Charnock came away with a deserved 3 points with a 3-0 win at Widnes. Carl Grimshaw, Nathan Fairhurst (pen) and Jonathan Hession were the scorers for Charnock.
The Reserves went down 4-1 at home to Kendal United and the Academy lost 2-1 away at Wilbrahams.
Widnes 0 Charnock Richard 3
Saturday 18th November 2017 North West Counties League Premier Division
Lifted by the excellent 5-2 win over Burscough a few days previously, Charnock were hoping to avenge the defeat suffered at Halton Stadium back on the 22nd April when Widnes took all three points following a narrow 2-1 victory over ‘The Villagers’ thus ensuring the championship of Division 1. On the other hand, Widnes were hoping to consolidate their improving run of form following a somewhat inconsistent start to the season. They were also buoyed by their fine 2-1 success over league leaders Runcorn Town on the previous Wednesday.
The game was originally scheduled to have taken place at Mossie Park but due to the unavailability of the Halton Stadium on the 16th December the fixtures had been switched.
Andy Westwell made just the one change to his starting eleven from the Burscough game during the week when he was forced to change the goalkeeper in the absence of regular Adam Halton. In came Burnley lad, Jordan Gidley, who had been transferred from Bootle on the previous day to make his debut in goal. The bench remained the same but with the addition of Mark Adams.
This was to be a fine Charnock performance against a good Widnes side, as the Villagers moved three points nearer to league leaders Runcorn Town who were without a game. The visitors equipped themselves well on the unfamiliar artificial surface and were worthy winners on the day; the margin of victory giving some indication of the true reflection of events.
The Halton Stadium floodlights were already switched on as the homesters kicked off on what was a heavily overcast and dull afternoon and Widnes soon got into their stride as Charnock looked a little unsure of their footing on the artificial grass. Ben Hodkinson shot narrowly over Gidley’s crossbar from the edge of the penalty-box on 9 minutes and then William Webb struck the bar a couple of minutes later after a well-appointed cross from the left flank by former Charnock full-back, Joseph Fielding, caused problems for the visiting defenders. Charnock moved forward with menace when the opportunities arose and got their noses in front in the 18th minute following an excellent run and cross from the left by full-back James Walker which fell to Jonathan Hession. Hession’s shot was blocked and the loose ball was smashed home from an acute angle on the left by CARL GRIMSHAW for his 16th strike of the season. It could so easily have been 2-0 a few moments later when a superb cross from the right by Matthew Davison was headed just over the bar by Nathan Fairhurst from a good position. At this point Charnock were growing in confidence as they took the game to the home team. On the half hour mark the lively Hession had his shot blocked on the edge of the area as he homed onto a pin-point Mark Woods through ball. Davison was prominent on the right on 34 minutes and his cross deserved a better reward when the usually lethal Grimshaw fired over from a good position. Widnes struggled to penetrate the visitors rear-guard with their efficient approach play too often breaking down on the edge of the box. Indeed, Charnock’s defence looked on top of their game as they kept at bay the diminishing Widnes raids. Davison set up another opportunity from the right flank just as the half-time break approached when he swung over another dangerous cross but Grimshaw’s header flew inches over. The Villagers could be pleased with their first-half endeavours and there was the promise of more to come.
Widnes came out of the blocks looking for an early equaliser and almost grabbed one on 47 minutes. A neat move down the left involving Fielding and Jack Banister created space. However, Banister’s knee-high cross was spurned right in front of goal when Hodkinson stooped low to head the chance wide of the far post with Gidley exposed. Charnock continued to look the sharper of the two sides and played with neat authority with some intricate passing. Their endeavours were justifiably rewarded with a crucial second goal on 52 minutes when Fielding upended the inrushing Davison inside the penalty area. NATHAN FAIRHURST sent Widnes goalkeeper, Richard Mottram, the wrong way to put his side in a commanding position. Indeed, Charnock were now fully in the ascendancy and began to carve out openings and it wasn’t long before they wrapped the points up with a third goal on 66 minutes. Widnes defender, Michael Grogan, failed to adequately deal with a high looping ball which dropped into the box and bounced beyond him. JONATHAN HESSION was on hand to take full advantage as he controlled the ball before advancing on the exposed Mottram and confidently slamming home to the delight of the travelling throng in the disappointingly low attendance of 79. Widnes responded and went close in the 71st minute when Banister smacked a rasping drive just over the bar, but the home team’s appetite had all but gone and their raids had become rather spasmodic as the visitors saw out the dying embers of the game with confidence. Throughout, the defence had been well marshalled by Schofield, Bibby, Walker and O’Farrell although there was concern shown as O’Farrell left the field in the 73rd minute with what appeared to be a badly twisted knee or ankle. The midfield had worked tirelessly all afternoon with Davison, Fairhurst, Woods and Young ever industrious. Strikers, Grimshaw and Hession, were always on the lookout for a chance at goal and caused problems for the home defence all afternoon. It was a good all round display.
The team travel over to East Lancashire on Tuesday night for the League Challenge Cup 2nd Round North tie at Barnoldswick Town which carries a 7.45pm kick-off.