Prior to this second round fixture, both Charnock Richard and Prestwich Heys had received byes in the opening of the LFA Challenge Trophy. Heys came into this game on the back of an 11 match unbeaten run which had included a 6-0 win at Sandbach United on the previous Saturday. Charnock on the otherhand were looking to get back to winning ways having lost two of their last three matches following a superb run of form during the early months of the season. As expected, the game was a tight affair in the first half with Charnock taking an early lead before Heys equalised mid-way through the first half. A very late goal in added time gave Charnock a 2-1 lead at half time before the villagers put on a dominant performance in the second half to run out comfortable 3-1 winners and secure their place in the last eight of the competition.
Charnock made three changes to the team which had played against Abbey Hey three days earlier, with Matt Davison, Mark Adams and Jon Hession moving into the starting line-up, replacing Anthony Hough, Jack Sanders and Dave Sherlock who dropped to the bench. Joe Noblet, back from a recent illness completed the 15 man squad.
Heavy rain in the preceding days had raised some doubts about the game starting earlier in the day but the match referee Dean Watson inspected the pitch and was happy for the game to go-ahead. The pitch surface looked very soft but this didn’t seem to affect either team who both started brightly with some fluid passing in the early minutes of the game. The first notable chance of the game came to the home team on 8 minutes when Heys striker Lee Grimshaw easily turned Schofield on the edge of the box before forcing Halton to pull off a fine one on one save. One minute later, Carl Grimshaw then threaded a fine ball through the Heys defence to Davison but his first touch was heavy and resulted in a weak shot which was easily saved by the Heys keeper. On 13 minutes, a loose ball just inside the Heys half was picked up by ADAMS who then embarked on a mazy run past three defenders before striking an unstoppable shot into the roof of the Heys goal. It wasn’t too long before Charnock’s lead was cancelled out by a rather sloppy goal on 16 minutes. A long ball caused problems in the Charnock defence and Halton came out of his box to clear the ball but totally misjudged to flight of the ball and became stranded on the edge of the Charnock box. The ball was quickly moved out to the Heys right wing and Alfie Beltcher did well to steer the ball into an empty goal from a relatively tight angle. Charnock responded well and a half chance fell to Davison on the edge of the box on 21 minutes but his shot just drifted wide of the left post. Three minutes later Carl Grimshaw hit a left foot volley just past the post but Heys were still carrying a threat up front and went close on 30 minutes following some neat play from the Heys forwards. Belcher found space on the right and his shot from the edge of the box was just wide of the left post. The heavy conditions seemed to be getting the better of the two teams and it seemed that the scores would be level at the half time break but in added time, Heys failed to clear their lines and the ball found DAVISON on the edge of the box and he drilled an excellent left foot strike into the bottom corner of the goal to give Charnock a 2-1 lead at the break.
There were no changes to the Charnock line-up at half time and almost from the kick off, Charnock should have increased their lead after Carl Grimshaw had broken free down the right wing and laid in an almost inch perfect cross to Hession in the six yard box but he somehow skewed his shot wide. It was a big let off for the home team but to be fair to Hession, it did look as though the ball may have taken a bobble just as he was about to strike his shot. Charnock continued to dominate the play and just before the hour mark, Carl Grimshaw again broke free down the right and his cross was cleared out to Adams on the edge of the box but his shot went just wide of the top right corner of the goal. A minute later, Heys created their first chance of the second half as Charnock lost possession in midfield but the shot from just outside of the box was well wide. Another chance fell to Carl Grimshaw in the box two minutes later but his shot went over the bar before Heys showed that they were still in the game when an excellent cross was sent into the Charnock box but the free header from the Heys striker went well wide. On 66 minutes, a run down the left wing from Hession saw him dribble into the box and Charnock were denied a strong claim for a penalty as he seemed to be tugged back as he approached the six yard box. For all their dominant play, Charnock couldn’t find that elusive third goal and there were more frustrations on 69 minutes when a superb long range strike from Davison cannoned off the left upright. Two more good chances followed for Grimshaw and Fairhurst but on both occasions the Heys keeper Mark Baguley pulled of excellent saves. Minutes later, Hession got his head onto a great cross from the left from Walker but once again the Heys keeper pulled off an excellent save to tip the ball just past the post for a corner. The Heys resistance was eventually broken on 84 minutes when a Carl Grimshaw header was pushed onto the crossbar by the Heys keeper and after collecting the rebound, Fairhurst coolly fed the ball back across to GRIMSHAW who blasted the ball into the net from close range to effectively end the contest. There was still one further good chance for Charnock to increase their lead in added time following another great run down the left from Hession, who sent in a deep cross to the back post for Ash Young but he blasted his shot over the bar.
Despite a fairly even first half, Charnock had totally dominated the second period and ran out deserved winners in a match that was played at a cracking pace in fairly difficult conditions. The fast flowing football seen earlier in the season was back with a vengeance during this game and Charnock now move forward into the last 8 draw of the competition which will take place next Tuesday (14th Nov), with the tie scheduled to be played in early December.
This coming Saturday 11th November sees Charnock returning to league action with a visit to Congleton Town, kick off 3pm. On the following Tuesday evening, Charnock host Burscough here at Mossie Park, with a 7.45pm kick off.