Charnock win 4-2 at Irlam with Carl Grimshaw, Ross O'Farrell, Jake Higham and Oli Oxley scoring the goals.
The Reserves beat Mill Hill St Peter's Reserves 5-1 with goals from Whittle 2, Aird, Adams and McNally.
Irlam 2 Charnock Richard 4
Saturday 29th September 2018, North West Counties League Premier Division
CHARNOCK RICHARD 4
Charnock Richard: Chris Cheetham, Ross O’Farrell, James Walker, Callum Darcy (Alex Ralph 64), Jack Sanders, Mark Woods, Danny Regan, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Ashley Stott (Oliver Oxley 77), Jacob Higham (Joe Noblet 86). Subs: (Not Used) Ryan Schofield, Tyler Rufus.
Irlam: Lee White, Sam Bolton (Karl Cassell 86), Joel Amado, Liam Morrison, Ryan Ledsom, Connor Braithwaite, Marcus Perry, Josh Nixon (Conor Martin 75), Liam Pollitt, Dan Eyres, Matt Bolland. Subs; (Not Used) Ed Griffiths, Haydn Foulds.
This match was considerably closer than the score may suggest with three of the Charnock goals coming in the final 20 minutes. Charnock had the balance of the play in the early stages and took the lead but Irlam came back to equalise and finish the first half on the up. The second half was fairly even until Charnock regained the lead but there were then several scares for the Villagers’ defence before a further two goals made the three points safe. Irlam pulled a goal back in added time.
Following the excellent win in midweek at Lancaster City in the LFA Challenge Trophy there were two changes, Mark Woods started for the injured Ash Ball and Carl Grimshaw came in for Oliver Oxley who was on the bench. Joe Noblet joined Alex Ralph, Tyler Rufus and Ryan Schofield on the bench. Spencer Bibby, Ashley Young and Ash Ball were on the injured list.
It was a sunny afternoon and the pitch looked in excellent condition. Irlam won the toss and Charnock kicked off. The team in green dominated the opening minutes, Stott almost turned the ball past the advancing keeper after Grimshaw had headed on a long clearance but the ball lacked power and Lee White turned and dived to grab it. An attack down the left saw Darcy’s shot tipped away by White but the referee awarded a goal kick. The home side’s first real attack came after seven minutes, Perry delivering from the right but the ball just sped across the face of the goal. After a slow start it was now Irlam’s chance to put some pressure on the three man Charnock defence but Cheetham was not really tested. A Charnock attack resulted in Stott being put clear down the left from a free kick, the ball eventually coming out to Fairhurst but his shot from outside the area went over the bar. A poor free kick from Woods saw White fumble the ball and it went out for a fortunate corner for Charnock. When Regan delivered the corner, on 16 minutes, the ball ran through to Sanders on the right, he put the ball back in and GRIMSHAW pounced to drive the ball home from six yards. Charnock were now looking far more comfortable but whilst having the majority of the possession they failed to create chances. On 26 minutes they conceded a free kick out on the left and failed to deal with the resulting cross to the back post and eventually Ledsom hit an equaliser from close range. The goal gave Irlam added impetus and the game swung more their way. Grimshaw headed over a Woods free kick from the right after Regan had been adjudged to have been fouled, a dubious decision. In the final minutes of the half Irlam could have taken the lead, Liam Pollitt’s header was saved by Cheetham and then the keeper made a flying save to thwart Perry. 1-1 at half time looked a fair reflection on the game to date.
Perry almost opened up the Charnock defence in the first minute of the second half cutting in along the right bye-line the ball eventually going out for a corner. Sanders dealt with the corner and then cleared away a free kick as the home side opened the half on the attack. A short corner on the right gave Regan a chance to cross and White had to beat it away before Fairhurst’s overhead kick was cleared. Grimshaw then swung at a ball out on the left but his effort never threatened the goal. The lively left back Joel Amado had a good run down the left on 57 minutes, Sanders eventually robbing him near the corner flag. On 55 minutes a central free kick taken by Woods saw Grimshaw somehow get his head to it but it went just over the bar. Another dubious free kick, this time for Irlam, on the left corner of the area saw Cheetham make a good save. At this stage the game was very even and it could have gone either way. Charnock made a change on 64 minutes with Alex Ralph replacing Callum Darcy and his arrival gave the Villagers a boost. A foul for Charnock out on the left, on 69 minutes, gave Woods another opportunity to deliver a free kick and this time he found the head of the unmarked O’FARRELL, at the back post, and his powerful header restored Charnock’s lead. As expected the goal put Charnock back in charge and it gave them a real chance to collect the points. On 77 minutes Oliver Oxley came on for Ashley Stott. Only an amazing feat of defending maintained Charnock’s lead in the 81st minute, Cheetham left his area on the left to clear the ball but totally mis-kicked and Perry was free to run in on the open goal, he took a touch to line up the shot but before he could deliver the vital blow Walker got back to clear the ball off his toe for a corner. It was a wonderful piece of defending and a vital moment in the game and it gave Charnock the chance to go on and win. Irlam were really pressing for an equaliser and Perry again made progress on the right but Cheetham caught his cross. Charnock increased their lead on 86 minutes when Fairhurst on the left found HIGHAM and he squeezed a shot between White and the near post. At last there was some breathing space for the Villagers. Before the re-start Jake Higham was replaced by Joe Noblet who immediately went across into the right back position. Danny Regan, who had another impressive display, was proving to be a real threat down the Charnock right and another cross from him on 87 minutes was just too high for Grimshaw. Perry again did well down the right but his cross was cleared. James Walker suffered another groin injury in his attempt to tackle Perry and had to leave the field leaving Charnock with only ten men. It was another addition to the Charnock injury list that has seen them deprived of a number of important players so far this season. On 90 minutes Regan again got free cutting in along the bye-line and finding OXLEY who hit the ball home via the inside of the far post. The score of 4-1 did not truly represent how close this game had been and was really the result of the home side putting all their commitment, after falling behind, on chasing an equaliser. There was finally, in added time, some compensation for the home team when substitute Martin finished off another cross from the right.
Irlam have had some impressive results so far this season and their involvement in the FA Cup had only come to an end on the previous Saturday and their performance reflected the form they have shown. On another day they could well have picked up the points because Charnock had to work hard for their victory. The Villagers were given little opportunity to produce their normal football as the home team closed them down repeatedly. After only one win in their previous four league games it was important that Charnock did not suffer another defeat and a hard working performance had delivered the points.
Charnock are at home against Padiham on Tuesday 2nd October kick-off 7.45pm before travelling to Winsford on Saturday 6th October.