An highly entertaining Emirates FA Cup tie saw Charnock draw 2-2 with Leek Town at Mossie Park. Scorers were Ash Ball and Joe Noblet. The clubs now replay on Saturday 8th September at Harrison Park, Leek.
Charnock Richard 2 Leek Town 2
Tuesday 4th September 2018, FA Cup Preliminary Round
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
LEEK TOWN 2
Charnock Richard: Chris Cheetham, Ross O’Farrell, James Walker, Ryan Schofield, Jack Sanders, Ashley Ball (Callum Darcy 71), Mark Woods, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Joe Noblet (Oliver Oxley 76), Jake Higham. Subs: (Not Used) Adam Halton, Ashley Stott, Matthew Westwell.
Leek Town: Dan Roberts, Niall Green, Andy McWilliams, Marc Grocott, Scott Lycett, Matthew Bailey, Niall Maguire (Jordan Johnson 76), Charlie Walford (Sam Hall 76), Zeph Thomas (Tim Grice 66), Dan Tricett-Smith. Robert Stevenson. Subs: (Not Used) Darren Chadwick, Jessy Bavanganga, Harry Brazel, Ben Chapman.
There have been a number of excellent mid-week floodlit games in recent seasons and this was another highly competitive, entertaining match witnessed by a bumper crowd of 232. Charnock’s reinstatement into the Emirates FA Cup following the elimination of Litherland REMYCA, who played an ineligible player in the Extra Preliminary Round, saw them hosting Leek Town from the Northern Premier League at Mossie Park. An intense first half saw the game goalless at half time. The visitors took the lead early in the second 45 minutes but the Villagers quickly equalised before taking the lead and they were on their way to the 1st Qualifying Round before Leek equalised from the penalty spot with seven minutes remaining.
There were two changes to the starting line-up that won at Alnwick Town on the previous Saturday, Danny Regen was unavailable and Ashley Stott dropped to the bench. In came James Walker and Ash Ball with Callum Darcy, Oliver Oxley, Ashley Stott, Matthew Westwell and substitute goalkeeper Adam Halton on the bench.
It was a fine evening and as usual the pitch was in excellent condition.
Leek Town won the toss and Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end and straight from the start the pattern of the tie became quickly evident with both teams looking to attack. A right wing cross from Stevenson, luckily for Charnock, dropped just behind Thomas in front of goal and Jack Sanders recovered well when a through ball almost caught out the home defence. There was a break on 11 minutes when the floodlights went out but after a 10 minute delay they were back on and the game continued. As Leek Town continued to look the most dangerous side O’Farrell had to head out to concede a corner. When Higham swung a high ball from the left Roberts in the visitor’s goal caught the ball just under the bar. On 15 minutes Trickett-Smith, who was to carry a threat throughout the game, shot high and wide. A long clearance from Cheetham saw Grimshaw head on and Ball was almost clear. Then, as Charnock began a spell of domination, Highham very nearly played in Grimshaw. When Trickett-Smith got the wrong side of Sanders and went down in the area the referee waved play on. Walker’s first attempt at a cross was blocked but when the ball came back to him his centre was headed over the bar by Grimshaw. Then a ball from Fairhurst was destined for the head of Grimshaw before it was headed clear. Noblet then had a shot from the edge of the area that lack power and Roberts collected easily. On 24 minutes Thomas was set up for a shooting chance but he fired wide of the home goal. Grimshaw found Noblet but he shot wide. The 28th minute saw Cheetham turn away a Stevenson shot and Woods cleared the loose ball. The game was certainly end to end with plenty of goalmouth action. When Walford centred from the left Cheetham came out to punch clear. The home team were now under pressure and a free kick from Trickett-Smith was eventually cleared. Another good move by the visitors eventually ended with Cheetham diving on the ball. On 40 minutes a shot from Ball drifted just beyond the angle of the goal. Thomas then beat Schofield but his shot was straight at Cheetham. Roberts just beat Grimshaw to a cross from Walker. Half time arrived to conclude a goalless but nevertheless very entertaining 45 minutes.
The second half was only four minutes old when Leek took the lead, Stevenson crossed from the right and Trickett-Smith made no mistake in beating Cheetham. Charnock then rose to the challenge and were level four minutes later, a free kick from Woods saw ASH BALL head home and the tie again was level. Two attempts from Noblet one over the bar and the other straight at Roberts came before Maguire shot over the bar after good work by Stevenson down the right. Charnock took the lead on 63 minutes, When Walker went down it looked a rather dubious foul but Grimshaw rose in front of Roberts to the Woods free kick and NOBLET headed into the empty net. Grice replaced Zeph Thomas for the visitors on 66 minutes and Charnock brought on Callum Darcy for Ash Ball on 71 minutes. Carl Grimshaw headed over the bar and the game continued to be very even but Leek were struggling to test Cheetham. The visitors made two substitutions on 76 minutes Johnson coming on for Maguire and Hall replacing Walford, at the same time Oliver Oxley replaced Joe Noblet. After all the previous goalmouth activity the game became much more midfield based and it was all looking very promising for the Villagers. However a mis-timed tackle by Schofield, very close to the bye-line on the right, saw the visitors awarded a penalty on 83 minutes and substitute Tim Grice, who is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, made no mistake from the spot. The visitors boosted by their equaliser pushed forward looking for a winner and Sanders had to be at his best to repel one attack. When a shot was blocked Trickett-Smith hit a powerful shot but it was straight at Cheetham. There was four minutes of added time and the clubs are now due to meet for a replay at Harrison Park, in Leek, on Saturday 8th September kick off 3.00pm.
Both sides had concentrated on playing football and some excellent refereeing resulted in a game when no cards were shown, a rare occurrence in today’s football. It had been an excellent cup tie and it was disappointing from Charnock’s point of view that they had not managed to hold onto their lead but the Blues had contributed hugely to the game and perhaps a draw was the right conclusion.