Charnock won 2-0 at Northwich Victoria, with Carl Grimshaw scoring both Charnock goals.
Northwich Victoria 0 Charnock Richard 2
Tuesday 23rd January 2018 North West Counties League Premier Division
NORTHWICH VICTORIA 0
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
Team: Adam Halton, Harvey Close, Spencer Bibby, Ross O’Farrell, Ryan Schofield, Ashley Young, Matthew Davision, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Joseph Noblet (Jonathan Hession 81), Alex Ralph. Subs not used: Dave Sherlock, Anthony Hough
Charnock Richard showed a good deal of character to bounce back following the heavy defeat suffered at league leaders Runcorn Linnets three days previously with this impressive 2-0 success over mid table Northwich Victoria at Barnton’s Townfield ground. ‘Vics’ made a lively start to proceedings but were kept in check by the resolute visitors rear-guard before Charnock gained the upper hand to go in at the interval a goal to the good. A fine second half display saw the Villagers on top for long spells and a second strike late on the by Carl Grimshaw, his 30th goal of the campaign, ensured that all three points were headed to Mossie Park.
Charnock manager, Andy Westwell, made a few changes to the side beaten at Millbank on the previous weekend. Full-back James Walker was unavailable and was replaced by Harvey Close who took up the right-back post whilst Spencer Bibby switched to the number 3 shirt. Other than that, the defence remained the same. In midfield there were two changes, with Alex Ralph and Joe Noblet replacing Anthony Hough and David Sherlock. Hough and Sherlock took their places on the bench.
On arrival at the Townfield ground Charnock there was concern the game was in some doubt; not due to the prevailing weather conditions but due to a floodlighting problem in one corner of the ground. The lights were completely out in the corner by the stand side of the ground. However, some enterprising individuals set up some makeshift lighting and the game was declared playable, this despite a dark shadow across one end of the enclosure.
Charnock kicked off defending the ‘dark end’ but the homesters opened in lively fashion with some neat and purposeful football. Despite this, the early exchanges were reasonably even and in fact the first real chance of the game fell to the visitors on 3 minutes when Matt Davision tried his luck from 25 yards out, but ‘Vics’ goalkeeper, Michael Dolon was alert to the danger and dealt with the effort comfortably. At the other end, Brian Mathews, saw his shot deflected over for a corner and the resulting flag-kick was got away with some difficulty by the ‘Villagers’ defence. Charnock played with energy up the slope and their neat passing was accurate and troubling to the home defence. However, Northwich showed a good deal of urgency themselves and following a long clearance on 13 minutes, which caught Charnock’s defence out, Oscar Durnin shot just wide of the right hand goalpost at the clubhouse end. A Rory Gorman free kick on 20 minutes sailed close to goal as the game swung one way and then the other. Then Ashley Young just failed to connect at close range for Charnock following a well struck Alex Ralph free kick, as the visitors began to get a grip on the game. The pitch was beginning to cut up but it did not prevent the Lancashire side taking the lead just beyond the half hour mark following a neat three man move culminating in a classical Grimshaw goal. Not for the first time, Davision ran at the heart of the retreating Northwich defence before slipping the ball to Joe Noblet on the right wing. ‘Nobby’ curled over the perfect cross and CARL GRIMSHAW cut across the static home defence to firmly plant a header into the roof of the net beyond Dolan. The goal saw Northwich re-double their efforts with Matthews and Durnin a constant threat with some useful runs. The two linked well together; their tenacity keeping the Charnock defenders on their toes. Despite this, the visitors almost increased their lead on 41 minutes when Noblet’s free kick from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by the diving Dolon at full stretch. Charnock finished the first half the stronger with a flurry of raids.
The visitors came out with plenty of verve at the start of the second period; playing down the gradient and with the home team defending the ‘dark end’. Indeed, Davison saw his shot, from out on the right, fizz just beyond the far post seconds after the restart and Charnock almost got a second goal on 54 minutes when a through ball by Ralph put Noblet in on goal but Charnock’s number 10 fired inches past the post as Dolon advanced from his line. The game was beginning to slip away from Northwich and manager Steve Wilkes made a double substitution on the hour. Then following another Davison ‘smash-and-grab raid’ on 64 minutes the home side almost gleaned an equaliser at the other end. Substitute Jason Hart got in on goal with only Charnock goalkeeper, Adam Halton, to beat, but the Charnock man made a fine reflex save to deny the Northwich raider. Charnock were now making real inroads into the home defence with some excellent football and despite the increasing deterioration of the playing surface, they passed the ball around with dexterity, skill and with no little authority. The defence was on top of their game with home raids diminishing by the minute and the mid field were also playing with confidence. The ‘Vics’ battled on in vain for the equaliser that was never to come. As Northwich began to lose steam, Charnock struck a second and decisive goal on 89 minutes when Nathan Fairhurst put GRIMSHAW in on goal with a neat through ball and the ‘Villagers’ leading marksman fired home his 30th goal of the season in fine style beyond the reach of the stranded Dolon. Grimshaw almost grabbed his hat-trick in the dying seconds of the game, following good work by Ralph and late substitute Jonathan Hession.
It was to be a hard fought, but deserved victory, for the Lancastrians who were applauded from the Townfield pitch at the final whistle by a very happy group of travelling supporters.
Charnock are at home to Barnton this coming Saturday, kick off 3pm.