Charnock scored an added time winner for a 2-1 victory in the FA Vase at Alnwick Town. Ashley Stott and Carl Grimshaw scored the goals.
The Reserves won 1-0 at Galgate with a goal from Richard Coley.
Alnwick Town 1 Charnock Richard 2
Saturday 1st September 2018, FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round
ALNWICK TOWN 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
Alnwick Town: Callum Brooks, Harry Milham, Max Clark, Liam Cravagan (Paul Myers 46), Brendon Balmora, Kyle Burns, Ross Moore, Josh Briggs, Brad NcClelland, Jon Quinn, Joe Threlfall (Dan Donohoe 59). Subs: (Not Used) Jamie Dixon, Paul Yeadon, Tom Slack.
Charnock Richard: Chris Cheetham, Joe Noblet, Ross O'Farrell, Ryan Schofield, Jack Sanders, Mark Woods (Matt Westwell 90), Danny Regan, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Ashley Stott (Oliver Oxley 67), Jake Higham (Callum Darcy 77).
Six days previously a team travelled north to St James' Park to play a team in black and white stripes and had to face a blanket defence and Charnock Richard faced similar situation when they travelled to Alnwick Town's ground with a similar name and strip for this FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round. Chelsea won 2-1 in the Premier League and so did Charnock, eventually, with the winner coming deep into added time. It was a rearguard action for the home team from the first whistle but they grabbed a one goal lead against the play midway through the first half. The Villagers equalised just before the break and continued their onslaught throughout the second half. Just when it looked as if the tie would go to extra time Charnock at last got the thoroughly deserved vital goal.
Charnock were very much down to the bare bones of their squad with Ashley Young joining James Walker, Matt Davison and Spencer Bibby on the injury list. Several players were unavailable but there was the return of Ross O'Farrell who came in at the back. Ashley Stott was preferred to Oliver Oxley up front and Jake Higham came in for Alex Ralph on the left. Callum Darcy and Matt Westwell joined Oxley on a three man substitutes bench.
It was a fine but overcast afternoon with little wind and a freshly mowed pitch set off a very neat looking stadium. Alnwick won the toss and Charnock kicked off playing up the hill and in the first minute Stott on the right fed Noblet who found Grimshaw but his shot was tame and easily saved by Brooks in goal. This set the tone of the tie with the home side putting up a vitual 10 man defence and Charnock dominating the possession. Stott had a header saved, Brooks had to save with his foot at the near post when Regan worked his way along the bye-line. There was nine minutes on the clock before Cheetham touched the ball. Brooks then was out to grab the ball off the toe of Stott before pushing a Sanders effort away for a corner. On 24 minutes McClelland had Alnwick's first attempt. Two minutes later they scored, a diagonal ball from out on the left saw a Charnock defender with two attackers and Moore's shot was almost saved by Cheetham but the ball rolled into the net at the back post. Charnock retaliated with a Noblet centre being headed over his own bar by Balmora. The game resumed its previous format of a training 'attack against defence' with the home side continuing to defend impressively but have a good dollop of luck. Although Charnock's passing was not at its best with the ball being given away too frequently but they were, by far, the better side. Charnock desperately needed a goal before half time and it looked as if they would be disappointed but on 43 minutes Regan got down the right pulled the ball back to Sanders and his centre from the right was headed over the keeper into the net by ASHLEY STOTT. Brooks then saved from Stott and Grimshaw did well to meet a Regan centre but he only turned the ball into the arms of Brooks.
The second half opened with Grimshaw heading over the bar and the format of the game continued as in the first 45 minutes. The home defence continued to live by the skin of its teeth with centres not just dropping into the right areas and balls deflecting to safety off defenders. It is many seasons since Charnock have dominated a game so convincingly without being suitably rewarded. The problem with the Villagers pushing forward was they became more and more vulnerable at the back and Moore threatened when he broke down the right but the attack fizzled out. A free kick out on the right saw Cheetham have to tip Quinn's effort over the bar. One of the main problems was that Charnock's shots and headers were not on goal and those that were, seemed to hit a defender. McClelland had another chance but his shot was weak and Cheetham saved easily. Oxley replaced Stott and Charnock's domination continued. Callum Darcy came on, to make his debut for the Villagers, replacing Jake Higham. Joe Noblet hit a free kick from the edge of the area over the bar and the best chance so far in the match fell to Grimshaw when a great ball from Woods put him clear but Brooks got enough on the shot to deflect it just past the post. It looked as if the tie was destined for another 30 minutes as the clock showed 90 minutes but deep into the added time a Woods left wing corner found GRIMSHAW and he hit the ball home from 10 yards and you could hear the gasps of relief from the green army.
It had been a momentous feat of defending by Alnwick and as often is the case their efforts had been rewarded with a fair amount of luck. Charnock had kept going until the end and finally had been rewarded and now face a tie against Penrith, again away, on Saturday 15th September.
Tuesday 4th September sees Charnock hosting Leek Town in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. Kick-off is 7.45pm.