Charnock Richard win 2-0 at Irlam. Goals from James Walker and Jordyn Fitton.
Irlam 0 Charnock Richard 2
Thursday 3rd May 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Ross O’Farrell, Mark Woods, Harvey Close (Matt Davison 53), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Tyler Rufus, Jordyn Fitton (Alex Ralph 77). Subs: (Not Used) Joe Noblet, Alex Dodd, Ben Lightfoot.
This was another workmanlike performance by Charnock against an Irlam side that produced some excellent football and fielded a number of players with pace but they failed to create chances. After a rather indifferent start the quality of the game improved as the match progressed Charnock took the lead in the latter stages of the first half but had to withstand a period of pressure immediately after the break. An excellently executed shot doubled the Villagers lead with 20 minutes left and they comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to collect the three points.
Charnock won the toss and Irlam kicked off on a mild, calm evening on a pitch that showed little wear and tear and was in good condition considering the weather in recent months. Irlam are suffering from an extensive injury list similar to the position that Charnock found themselves in recently. This match followed a similar pattern to the previous encounter at Mossie Park back in late October which Charnock won 1-0 with my match report stating that “the game saw plenty of neat passing football but lacked goalmouth incidents”. The opening stages of the game were rather scrappy as both sides struggled to produce any cohesive football with Irlam having the first shot on five minutes which was off target. When Rufus challenged up front Grimshaw ran onto the free ball but his shot was mishit. Another ball over the top by Nathan saw Rufus shoot across the face of the goal after 11 minutes. Irlam came close to taking the lead on 18 minutes, a right wing corner to the back post saw a shot come off Grimshaw for another corner, a decision disputed by the visiting defenders but when this was cleared a shot saw Halton have to save with his feet. The standard of football was improving and the host team began to produce some neat football; the pace of several of their players began to cause problems. This was demonstrated when a Charnock attack broke down after 27 minutes and Marcus Perry streaked down the right from his own half and delivered a centre that Halton collected at the second attempt. A superb ball from Young out to the left was excellently controlled by Jordyn Fitton but his centre was headed clear. Grimshaw got into the area on the right after 29 minutes but his cross hit Sam Bolton and went for a corner and the defender could not continue so Andre Stewart came on. When Woods hooked in a high centre from a right sided throw in Fitton challenged keeper Karl Cassell with the latter just getting enough on the ball to turn it out for a corner. As the half progressed Charnock had begun to get on top and their pressure was rewarded on 34 minutes when they took the lead. When JAMES WALKER picked up the ball almost in his own half there was no real threat but he surged forward and hit a shot from distance that found the corner of the goal with Cassell, in the home goal, making no attempt to save. Fairhurst than had a shot, when the ball came out to him, and the ball came back off Cassell, Grimshaw had a shooting chance but the angle was narrow and the ball hit the side netting. There was a shooting opportunity for Dan Eyres, who had caught the eye in midfield, on 41 minutes but his effort was wide. Another excellent run by Perry, one minute into added time, set up Haydn Foulds but he failed to take the chance hitting the ball well wide. After a slow start the game had improved considerably and both teams had shown their ability to play some good football, a change after Charnock’s recent opponents had been committed to long ball tactics.
Irlam came out for the second half obviously having been boosted by the half time talk and really stepped up the pace of the game. Consequently the Charnock defence came under a spell of considerable pressure but with Ross O’Farrell and James Walker, back from injury, restored to the back four there was no sign of a disastrous spell of defending similar to the one that conceded four goals in the early minutes of the second half at Atherton Athletic three weeks previously. Playing the game at a higher tempo takes a lot out of a team so it was not too long before the pace slackend and Charnock began to see more of the ball. Harvey Close suffered an injury when tackling so Matt Davison replaced him on 53 minutes. With the visiting defence coping well with some speedy attacks and consequently Adam Halton not coming under pressure it was a case of the Villagers looking to increase their lead. It was JORDAN FITTON who scored the second goal on 69 minutes, when the ball came out to him 30 yards or so out he hit a delightful shot over the keeper’s head that went under the bar. There was no luck about it just a skilful execution by the young player who joined the club on the transfer deadline day from Ratcliffe Borough since when he has made 10 appearances, two from the bench, and scored three goals. The home team attempted to get back into the game with right back Macauley Harewood getting free on the right but his centre swept across the face of the goal without any colleges on hand to turn it home. Then it was Perry again finding space with his speed on the right, his pass set up a shooting opportunity but once again it was off target. Pollitt came on for Foulds for Irlam and Alex Ralph replaced Fitton both on 77 minutes. The two goal cushion saw Charnock comfortably in charge and Fairhurst had a shot blocked before in the closing minutes a Grimshaw shot hit the keeper.
The three points maintained Charnock’s chances of finishing in the top six, Linnets are champions and Widnes and Runcorn Town are vying for the runners up position it leaves Bootle, City of Liverpool, Hanley Town, 1874 Northwich and the Villagers competing for the remaining three positions. The final home game of the season on Saturday 5th May which is against Hanley Town promises to be a cracker, Kick Off is 3.00pm. Bank Holiday Monday sees Charnock at The Marine Travel Arena in Crosby to play AFC Liverpool, Kick Off 3.00pm