Charnock scored a late equaliser to draw 3-3 at Congleton Town. Carl Grimshaw 2 and Oliver Oxley scored the goals.
The Reserves lost 1-0 at home to Croston Sports.
Congleton Town 3 Charnock Richard 3
Saturday 26th Jan 2019, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
CONGLETON TOWN 3
CHARNOCK RICHARD 3
Attendance : 182
Congleton Town : Craig Ellison, Tom Schofield, Jack Disney, Tom Stephens, Tom Morris, Anthony Griffith, William Hasler-Cregg, Paul Speed, Saul Henderson, Dan Cope (Steve Foster 77), Emini Adegbenro (Bevan Burey 77).
Subs: (Not Used) Richard Peters, Dean Warburton, Matt Jamison.
Charnock Richard: Kyle Haslam, Spencer Bibby, Jake Higham, Oliver Turner, Ryan Schofield, Troy Carsley (Ross O’Farrell 89), Matt Davison, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Oliver Oxley, Mark Woods (Joe Noblet 71). Sub: (Not Used) James Walker.
An excellent battling performance saw Charnock come away from Congleton with a point from a 3-3 draw. Two goals down at the break, the Villagers fought back to 2-2 only to see the home teams regain the lead in the closing minutes but Charnock were good enough to equalise again with two minutes remaining.
Another major injury for Ashley Young and with James Walker limping off before the final whistle in the previous week’s defeat by Runcorn Town meant that both players were in line to miss this game but James was named on the bench only to be used in a real emergency. So Oliver Turner, who has been patiently sitting on the bench in recent weeks, came in at the back. There was a welcome return for Spencer Bibby, who had been injured in the Barnoldswick game, at right back and Jake Higham dropped into the left back position. Oliver Oxley started in place of Joe Noblet who was on the bench.
Congleton have been in the top two in the table for most of the season but failure to win their three league games prior to this fixture have seen them drop into third position. It was a relatively mild afternoon with occasional sunny periods but light rain swept in before half time. Congleton are seeing some decent attendances this season and there were 182 present for this fixture. Charnock won the toss and chose to play up the slight slope, so Congleton kicked off.
Congleton are a tall, strong team and they do not hesitate in getting the ball forward and importantly shooting at every opportunity and basically Charnock struggled to contain them for a good part of the game. An impressive performance from keeper Kyle Haslam and lack of shooting accuracy in vital moments ensued that the Villagers remained in the contest to pick up a point.
Straight from the kick off Bibby had to concede a corner and although Charnock won a corner after five minutes most of the early play saw Charnock very much on the back foot. Two good blocks thwarted Hasley-Cregg and Cope. Playing against the slope and the wind the Villagers had to cope with a series of long balls and they struggled. It was not really surprising when Congleton took the lead on 13 minutes, Disney got down the left and Charnock’s defence failed to clear his centre and Adegbenro hit a loose ball into the net. The home team maintained the pressure and it was all hands to the pumps at times in the Charnock defence. Kyle Haslam, after his disappointments the previous week, was up for the game and he dealt very capably producing a number of fine saves that kept Charnock in the match. Charnock were struggling to create chances up front but Carl Grimshaw is always a handful and Oliver Oxley with his first start for a number of weeks provided plenty of movement in the Congleton half. On 23 minutes Charnock created their first real chance with Oxley feeding Fairhurst, he found Grimshaw who turned and his shot was diverted off Morris for a corner. Then it was Grimshaw again shooting from the right and Ellison in the home goal turning the ball out for a corner. At the other end the Charnock defence were working hard to prevent the home team going further ahead with Congleton maintaining their tactics of hitting the ball long. Both Turner and Schofield did well heading away a number of high balls. Charnock almost equalised on 32 minutes with the home defence under pressure, keeper Craig Ellison left his goal and failed to connect with the ball it came out to Carsley but his shot, which looked destined for the unguarded net, was cleared by Morris. The 40th minute saw the home team extend their lead when their tactics of shooting on every opportunity were rewarded, Speed out on the right, some 35 yards from goal, hit a fine shot that sailed over Haslam’s head and found the far top corner of the net. Charnock’s hopes of keeping the deficit to one goal at half time were shattered. It could have been worst as Cope broke clear from another long ball but he shot wide. Then the same player worked an opening on the right but his shot went across the goal and wide.
Losing 2-0 at half time Charnock were really up against it and it looked as if the second half would be a case of trying to keep the margin of the final defeat as minimum as possible. The opening minutes of the half progressed in a similar fashion to the first with the home side largely dominating. On 53 minutes Charnock almost conceded a similar goal to the previous game when a poor pass from Haslam set up a simple shot into the unguarded Charnock goal. On this occasion Lyle’s clearance, from the right of his area, hit Schofield and rebounded to Hasler-Cregg but this time Kyle raced back to, at full stretch, palm away his shot for a corner. Then the keeper did really well to tip over the bar a powerful effort from Henderson. Cope, with a little bit of luck, beat Turner close to the right touch line and set up Adegbenro who shot wide when he should at least of hit the target. Another free kick conceded by the Villagers saw Haslam again thwart Henderson. As the half was progressing it looked odds on that Congleton would increase their lead and on 66 minutes it was Haslam again to the rescue saving from Adegbenro and following up Hasler-Cregg shot over the bar. However, it was coming more apparent that having the benefit of the slope and the wind was a major help and the Villagers began to take advantage. Charnock pulled a goal back on 68 minutes by taking advantage of the elements, a long clearance from Haslam caused the home defence problems Grimshaw looked odds on to score as he powered into the area but a tackle nipped the ball off his toe, it dropped to OXLEY who made no mistake scoring his seventh goal of the season. Charnock sent on Joe Noblett for Mark Woods after 71 minutes. Congleton were rattled somewhat and Charnock grew in confidence but considering the way that the game had been so far it had to be a surprise when they equalised on 74 minutes. Keeper Ellison tried to find left back Disney but Davison was too quick nipping in and intercepting the ball and racing towards the near post, his pass finished up with GRIMSHAW turning the ball into the net from close range. The Villagers had been rewarded for their ‘never say die attitude’ and their diligence in defence. Congleton made a double substitution bringing on Foster and Burey. Another long ball saw Noblett go clear on the right but from a good position his shot went beyond the far post. The home team regained the lead on 83 minutes, a foul by Schofield just inside his own half saw the free kick pumped into the penalty area, Haslam came out a long way to punch and made poor contact and when eventually the ball dropped to Speed, just outside the area, he drove a powerful shot through a ruck of players into the net. Immediately a melee developed around the Charnock goalmouth that eventually seemed to involve most of the players. It took some time to calm everyone down and after consultation with his assistants the referee issued yellow cards to Congleton’s Foster and Schofield and Grimshaw for Charnock. It looked as if the Villagers were going to have to accept defeat but they were not finished and with the home side looking to hang onto their lead it was once again Davison on 88 minutes who set up Charnock’s second equaliser with GRIMSHAW again finding the net from his pass. It was then a case of Charnock hanging on for a point in a tense final two minutes of normal time and four additional minutes.
It had been a difficult game for the ‘team in green’, under pressure for considerable periods they had definitely rode their luck at times but by they had never given up and to fight back after seeing the home team again take the lead with only minutes remaining was a remarkable response.
Next Saturday 2nd February sees the Villagers play their fourth game in a row against teams from the top four, on this occasion they entertain run away league leaders City of Liverpool at Mossie Park, kick-off is 3.00pm as usual.