Charnock draw 1-1 at home to Runcorn Town, Carl Grimshaw scored the goal. The Academy drew 2-2 at home to Walmer Bridge with Stanton and Griffiths finding the net.
Charnock Richard 1 Runcorn Town 1
Saturday 21st April 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
RUNCORN TOWN 1
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Ross O’Farrell, Mark Woods, Matt Davison (Joe Noblet 78), Nathan Fairhurst (Harvey Close 70), Carl Grimshaw, Tyler Rufus (Jordyn Fitton 87), Alex Ralph. Sub: (Not Used) Alex Dodd.
Charnock conceded a goal in the second minute of added time to see Runcorn Town depart with a valuable point in their quest to finish in runners up spot in the table. It was disappointing for the Villagers who put up another good performance against a side that has been in the top places in the table all season. An early goal gave Charnock the lead and they were good value for it in the first half; as expected Runcorn came out with plenty of determination for the second 45 minutes but Charnock produced some good football and when it looked as if they would complete the double over the Cheshire based side a defensive error cost them two points.
As expected there were several changes to the starting line-up as manager Andy Westwell struggles with playing three matches a week. Out went Jordyn Fitton, Alex Dodd, and Harvey Close, all on the bench and in came Mark Woods, Alex Ralph and Matt Davison. Joe Noblet completed the four substitutes.
It was a hot afternoon and not surprisingly the pitch was on the firm side something not experienced since last autumn. Charnock won the toss and Runcorn kicked off playing towards the Charter Lane end.
Charnock were extremely lucky not to be down to 10 men after two minutes after a wild tackle from Ross O’Farrell only earnt him a yellow card. It was no surprise to see Charnock making most of the early running and when Grimshaw fed Rufus only a timely tackle from Marcus James prevented the tall striker from shooting. Grimshaw then had three shots blocked as he was surrounded by three defenders. The Villagers took the lead on 15 minutes, Walker sent a ball in from out on the left and GRIMSHAW at the back post headed home. The goal was a fair refection on the game so far. Runcorn had their first real chance after 19 minutes; a good run down the right set up Simon Thelwell for a shot but it lacked power and was straight at Halton. A free kick, central just outside the area, was taken by James Walker but he only hit the wall. When Tyler Rufus made room for a shot on the edge of the area it was hit with power but straight at Reid in the visitors’ goal. Then Young put Tyler away on the left and another powerful shot saw Reid beat the ball away. Runcorn were seeing enough of the ball but it was the home side that was setting the pace for most of the first half. Adam Halton, in the home goal, was not really troubled and the home defence with the return of Ross O’Farrell and James Walker from injury had been in similar form to earlier in the season when Charnock had a spell of not conceding more than one goal a game in 12 consecutive matches.
If there was any advantage from the wind Charnock had it in the second half but as expected the visitors picked up their game in the second 45 minutes. The first ten minutes of the half saw Runcorn on the attack but not creating any chances. On 56 minutes a ball glancing off a defender’s head saw Grimshaw go clear but his left foot shot went beyond the far post. Spencer Bibby advanced and hit shot over the bar before Davison hooked a shot back from outside the area, on 64 minutes, which Reid tipped over the bar but the referee decided it was a goal kick. Runcorn were now looking more dangerous and as the half progressed their tactics were increasingly to hit the ball forward as often as possible. However, Young and O’Farrell were dominant in the air at the back and the defence looked solid but it was breached on 69 minutes and Adam Halton brought off a magnificent save, a ball from the left saw a Craig Cairns volley from close range but Adam got enough on the shot to turn it onto the bar and away. Harvey Close came on for Nathan Fairhurst after 70 minutes as Charnock continued to defend and look for breakaways. Davison then raced into the six yard box on the left and put a shot beyond the far post; A square ball would have set up Grimshaw. The same player then attacked down the right and Reid just beat Grimshaw to his cross. Joe Noblet replaced Davison on 78 minutes as Andy Westwell looked to add fresh legs in Charnock’s attempt to hang on to their slender lead. With the aerial attacks from the visitors continuing the home defenders were holding out well and Runcorn were failing to create any clear cut chances. Jordyn Fitton came on for Tyler Rufus, who had been a real handful for the visiting defence, on 87 minutes and the Villagers looked to play out the final minutes and claim the three points that would keep them in sixth place in the table. However it was not to be, when Young surged forward into midfield it left an ominous gap and as Runcorn attacked Halton came out to collect and a home defender headed the ball out of his hands and it ran free and Cairns hit it into the net at the back post in the second minutes of five minutes added time. Charnock could still have won the game, and on their performance deserved to, but Grimshaw headed narrowly over the bar from a Bibby free kick.
It was disappointing to only pick up one point because the Villagers produced another fine display against the team that started the season with 11 straight league wins. Unfortunately the number of injuries experienced since mid-March has seen Charnock’s chances of finishing in the top six severely knocked but hopefully, with most of the injured players now back, the remaining six league games will see the team in green finish the season on a high.
On Tuesday 24th April Charnock are scheduled to play West Didsbury and Chorlton away but their ground is not available due to planning restrictions on their floodlights, a decision on whether another ground will host the game or if it will be postponed has not yet been made. Watch this site for updates. On Thursday 26th April Charnock are at home to Northwich Victoria Kick off 7.45pm.