Charnock won 2-1 at Abbey Hey, Jon Hession and Carl Grimshaw scored the goals.
The Reserves won 5-0 at home to Furness Rovers with goals from John Sanderson 2, Lewis Pilgrim, Liam McNally.
The Academy lost 5-0 at home to Anchorsholme.
Abbey Hey 1 Charnock Richard 2
Saturday 6th January 2018, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
ABBEY HEY 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
Att : 70
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Harvey Close (Ross O’Farrell 45), Ashley Young, David Sherlock (Joe Noblett 76), Matt Davison, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Jon Hession (Anthony Hough 81), Alex Ralph. Subs: (Not Used) Jack Sanders.
Charnock Richard returned to action after a two week break due to the weather and having suffered a 4-1 home defeat by City of Liverpool, their second defeat by this score at Mossie Park on the run. Abbey Hey having won 1-0 at Charnock in early November had failed to collect any points in December and had lost 4-0 at home to Maine Road on the previous Saturday so both teams were anxious to get back to winning ways. Unfortunately the standard of football on show was disappointing but there was plenty of endeavour from both sides so it was a 2-1 hard earned win for Charnock. Having produced very little in attack Charnock took a rather surprise lead after 25 minutes but the home side struck back quickly and it was 1-1 at half time. Charnock produced an improved performance in the second half but struggled to break down the home defence and the winning goal came with only five minutes of normal time remaining.
There were a number of changes to the team that lost to City of Liverpool, Ryan Schofield and Mark Woods were both suspended but Matt Davison was back having completed his suspension. Ross O’Farrell, Jack Sanders and Joe Noblett all dropped to the bench with Harvey Close and Ashley Young lining up as the two central defenders. David Sherlock started in midfield and Jon Hession was back from injury and was up front. New signing from AFC Darwen Alex Ralph was on the left of midfield. Anthony Hough returned from a facial injury and he was on the bench.
It was a fine afternoon but chilly and Charnock supporters made up a fair proportion of the crowd of 70. Considering all the recent inclement weather the pitch was in good condition but it was still very soft.
Charnock won the toss and Abbey Hey kicked off playing with the benefit of a light, northerly wind. There was very little football of note during the opening 25 minutes the home side adopting a more direct style of play which was probably the best considering the pitch and Charnock trying to produce their normal passing football but giving the ball away too easily. Abbey Hey certainly were the more effective during this period and Adam Halton was by far the busiest keeper with Ross Haywood in the home goal not having a shot to save. Early on Grimshaw set up Davison but his shot was way off target but at the other end Walker had to produce a fine tackle when Sam Freakes threatened and when the home side broke, after Young appeared to have been fouled, a shot went just the wrong side of the post with Halton rooted to the spot. So it was rather a surprise, but very welcome, when Charnock took the lead after 25 minutes, new signing Alex Ralph made his mark when he drifted into the centre of midfield and threaded a ball through the home defence that sent JON HESSION clear and as Haywood advanced he coolly rolled the ball past him and into the corner of the net. The goal really boosted the Villagers and they picked up the pace of their game and looked much more like the side that they have been for much of the first half of the season. Sherlock impressed when he knocked the ball up in the air and volleyed goalwards but his effort was off target; it would have been a spectacular goal. A Carl Grimshaw header then just dropped over the angle of the goal but Abbey Hey were back in the game after 32 minutes. Charnock defended poorly down their left and when a centre came in, Freakes just got in front of Bibby and although Halton got a hand to the ball he could not prevent it rolling over the line. Both sides continued to battle away but neither keeper was seriously tested and the sides remained level at the interval.
Ross O’Farrell replaced Harvey Close for the second 45 minutes. If there was any advantage from the wind the Villagers had the benefit in the second half, certainly the long ball tactics from Abbey were far less effective but that may have been because Charnock’s performance was much improved. There was an early chance for the team in green when Haywood left his area to clear straight to Nathan Fairhurst and he hit a long distance shot that found the target but a defender had got back onto the goal line and he prevented the Villagers taking the lead. Charnock were now dominating the play but when Young completely missed his kick, O’Farrell did well to marshall the striker wide with Bibby then winning the ball off him. Charnock almost took the lead on 56 minutes, Fairhurst did well down the left and his left footed centre found Hession but his header came back off the post. Spencer Bibby then cut right across the pitch, fed Ralph who gave him the ball back and he set up Sherlock who shot from distance and Haywood had to dive to turn the ball around the post. Abbey Hey were really struggling up front but a run down their right saw a centre flash across the face of the Charnock goal with no-one on hand to take advantage. The standard of football on show was still not impressive but it was becoming a case of could the Villagers snatch a winning goal. Ralph switched to the right and created a couple of moments in the home defence and then Fairhurst and Davison had powerful shots blocked. Joe Noblett replaced David Sherlock and then Ant Hough came on for Jon Hession. Carl Grimshaw found some space down the right but when he cut inside his left foot shot was way over the bar much to his disappointment. Hough made a good raid down the left and his centre saw a shot diverted for a corner. The pressure was continuing to build and finally Charnock achieved the breakthrough on 85 minutes, Matt Davison producing a diagonal cross which saw GRIMSHAW nip in at the back post to poke the ball into the net. It was then just a case of Charnock holding onto their lead for the final five minutes of normal time and then the same period of added time. It had not been easy but the Villagers had ground out a hard fought victory and the resulting three points moved them up the table into fourth position.
On Tuesday 9th January, Charnock travel to Barnoldswick Town to make their sixth attempt to play the many times postponed 2nd Round Macron Cup Tie, kick off 7.45pm. On Saturday 13th January Charnock host Ashton Athletic at Mossie Park kick off 3.00pm.