Charnock won 1-0 against Ashton Athletic with Carl Grimshaw scoring the goal.
The Reserves won by a similar margin at Croston with Jamie Sanderson hitting the winner.
The Academy suffered another heavy defeat 7-1 this time at Freckleton. Entwistle scored the one goal.
Charnock Richard 1 Ashton Athletic 0
Saturday 13th January 2018, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
ASHTON ATHLETIC 0
Att : 122
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ross O’Farrell, Ryan Schofield, Ashley Young, Joe Noblet (Alex Ralph 84), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, David Sherlock (Jon Hession 67), Anthony Hough (Matt Davison 81). SUBS: (Not Used) Jack Sanders, Harvey Close.
Success in knockout competitions earlier in the season had resulted in Ashton Athletic only completing 17 league fixtures prior to this game and their performance in the league having only lost four games suggests that they would have been higher in the table than eighth had they played the normal amount of matches. This was the first league meeting between the clubs but they have met a number of times in the now defunct Goldline Trophy competition. The clubs also met in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy at Brocstedes Park last season when Ashton won and went on to defeat Chorley in the final.
This was always going to be a close game and so it proved with the one goal sealing the points for Charnock. It was not difficult to see how Ashton have performed so well so far this season as they produced a very competitive performance and only a very determined home defence prevented them from departing with at least a point. Charnock having lost their last two home games 4-1 made sure that having taken the lead in the 18th minute they claimed all three points.
Following the 4-0 win in the Macron Cup on the previous Tuesday there was only one change to the starting line-up Ryan Schofield replaced Jack Sanders, who was on the bench, in central defence. Both Alex Ralph and Harvey Close, who were ineligible for the cup game, were back on the bench along with Jon Hession and Matt Davison.
It was a breezy, cold afternoon but fine and the attendance was 122. The pitch was in excellent condition considering the time of the year and full credit must be given to groundsman Gareth Jones. Charnock won the toss and the game kicked off with Ashton Athletic playing towards the Charter Lane end. As expected the game was played at a high tempo and proved to be another good advertisement for football at this level. Charnock stuck to their usual tactics of close passing football whilst the visitors were more versatile producing some neat passing whilst taking the opportunity to knock the ball long. Despite the low scoring game there was plenty of goalmouth action to keep the crowd entertained. With both sides committed to attack it was Charnock with the first chance Noblet cutting in from the left and Martin Pearson in the home goal turning away his shot. The visitors had a good proportion of the possession and the early performances from both Ryan Schofield and Ross O’Farrell soon showed that they were to have a major impact on the way that this game was to pan out. Noblet had another chance when Pearson cleared straight to him but his shot was nowhere near the unguarded net. There was an excellent chance for Ashton Athletic when Danny Smith broke clear on 14 minutes but he shot over the bar. Charnock had a good spell which was rewarded with a goal after 18 minutes. Firstly Grimshaw had a shot beaten out by Pearson; two follow up shots were blocked before Fairhurst hit a shot over the bar. Then a free kick from Walker saw Charnock win a right wing corner which again Walker took and delivered to beyond the far post the ball was played back in and when Fairhurst shot GRIMSHAW diverted the ball past the keeper. There was then another opportunity for the visitors when Halton slipped when clearing, the ball going straight to Smith but his shot was never on target. Both Schofield and O’Farrell were standing firm in the centre of defence and they needed to as Ashton piled on the pressure. Charnock responded with both Dave Sherlock and Carl Grimshaw having shots from the right that Pearson dealt with comfortably. When Marcus Casani shot from distance Halton dived to save but failed to hold onto the ball but as it rolled towards the line he managed to grab it. Danny Smith then put a free kick narrowly wide of a post and Callum Wilson headed just over the bar from a right wing corner. The game was proving to be close but Charnock should have increased their lead on 40 minutes a neat move finished with Sherlock in on goal but his shot was weak and straight at Pearson. The first half finished with Marcus Casani surging forward but then falling over his own legs as he approached the penalty area.
It was expected that Ashton would react to a half time lecture and they did, largely dominating the first 25 minutes of the second half and this was where Charnock showed their defensive qualities. Both Ryan Schofield and Ross O’Farrell were superb in the centre of defence and despite the visitors almost camping in the home half they failed to create any clear cut chances. The best that Charnock could conjure up was Bibby racing through the middle and being up-ended as he approached the penalty area and Ashley Young hitting the free kick well wide. Charnock needed fresh legs and they came through Jon Hession replacing David Sherlock after 67 minutes and Matt Davison coming on for Anthony Hough on 71 minutes. The changes resulted in Charnock carrying a threat again up front; Noblet burst down the right but his pass for Grimshaw was intercepted and the Villagers did well defensively when a “two on two” break caught them out. With 10 minutes remaining Matt Davison had a chance of putting the game beyond Ashton but his shot was weak and straight at Pearson. Then Carl Grimshaw had one of the easiest chances that he has had all season after Pearson parried a Davison shot to him but from close in his shot went so wide that if it had had enough power it would have gone out for a throw in. The closest that Ashton came to salvaging a point was a dipping shot from Canasi out on the left that went just over the bar.
So the Villagers took all three points and consolidated their position of fourth in the table. There will be a big challenge on Saturday 20th January when they travel to the Millbank Linnets Stadium to play top of the table Runcorn Linnets, kick off 3.00pm.