beaten out by Livesey and Noblet’s shot then came back off the bar. The home defence was well marshalled and guilt edged chances for Charnock were not forthcoming, Livesey struggled again to hold onto a shot from Grimshaw only grabbing the ball at the second attempt close to the line. A relatively rare attack for the home team saw a shot curve just beyond the far post. Spencer Bibby came on after 68 minutes to replace James Walker who had taken a knock. Then Jon Hession replaced Mark Adams, a change that has been a regular feature of recent games. A great cross field move finished with Woods interchanging passes with Hough and Grimshaw heading wide from the resulting centre. Jon Hession set up the chance for Charnock to take the lead after 77 minutes; he sped away down the left and delivered a fine centre that saw GRIMSHAW head home from close range. Inevitably almost Charnock dropped back somewhat on the defensive and the home side came more into the picture offensively but they never really threaten to get back into the game. Ashley Young turns in excellent displays week after week and with Ross O’Farrell producing another of his “they shall not pass” performances the visiting defence was strong in the second half. On 90 minutes Woods skinned two defenders on the right and found Hession but he could only shoot wide. An amazing bit of football by Hough in the 94th minute somehow evading three defenders down by the right corner flag and cutting in along the bye-line to and finding HESSION on the edge of the area set up the substitute again and on this occasion Jon side-stepped a defender and hit the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
It was another three points for the Villagers which took them to 22 points from nine league games this season and they moved back into fifth position in the table.
The visit to Bedlington Terriers from the Northern League in the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday 21st October means that the Villagers will be making their longest journey ever to an away fixture and again meeting a club that they have not encountered previously. These are ground breaking days for the club and their fans!