Charnock drew 2-2 with AFC Liverpool at Mossie Park. Louis Mayers and Carl Grimshaw scored the goals.
Charnock Richard 2 AFC Liverpool 2
Tuesday 6th March 2018, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
AFC LIVERPOOL 2
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Ryan Schofield, Harvey Close, Matt Davison (Joe Noblet 77), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Louis Mayers (Alex Ralph 70), Mark Woods. Subs: (Not Used) Ross O’Farrell, Anthony Hough, Connor Loftus.
With only two months of the season remaining, it means for certain clubs each game becomes increasingly important and both sides in this match were hoping to collect all three points for different reasons. Charnock, looking to finish in the top six, were hoping to consolidate their position of third in the table and AFC Liverpool lying 20th were looking to move up out of the four club relegation zone. At the final whistle both sides had to be satisfied with a point after a highly competitive game. AFC Liverpool produced a performance that belied their position in the table whilst Charnock, particularly in the first half, failed to produce the football that has seen them so successful this season. The visitors took an lead early in the first half and comfortably held onto it until after half time. In the second half with Charnock, at last, stepping up their game they turned the game around and led 2-1 by the hour mark. However, they failed to hang onto their lead and at the final whistle a draw was probably a fair result.
Following the 2-1 defeat at Padiham 10 days previously, there were a number of changes to the starting line-up, out went Ross O’Farrell, Anthony Hough, Alex Ralph and Jon Hession the latter having decided to sever his ties with the club. In came Harvey Close, Louis Mayers, Nathan Fairhurst and Mark Woods. On the bench were O’Farrell, Hough and Ralph, Joe Noblet and Connor Loftus. The latter player has been injured for most of the time since he arrived from Padiham in September. It was a fine evening if a little chilly and the pitch was in excellent condition considering the battering it had received from the weather in the previous seven days.
AFC Liverpool won the toss and Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end. The visitors soon demonstrated that they were a footballing side and their ability on the ball, organisation and ability to play high tempo football meant that they were not going to be the easy opposition that many may have expected if basing their assessment on league positions. The early exchanges were very even, Anthony Lyons headed over the bar from a free kick and Mayers had a left foot shot swerving beyond the goal. Following a below performance at Padiham in the previous game Charnock were again looking a little under the weather with a tendency to give the ball away too easily but the opposition were not giving them much room or time. AFC Liverpool were not afraid to shoot and Leon Arnasalam hit a shot from about 35 yards but it was straight at Adam Halton and they took the lead on 17 minutes. Harvey Close lost the ball, centrally, 35 yards out and Harry Avis broke to the edge of the area to fire a shot that the diving Halton managed to divert onto the post but it rebounded into the net. It was really a wake-up call for Charnock and Close had a shot turned around the post by Jack Cookson in the visiting goal. The match remained relatively even but Charnock were not producing their usual quick, passing football and on this occasion they could be no complaints about the playing surface. As half time approached the visitors almost increased their lead with Arnasalam’s shot hitting the top of the bar. Then Carl Grimshaw had two excellent heading chances, firstly a Woods’ centre from the left found Carl unmarked at the back post but his header was poor and finished up nowhere near the target. Then, in the final minute of the half, a diagonal free kick from the right evaded all the players and Carl at the back post had a stooping header but he put it the wrong side of the post.
Charnock came out for the second half and produced a much improved performance with some neat attacking play moving the ball around more quickly and for the first time in the match were the dominating force. A fine ball out to Davison on 52 minutes saw his cross find MAYERS who spun and delivered a powerful shot that Cookson got a hand to but could not prevent the ball hitting the back of the net. Liverpool reacted quickly and twice hit a post before Halton did well to tip another shot over the bar. However, on 58 minutes Davison set up another goal for Charnock delivering to the back post where GRIMSHAW did well to squeeze his header past Cookson and in the act injuring himself on the post. He was able to resume without treatment. Immediately a typical Bibby run that took him to the right bye-line resulted in a shooting opportunity for Grimshaw but his powerful effort was just over the bar. The game was very much end to end but Charnock were continuing to carry plenty of threat. Alex Ralph came on for Louis Mayers after 70 minutes and then two minutes later a goalkeeping error resulted in AFC Liverpool equalising. Substitute Bradley Owens delivered a diagonal ball from way out on the left, it looked a simple catch for Adam Halton but he mis-judged the ball and it sailed over his head into the net. The Villagers lost much of their impetus after this setback and following the departure of Mayers lacked impact up front. Joe Noblet replaced Matt Davison on 77 minutes. There were several Charnock efforts on goal, Grimshaw from the right set up Ralph and the keeper did well to turn his shot out for a corner. When Cookson punched out a ball to Ralph his shot went narrowly past the post with two home players unable to get a touch on the ball. Liverpool were still threatening at the other end however but in added time a free kick resulted in a diving header from Grimshaw being saved by the keeper.
It had been an entertaining game despite neither side being able to find a winning goal so the 110 crowd should not have been too disappointed. Charnock had only been near their best for about 30 minutes or so and in that spell they had scored two goals if they had started in like manner and continued they could well have picked up the points to boost their standing in the table.
On Saturday 10th March the Villagers host Northwich Victoria at Mossie Park kick off is at 3.00pm.