A 4-5 penalty shoot-out defeat resulted in Charnock missing out on an appearance at Bolton Wanderers Macron Stadium in the Final of the Foundation Partnership LFA Challenge Trophy. The semi-final played at the County Ground, Leyland was 0-0 at full time so a penalty shoot-out decided the tie.
Charnock Richard 0 Clitheroe 0 (Lost 4-5 on penalties)
Wednesday 21st February 2018, Lancs FA Challenge Trophy Semi Final
CHARNOCK RICHARD 0
(Clitheroe won 5-4 on penailties after 90 mins)
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Ryan Schofield, Harvey Close (Anthony Hough 77), Matt Davison, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Joe Noblet, Mark Woods. Subs: (Not Used) Gavin Bates, David Sherlock, Jon Hession, Ross O’Farrell.
A matter of inches decided this semi-final in the Partners Foundation LFA Challenge Trophy after Charnock Richard and Clitheroe had fought out a thrilling 0-0 draw at The County Ground, Leyland. After 90 minutes it all came down to a penalty shoot-out and with the scores level at 4-4 Clitheroe needed to convert their final kick which they accomplished via the underside of the cross bar, another couple of inches higher and the contest would have continued. They will now go forward to the final which will be played at the Macron Stadium home of Bolton Wanderers against either Chorley or Lancaster City.
With Clitheroe riding high in Division 1 North of the Northern Premier League it was Charnock who were the underdog but there was not too much between the teams on this occasion. It was a case of the Villagers having to produce one of their better performances and they duly delivered with an outstanding defensive display and they caused Clitheroe problems with their speedy attacks.
Manager Andy Westwell’s team selection was influenced by several of his squad being ineligible having only signed for Charnock after the deadline in early December. Alex Ralph, Mike Fletcher and Louis Mayers who played on the previous Saturday missed out so Ryan Schofield, back from injury, came in a centre back and Harvey Close and Joe Noblet both started. Gavin Bates a substitute goal keeper was on the bench with David Sherlock, Jon Hession, Anthony Hough and Ross O’Farrell.
It was a fine evening and the pitch as usual at this venue was in immaculate condition. Clitheroe kicked of playing towards the Commercial Vehicle Museum and not surprisingly took the game to Charnock. A right wing corner after only three minutes saw Rowlands rise unchallenged but head wide. It was an early warning for the Villagers as the Clitheroe corners proved to be a threat throughout the match. Charnock almost immediately came back with Bibby finding Noblet on the right but his centre was just too high for Grimshaw. As expected it was the East Lancashire side that were setting the pace with some quick, neat passing and plenty of running so it was a case of Charnock having to stand firm at the back. Clitheroe almost took the lead on 13 minutes another right wing corner saw Halton bring off a fine save from a close range header. From a second corner from the same source the ball was rescued on the left by Jack Egan and he found Ross Bent whose shot went narrowly wide. Charnock were being penned back in their own half but when George Hughes shot from 25 yards it was off target. The ball finished up in the net on 23 minutes but the flag was up for offside. The following five minutes saw the Villagers really under siege and they did not help themselves by misplacing passes when opportunities occurred to break out. There was finally some relief and Grimshaw headed a Walker free kick over the bar. Davison then sped out of his own half and found Grimshaw but his shot was blocked for a corner. At last Charnock had a spell of pressure on the Clitheroe defence and Davison whose speed caused problems throughout the game put in another great run cutting in diagonally from the right but having carved open a shooting opportunity his left foot effort swung well wide of the goal. Davison than found Grimshaw again in front of goal but he failed to get hold of the ball. Half time came with the game goalless which was mainly due to a fine disciplined display by Charnock.
The second half saw Charnock have more of an attacking threat particularly early in the half. Matt Davison and Spencer Bibby combined well down the right and set up a number of chances. On 51 minutes Davison ran through the middle, fed Bibby near the bye-line and Grimshaw had a fine chance from close range at the near post to give Charnock the lead but he mis-hit his effort and the opportunity was lost. Clitheroe continued to see plenty of the ball but the Charnock defence was producing a brilliant display and whilst keeper Adam Halton had to be on his toes he was not having to make blinding saves. Kurt Willoughby had a shot from the right but it went beyond the far post. On 67 minutes Grimshaw collected a pass and spun sending a powerful shot just beyond the far post. Thomson in the Clitheroe goal did well to dive to turn a Grimshaw effort around the post. However, as the half progressed Clitheroe became more and more dominant. Anthony Hough came on for Harvey Close after 77 minutes and Noblet moved back into midfield. Clitheroe introduced all their three substitutes in an attempt to add some extra energy but at this stage of the game the Villagers were happy to hang on for penalties. With neither side able to find the net after 90 minutes in accordance with the rules the match went to penalties.
Charnock took the first penalty and Grimshaw scored, Clitheroe equalised. Nathan Fairhurst has scored five penalties for Charnock this season but on this occasion his shot lacked power and Thomson saved it. Clitheroe converted their second penalty and despite Joe Noblet, Spencer Bibby and James Walker all scoring it came down to Clitheroe’s fifth penalty and as previously stated it went into the net via the crossbar.
Disappointing for the Villagers but on the night they can be very pleased with their performance, chances had been few and far between but with just a little more luck they could have converted one and then looked forward to a trip to the Macron Stadium. However, overall Clitheroe had had the balance of the possession and the quality of their football gave them the edge over the 90 minutes.