Charnock beat Congleton 2-0 at Mossie Park. Carl Grimshaw and Jordyn Fitton scored the goals
Charnock Richard 2 Congleton 0
Thursday 19th April 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
CONGLETON TOWN 0
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Ross O’Farrell, Harvey Close, Alex Dodd (Matt Davison 66), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Tyler Rufus, Jordyn Fitton (Alex Ralph 75). Subs: (Not Used) Mark Woods, Joe Noblet, Matt Westwell.
This 2-0 win over Congleton saw Charnock return to winning ways after two defeats and helped their chances of finishing in the top six after Bootle lost at home. Both teams hit the woodwork in the opening half and Charnock took the lead immediately before the interval. After increasing their lead early in the second half Charnock had to withstand pressure from a big, strong opposition as the match came to a conclusion.
There were six changes to the side that lost 5-0 on the previous Tuesday, out went Ben Lightfoot, unavailable, Ryan Schofield, injured, David Prout, Mark Woods, Joe Noblet and Alex Ralph. In came James Walker, Ross O’Farrell, both returning after injury, Harvey Close, Tyler Rufus, Jordyn Fitton and Alex Dodd who was making his first start for the team. Joining Woods, Noblet, Ralph and Matt Westwell on the bench was the very welcome sight of Matt Davison who had been out injured since mid-March.
It was a fine evening after an exceptionally hot day for April and the attendance was 106. Charnock won the toss and Congleton kicked off playing towards the Charter Lane end. The visitors hit the bar in the fourth minute, Jonah O’Reilly seeing his shot from distance rebound from the woodwork. Once again there was a difference in the tactics employed by the teams with the visitors hitting the ball forward at every opportunity and Charnock producing their normal close passing game. On seven minutes Bibby hit a volley narrowly over the bar when the ball came out to him after a centre was cleared. Only the post stopped Grimshaw giving the Villagers the lead when Young played him clear and Dan Eccles palmed away an effort from Tyler Rufus on 10 minutes. The game was being played at a decent tempo with both teams showing their ability to create chances and Will Hasler-Cregg who proved to be a lively opponent throughout the game produced a cross from the left that saw Walker clear from just in front of a forward. Alex Dodd who was causing problems on the right then found Rufus but he struggled to control the ball. On 17 minutes Dodd again went down the right but his attempt to find Grimshaw coming in from the left went out for a goal kick. A series of balls thumped forward were dealt by the home defence which was looking far more secure than in the early stages of the second half at Ashton Athletic when four goals were conceded. The woodwork again thwarted Carl Grimshaw on 21 minutes when his header from a Bibby cross came back off the crossbar and Tyler Rufus almost carved a chance from the rebound. An individual run by Harvey Close into the area finished with his shot going across the area and out for a throw in. When on 36 minutes Fairhurst produced a cross from tight against the left corner flag Grimshaw got his head on it but it was fractionally too high for an effective strike. Tyler Rufus then saw two shots blocked before Hasler-Cregg hit a shot narrowly over the bar. On 45 minutes Young found Grimshaw again on the edge of the area and the burly striker held off a defender to hit the ball home. The slender lead for Charnock was probably justified on the balance of the play.
The second half started similar to the first with both sides looking to play football and the game continuing at a lively pace. Congleton however looked to play a less direct style and their ability to produce some accurate long passes caused the home team problems in the final stages of the game. Charnock increased their lead on 51 minutes, Rufus did well on the left of the six yard box close to the bye-line and JORDYN FITTON swept his cross home just in front of Grimshaw. A minute later Rufus hit a powerful shot from out on the right that Eccles got a hand to and the ball hit the bar and went out for a corner. On 55 minutes O’Farrell brought down Hasler-Cregg on the edge of the area, the winger got up to hit the free kick into the wall. It was the same player again on 63 minutes pulling a ball back to create a shooting opportunity but Young diverted the effort for a corner. Fitton then made a run into the area, keeper Eccles and Grimshaw both challenged for the ball and it ran free for a cross from the right to be cleared by an opposing defender. There was the welcome sight of Matt Davison returning to the fray replacing Alex Dodd on 66 minutes. The 72nd minute saw a let-off for Charnock when a header from right wing cross came back off the bar and the ball was scrambled clear. Congleton were now very much on the offensive and Halton had to palm away another effort. It looked as if Charnock would increase their lead when Close delivered from the right straight onto Grimshaw’s head at the back post but Eccles clawed away his header and then made a stop at point blank range before the ball was cleared. It was Hasler-Cregg again shooting narrowly over the bar on 75 minutes before right back Jack Disney fired a centre across the face of the goal. When a free kick was cleared to Davison his hooked shot went past the angle of the goal. In the closing minutes a great ball from Grimshaw sent Rufus away but he shot wide and then Bibby broke at speed from mid-field and Eccles brought off a fine save turning his shot over the bar. Halton did well to block a shot in added time.
After the disappointment of the heavy defeat at Ashton Athletic only two days previously this was a very satisfying victory and with still seven games to play in the following 18 days it was a relief to see the players who had been missing through injury returning to the squad. The need to offset excessive fatigue in the squad by player rotation would be so much easier for manager Andy Westwell with the injury list much reduced.
On Saturday 21st April, Charnock are at home to Runcorn Town who are lying third in the table and looking to grab the second promotion spot. Kick-off is 3.00pm.