Charnock lose 3-1 at Squires Gate with Carl Grimshaw scoring the goal.
The Reserves win 4-0 at home to Thornton Cleveleys Reserves with two goals from Liam McNally and one each from Lewis Pilgrim and Oliver Oxley.
The Academy won 5-0 against Chorley Athletic with three goals from Griffiths and one each from Entwistle and Morey.
Squires Gate 3 Charnock Richard 1
Saturday 24th March 2018, Hallmark Security Premier Division
SQUIRES GATE 3
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Team: Adam Halton, Spencer Bibby, Jordyn Fitton, Ashley Young (Harvey Close 72), Michael Fletcher (Louis Mayers 46), Joe Noblet, Mark Woods, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, David Prout (Anthony Hough 72), Alex Ralph. Subs: (Not Used) Dan Roccia, Alex Dodd.
Their fifth away fixture in a row saw Charnock defeated by a strong Squires Gate side at the Brian Addison Stadium. As the matches come in rapid succession, this was the Villagers fourth in 10 days with another game scheduled for the following Monday so the injury list grows. A further two central defenders failed to finish this match as the final stages of the game saw Charnock struggling with a very makeshift defence. There however, can be no doubt that Squires Gate overall deserved their win. The home team took the lead on 19 minutes as Charnock struggled to produce their normal level of football but they levelled the scores early in the second half before the home team regained the lead with controversial goal and then added to it only minutes later. Charnock’s disappointing afternoon was summed up when they had a penalty saved and a player was sent off after the final whistle.
There were just two changes to the starting line-up. Mike Fletcher replaced the injured Ryan Schofield in central defence and Jordyn Fitton started at full back; Jordyn was one of the three new signings in the squad arriving from Radcliffe Borough along with Alex Dodd on works experience from Fleetwood Town, who was previously with Charnock in their Junior Section, and goalkeeper Dan Roccia signed as a back-up for Adam Halton. Both the latter players were on the bench along with Harvey Close and Anthony Hough both returning from injury and Louis Mayers back from his holidays. Ryan Schofield, Ross O’Farrell, Matt Davison and James Walker remained on the injury list.
It was a sunny relatively warm afternoon in stark contrast to the terrible conditions experienced on the previous Saturday. The attendance was 102. Charnock won the toss and Squires Gate kicked off playing towards the School Lane end. The Villagers lined up with a back four and in the first minute Alex Ralph was found on the left and he immediately hit a centre that Joe Noblet got his head to but it was an easy save for the keeper. Squires Gate were not slow to get the ball forward and Gary Pett, ex-Blackpool Wren Rovers, playing up front was a constant threat and early on Halton produced a fine save to a thundering volley from him. Charnock were struggling to produce anything similar to their normal game and with the home team quick to close players down, too many passes particularly in midfield were going astray. After suffering an early head injury Bamba tried to continue but finally had to leave the field looking in some distress. When a rebound luckily put the home team away down the right Halton had to turn a shot from Dean Ing over the bar. Squires Gate took the lead on 19 minutes, Sinclair got free down the left and PETT headed home his centre. It was a real setback for Charnock who had not been playing well and they continued to struggle creating very little in the home penalty area. Fletcher took a knock in his face conceding a free kick and he required lengthy treatment and the kick presented the Charnock defence with problems before it went out for a goal kick. Grimshaw managed to have a shot on target but it lacked power and Ben Fletcher in the home goal saved easily. Halton came out and clearly won the ball but a home player went down in the area and the resulting reaction from the home bench, shouting for a penalty, resulted in the Gate manager being sent off. On 37 minutes, Woods fed Ralph who cut inside and launched a shot from distance that dropped narrowly over the bar. Young did well just before the interval, whipping the ball off the toes of Ing as he burst through and then when Grimshaw set him up, Ralph again shot from distance but this time the effort went narrowly past the angle of the goal.
Charnock had to make a change for the second half, Louis Mayers replaced Mike Fletcher who was suffering from double vision. The villagers as expected started the half more impressively and after one of their beat moves of the game Prout produced a dipping shot that Fletcher turned over the bar. It was CARL GRIMSHAW again who gave the Villagers a huge boost by equalising on 53 minutes, Alex Ralph, who produced another all-round solid performance, hit a delightful diagonal cross that dropped just over the head of a defender and the division’s leading goalscorer gave Fletcher no chance. Charnock were back in the game and looking as if they could go on to claim all three points. However, almost immediately after the re-start the referee awarded a throw in to Gate that should have been Charnock’s and they broke down the right and the centre set up Pett for his second goal after 54 minutes. It was a huge disappointment for the team in green and they never managed to regain the impetus of the early minutes of the half. The game went further away from Charnock on 63 minutes, Bibby lost an aerial challenge and substitute Max Rothwell broke clear to beat Halton. Ralph produced a centre that saw Ben Fletcher save a header from Grimshaw before, on 72 minutes, Harvey Close replaced Ashley Young who was injured and Anthony Hough came on for David Prout. Fletcher again had to save a Grimshaw header before Mayers hit a powerful shot narrowly over the bar. Charnock were given a chance to get back into the match when Woods was tripped in the area, however Nathan Fairhurst saw his penalty saved by Ben Fletcher on 79 minutes. The final stages of the game saw Halton make another fine save and then after the final whistle Louis Mayers was sent off for something he said to the referee. It had been another disappointing day for Charnock, a succession of away games with little time for recovery and a succession of injuries to important players were all contributing to a lack of confidence in the side.
The relentless run of fixtures continues with the Villagers returning to Winsford United on Monday 26th March in the quarter finals of the Macron Cup. Charnock then play their first home fixture for a month on Saturday 31st March against West Didsbury and Chorlton, kick off 3.00pm.