Charnock returned to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over 1874 Northwich. Carl Grimshaw scored twice with Joe Noblet and Jordyn Fitton scoring the other goals.
Charnock Richard 4 1874 Northwich 2
Thursday 12th April 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 4
1874 NORTHWICH 2
This 4-2 win was Charnock’s first victory in the league since they beat Maine Road 4-1 at Mossie Park on Saturday 17th February, a build-up of postponed games along with a crippling list of injuries has seen the Villagers struggle throughout March. This match produced a display from the team that looked similar to the successful performances earlier in the season. Ever since Charnock erected floodlights back in 2014 there have been some magical mid-week games against excellent opposition and this was another occasion. 1874 have had a very successful season in cup competitions, their highlight being winning through to the semi-finals of the Buildbase FA Vase and to date have played no less than 30 cup ties. The result of their success and the disappointing weather over the winter means that following this game they still have 14 league fixtures to complete by 7th May.
This match throughout was played at a high tempo and provided excellent entertainment for a crowd of 163. Charnock took an early lead but Northwich came back to equalise from the penalty spot. The villagers went ahead again in added time in the first half and added another two goals before the hour mark but 1974 did not give up and pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining and maintained their pressure right up to the final whistle.
Following the defeat at the hands of West Didsbury and Chorlton at Easter, Charnock made six changes, out went Ben Lightfoot to the bench, Deklan Hill, Tyler Rufus, injured, and in came Harvey Close, Mark Woods and Nathan Fairhurst. Ashley Young and Spencer Bibby dropped into the back four and Joe Noblet played alongside Carl Grimshaw. Alex Dodd and Anthony Hough joined goalkeeper Dan Roccia on the bench. Matt Davison, James Walker and Ross O’Farrell were still on the injured list and Louis Meyers was suspended.
1874 Norwich won the toss so Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end. Although wearing the number 3 shirt Jordyn Fitton lined up in midfield on the left with Alex Ralph playing at full back. The larger than usual attendance created a good atmosphere in the ground and the players responded; the pace of the game was impressive from the kick off and it was maintained throughout the game. Noblet had an early shot blocked and 1874 responded with an attack that saw Kazim Waite-Jackson shoot wide. The early end-to-end play saw the Villagers take the lead on 12 minutes, Grimshaw had a shot blocked in the area and when the ball came out to JOE NOBLET on the left corner of the penalty area he hit a shot into the far top corner of the goal. The game continued to be very open with both sides committed to attack, a right wing corner for 1874 caused the home defence problems but a shot off target saw the threat evaporate. The final minutes of the half provided an exciting spell of action. On 35 minutes a free kick for Charnock just outside the penalty area saw Grimshaw’s shot deflected for a corner, The kick saw keeper Greg Hall come out to the right edge of his area which gave Ashley Young a chance to attempt a shot on the unguarded goal but he was wide. Northwich then went straight up the other end and when Halton came out a player went down but the referee allowed play to continue. Harvey Close went on a run through the middle and found Grimshaw but his shot went narrowly past the post. Noblet saw an opportunity to again shoot from distance but his effort was wide but nevertheless it was worth trying. On 39 minutes when another Northwich player went down in the box the referee pointed to the spot and Scott McGowen sent Halton the wrong way to make the score 1-1. A minute into added time an excellent move from Charnock saw them restore their lead, Jordyn Fitton fed Woods who raced to the bye-line on the right and GRIMSHAW turned his centre home from close range.
It had been a great first half and the second did not disappoint with early on, Close hitting a centre across the face of the goal but with no-one on hand to convert it. The Villagers increased their lead on 55 minutes, a right wing corner saw a defender and Young crash to the ground and after taking his time the referee awarded a penalty. CARL GRIMSHAW stepped up and gave Hall no chance. The game was very open and both teams were showing their ability to break at speed and Charnock launched another attack down the right on 59 minutes and when the centre came in JORDYN FITTON turned the ball home from close range to score his first goal for the club. Most clubs at 4-1 down would lose heart but not a side that has had so much success in knock-out competitions this season and they introduced two substitutes on 60 minutes which gave then fresh legs. 1874 continued to push forward looking to get back into the game and Charnock looked to exploit the space with some speedy breaks but it was Northwich that largely dominated the remainder of the match. Kyle Riley within a minute of his introduction shot narrowly past a post and then Taylor Kennerley had a great chance when the ball dropped over Bibby’s head but he fired over the bar. When the ball found full back Paul Connor unmarked just on the right edge of the penalty area he hit a shot that found the net via the back post. Obviously the goal gave the visitors a boost but when Fitton centred from the left to beyond the back post Grimshaw laid the ball across to Close, he wanted two touches instead of shooting first time and the ball rolled into the hands of Hall. It was difficult to see how Charnock failed to increase their lead on 77 minutes when Woods worked his way along the right bye-line right up to the goal but somehow the ball was scrambled away. Jack Pritchard shot over the bar from another good chance as the visitors showed their ability to attack at speed. Paul Connor was particular active in the closing stages and hit two shots similar the one from which he scored but both went beyond the far post. Grimshaw tried his luck from distance, in added time, hoping to catch Hall off his line but the keeper was back to save his effort.
It had been an exciting game because both sides were prepared to attack and it was satisfying to see Charnock getting back to their best. It had been disappointing that their last three games had been postponed but the almost two weeks rest appeared to have made a real difference. Several of the players who had been looking jaded produced much improved appearances and overall it had proved to be a very satisfying evening for the Villagers. With their back-log of fixtures there is no respite for 1874 Northwich and inevitably playing up to four times a week is having a very adverse effect on any hopes they may have of promotion but I am sure that they would not have missed all the glory that has come their way in the FA Vase this season.
The referee issued nine yellow cards in a game that was not particularly physical but in a lot of the cases it was for silly offences whereby the offender commits fouls that inevitably receive a statutory caution.
Charnock Richard are at home again on Saturday 14th April to league leaders Runcorn Linnets, kick off 3.00pm, and have two midweek games on Tuesday 17th April away at Ashton Athletic and Thursday back at Mossie Park for the visit of Congleton. Both these matches kick off at 7.45pm.