Charnock lost 4-1 at home to Widnes. Carl Grimshaw scored the only goal for the Villagers.
The Reserve game at Euxton Villa was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Charnock Richard 1 Widnes 4
Saturday 16th December 2017, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Team: Jordan Gidley, Joe Noblet (Harvey Close 58), James Walker (David Sherlock 73), Jack Sanders, Ryan Schofield, Ashley Young, Matt Davison (Anthony Hough 58), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Spencer Bibby, Mark Woods. Subs (Not Used): Ross O’Farrell, Adam Halton.
Charnock pulled out all the stops to get this game played, a 10.30am inspection was negative but the suggestion by the referee to wait until midday was taken and the decision then was that the pitch was playable. The way that the afternoon panned out it may have been better for the Villagers if it had been postponed. Charnock conceded a goal in the first minute, had a player sent off after 11 minutes and from then on struggled to contain a lively Widnes side that were intent on revenge for the 3-0 defeat that Charnock inflicted on them only four weeks previously at the Select Security Stadium. The defeat was Charnock’s heaviest of the season and it was the first time since the first league game of the season that they have conceded more than two goals.
Charnock made one change to the starting line-up that won 3-1 at Padiham in the LFA Challenge Trophy, Spencer Bibby coming in up front for David Sherlock. Harvey Close was on the bench having been transferred from Sandbach the previous week. Jon Hession and Connor Loftus were still out injured and Mark Adams was still struggling with health problems. It was a chilly afternoon but a fine attendance of 131 was very satisfactory.
Widnes won the toss and Charnock kicked off playing towards the Mawdesley Plantation end and the visitors quickly broke down the left. Charnock conceded a corner from which, with less than a minute on the clock, Kevin Pollard hit a sweet shot into the top corner of the net giving Jordan Gidley no chance. It was a real blow for the Villagers but they quickly re-grouped and following another corner for Widnes, Bibby broke through the middle only a fine recovery tackle prevented him from shooting. From the resulting corner Young headed straight at keeper Mottram from point blank range who beat the ball out and Grimshaw’s header came back off the bar. With a little more luck it could have been 1-1. However there was further disappointment for Charnock on 11 minutes Mark Woods went in with Bannister for a ball and the latter player came off worst and Woods was sent off. Players can no longer fly into these type of tackles because if you fail to win the ball you are charged with being out of control and a red card is the result. Widnes are an excellent side and, after a disappointing start to the season, have in the last few months, been in excellent form. Already a goal down it was now an enormous task for Charnock to get anything from the game however in the first half they made a spirited attempt and, but for goalkeeper Richard Mottram, could well have gone in at the interval in the lead. The Widnes stopper was declared the Reusch Goalkeeper of the Month for November and he certainly lived up to his billing in this match. He turned a Sanders’ header destined for the top corner around the post and produced a really impressive flying save to thwart Carl Grimshaw on the stroke of half time. However, it was Widnes setting a high tempo and producing most of the football with Charnock having to dig in and defend. In the first half there were several chances for the visitors but the Villagers when they broke carried a threat and at the interval Widnes only led by the single goal.
The second half saw the visitors step up their game and consequently most of the play was in the Charnock half. Early in the half Grimshaw cut in from the right but Mottram was out to clear the ball off his toe. Widnes increased their lead on 52 minutes, Ben Hodkinson firing into the net from the left. It already looked like a lost cause but manager Andy Westwell brought on two substitutions on 58 minutes and changed the formation. Anthony Hough and Harvey Close replaced Matt Davison and Joe Noblet and Charnock reverted to a back three of Sanders, Schofield and Close. The later had a fine debut and at one point produced a fine tackle when three Widnes players broke forward on him. The substitutions, however, had little influence on the way the game was going and when Doran strolled through the middle on 64 minutes and played the ball out to the left Kevin Towey hit the resulting centre into the net. With 25 minutes remaining it was a case of how many could Widnes score and there was a let off for Charnock on 71 minutes when a front post header from a left wing corner rebound clear off the back post. Another attack on 77 minutes finished with Hough diverting the centre into his own net. Charnock continued to compete but with a player down and several others not at their best it was a match in which defeat had almost been certain from the 11th minute. Mottram was finally beaten in the 88th minute when Charnock put together possibly their best move of the match it finished with Bibby reaching the bye-line on the right and GRIMSHAW turning his cross home at the back post.
The Villagers will pick themselves up and be ready to continue their excellent season which so far has exceeded all pre-season expectations however it must be noted that they still have meet several clubs in the top six in the table.
On Tuesday 19th December, Charnock are away at AFC Darwen, kick off 7.45pm and on Saturday 23rd December they are scheduled to play City of Liverpool at Mossie Park kick off 3.00pm.