Charnock lose their unbeaten league record going down 3-1 in an entertaining game at Bootle. Joe Noblet scored the goal.
Bootle 3 Charnock Richard 1
Tuesday 21st August 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Bootle: Ryan Jones, Lee McConchie, Charlie Kelly, Steven Hoy, Joel Powell, Michael Ormish, Stephen Milne (Andrew Gillespie 83), Liam Loughlin, Elliot Nevitt (Ben Jego 83), Carl Peers, Anthony Hickey (Karl Noon 87). Subs: (Not Used) Dan Murphy, Jack McGoven.
Charnock Richard: Connor King, Joe Noblet, Ryan Schofield, Ashley Young, Jack Sanders, Mark Woods (Ashley Ball 70), Danny Regan, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Oliver Oxley, Alex Ralph (Jake Higham 70). Subs: (Not Used) Ashley Stott, Patrik Bibby.
This was an entertaining match with both sides producing some excellent football; Charnock were marginally the better side in the early stages and took the lead but the home side came back into the game and equalised before half time. The second half saw Bootle step up their game and they scored twice to record a deserved 3-1 victory.
There was only one change to the line-up from the team that won 4-1 at home to Hanley on the previous Saturday. Ross O’Farrell was unavailable due to work commitments so Ryan Schofield made his first appearance of the season at the back. Ash Ball came in for the missing Harvey Close on the bench.
It was another pleasant summer evening with little wind and the pitch had a good covering of grass considering the drought conditions suffered earlier in the summer. Charnock won the toss so Bootle kicked off. The Villagers again lined up with three defenders at the back, five in midfield and two strikers. It was a fairly cautious start by both sides who knocked the ball around confidently. Charnock’s first threat came on seven minutes when Grimshaw headed on and Jones, in the home goal, just beat Oxley to the ball. When Alex Ralph centred from the left Carl Grimshaw headed straight at Jones. Bootle came back with left back Kelly being given too much room as he burst forward and his shot from 20 yards skimmed the bar. The tempo of the game was brisk and the teams looked evenly matched but at this stage Charnock were possibly looking the side most likely to score. Fairhurst fed Noblet from the right and his shot was diverted for a corner. A short right wing corner from Charnock was played to Noblet and his centre was destined for the head of Young but Regan beat him to the ball only for it to fly beyond the back post. Charnock took the lead on 19 minutes, a ball out to Regan on the right saw him set up NOBLET for a shot, Jones attempted a save but the ball spun into the net. Charnock maintained their pressure and Ralph worked his way into the box but shot high over the bar. A free kick for Bootle saw the ball passed to Milne and he hit a pile driver that King did well to beat out with Sanders completing the clearance. It was the start of a period of pressure from the home team that eventually saw them equalise. On 24 minutes it was King again pulling off a fine save after a right wing corner for the Bucks. Since Connor took over in goal he has not really been tested but he certainly found out that life in the North West Counties League can be tough in this game. Another corner for Bottle saw two or three shots blocked as the Villagers fought hard to hang onto their lead. Charnock retaliated with Ralph getting down the left and Regan nipping in front of Jones as the centre came in but the failed to make a positive contact. On 31 minutes Nevitt broke into the box on the right but his shot was well wide. The previous ten minutes had seen Charnock having to defend before on 31 minutes an attack down the left saw the ball passed inside to Carl Peers who shot just inside the post. The game continued end to end and Oxley had a good chance on 40 minutes when Grimshaw put him clear but he shot just beyond the far post. It had been a highly entertaining first half with the 1-1 scoreline being a fair representation of the play.
Bootle came out of the traps running for the second half and put Charnock on the defensive right from the start. They were much more direct in their tactics from the first half and the Charnock back three really came under pressure. The Bucks had upped the tempo of the game and they produced a series of dangerous attacks whilst at the other end Charnock struggled to produce the quality that had the home defence under pressure in the first 45 minutes. A home raid down the right saw a centre that was just too high for a header at the back post. On 53 minutes Nevitt beat Sanders on the left bye-line and Hickey turned his centre home at the near post. The Bucks maintained their pressure and the Villagers’ back three really struggled as they lacked support from both wing backs, Danny Regan and Alex Ralph. The home team should have added to their lead on 64 minutes when two players broke on one Charnock defender but the final shot was, surprisingly, off target. Another break by the home team down the right set up another powerful shot but it hit Sanders to go out for a corner. Yet another corner resulted in a shot over bar. For all Charnock’s efforts they were producing very little of consequence in the opposing penalty area. Bootle increased their lead and effectively made the game safe on 68 minutes, Young was caught out and Milne ran clear to beat the advancing King. Charnock made a double substitution on 70 minutes, Jake Higham and Ash Ball coming on for Mark Woods and Alex Ralph. Nevitt then stepped inside Sanders to send a shot just beyond the far post. Another shot was deflected wide as Charnock continued to struggle at the back. Charnock almost pulled a goal back on 79 minutes a long kick from King was headed on by Grimshaw and Oxley had a shot from distance that hit the top of the bar. The home team sat back somewhat in the final 10 minutes as they fielded their three substitutes but whilst the Villagers continued to press forward they failed to create any chances.
Both sides had come into the fixture unbeaten and the match was always going to be a stern test for Charnock. Last season saw The Villagers collect four points against Bootle and knock them out of the cup but the final results had not always been a fair reflection on the games. Bootle have been, for a number of seasons, finishing in the top six in the table and last term they finished with more points than Charnock and upon this display there is no reason to doubt that they will up amongst the top runners again this season. For Charnock it pleasing to see that, based upon this performance, they can have plenty of confidence that they can compete at this level of football.