Charnock won 2-1 at West Didsbury and Chorlton with Carl Grimshaw and Oliver Oxley finding the net.
The Reserves won 4-1 at Longridge Town with two goals from Lewis Pilgrim and the others from James Hamer and Joe Clark.
West Didsbury and Chorlton 1 Charnock Richard 2
Saturday 16th Feb 2019, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
WEST DIDSBURY & CHORLTON 1
CHARNOCK RICHARD 2
Attendance : 407
West Didsbury & Chorlton: Marcus Burgess, Matt Marsh (Joel Dixon 79), Kyle Pearson, John Sergeant, Ryan Eiselt, Tom Horner, Miranda Ezequiel (Divine Shanganya 69), Matt Eckersley, Tom Bailey, James Coombes (Abel Tsegay 75), Subs (Not Used): Josh Tinker, Joe Shaw.
Charnock Richard: Kyle Haslam, Spencer Bibby, Ross O’Farrell, Oliver Turner, Ryan Schofield, Troy Carsley, Joe Noblet, Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw (Mark Woods 78), Oliver Oxley (Matt Davison 62), Jake Higham (James Walker 70).
Charnock Richard, with this 2-1 win, completed the double over relegation threatened West Didsbury and Chorlton at The Recreation Ground, however, it was not a game that will feature in the memories of the travelling supporters for long. Carl Grimshaw gave the visitors an early lead but the home team equalised from the penalty spot before Olly Oxley restored the Villagers lead on the stroke of half time. The standard of football in the second half was even worse than in the first with both teams consistently giving the ball away.
There were two changes to the side that collected a point at Congleton three weeks earlier with Ross O’Farrell coming in for Mark Woods and Joe Noblet starting in place of Matt Davison. The two players who missed out were on the bench alongside James Walker. Reports that Carl Grimshaw had suffered a major ankle injury in training on the previous Saturday and was likely to be missing for some time proved groundless with the burley striker starting up front. Although Ross O’Farrell wore the number 3 shirt he played in midfield with Jake Higham continuing at left back. Mark Adams, Ashley Young and Danny Regan all remained on the injury list.
It was a largely overcast afternoon with little wind and the pitch after a dry spell was beginning to take a typical end of season look with the grass sparse and the surface a little uneven. Charnock won the toss so West Didsbury kicked off playing towards the clubhouse end. An early attack from West Didsbury saw Ezequiel go down in the area but the referee correctly waved play on and the Villagers took charge for a spell that saw them take the lead. On nine minutes Joe Noblet delivered a free kick from out on the right and CARL GRIMSHAW, at the back post, headed the ball into the top corner of the net. The home team came back into the game however and Charnock found themselves under pressure for a spell but for all their dominance West Didsbury failed to produce a shot on target. Turner had to concede a corner, Ryan Schofield was booked and Sergeant hit a shot wide from 20 yards out. As the half progressed Charnock again took the upper hand but the standard of the football from both sides was disappointing. Grimshaw made room on the edge of the area but his left foot shot was wide. The Charnock defence was performing well and Kyle Haslam in goal was having a quiet afternoon but the home side equalised on 40 minutes, the penalty coming from nowhere really. Bibby had a chance to clear but when the ball came back to Schofield he shaped up to clear but Bailey got across him and went to ground and the referee pointed to the spot. Haslam dived left but Bailey put his penalty kick down the middle and it was 1-1. It was a disappointment for the Villagers. However, a goalkeeping error at the other end on 45 minutes saw Charnock’s lead restored, Noblet centred from the right Burgess failed to hang onto the ball and OXLEY did well to nip in and lash the loose ball into the net. Neither team had played well in the first half but the lack of penetration by the home side meant that they could not really complain about the 2-1 score line.
Any hopes by their supporters for Charnock to improve in the second half were dashed because the football from both sides continued to disappoint. West Didsbury, increasingly as the game progressed, lumped the ball forward at every occasion but the visiting defence stood firm with both Ryan Schofield and Oliver Turner dealing confidently with the high balls. Most of Kyle Haslam’s energy was spent coming out to collect over hit through balls and he did not have a save to make as the only shot that the home team had on target in the 90 minutes was the penalty. With Oxley playing on the right and O’Farrell and Carsley dominating in midfield the home team failed to create chances but the Villagers struggled to produce cohesive football and relied on breakaways. They could well have made the game safe well before the end of the 90 minutes. A Noblet free kick from just outside the area found the head of Grimshaw coming in from the right but his header lacked power because his shirt was being pulled but the referee waved play on. Then Bibby cut through from the right but he delayed his pass to put Grimshaw free just enough for the striker to be flagged offside. Matt Davison replaced Oliver Oxley on 62 minutes and this was the start of a number of substitutions with both teams using all their three substitutes by the 79th minute. The game continued to meander along with plenty of effort from the home side but little end product. A great save from Burgess on 71 minutes kept the home team in the game, for once Charnock produced an excellent attack that finished with Carsley hitting a powerful shot from 10 yards which the home keeper turned over the bar for a corner. Grimshaw’s ankle injury finally caught up with him on 78 minutes with Mark Woods replacing him and possibly for the first time in his career the midfielder took over the striker’s role. In the final 10 minutes of normal time a fair proportion of the 407 crowd had massed behind the Charnock goal in an attempt to encourage their side to, at least, find an equaliser and the players responded by hitting the ball long on every occasion. The closest they came was when a back pass from Schofield had Haslam scrambling across his goal to collect. There was four minutes of added time indicated by the referee during which Oliver Turner required attention, about one minute, but the final whistle did not come until almost seven minutes had been played. It was all a little nerve racking for the away supporters.
Charnock can be satisfied with the three points that keep them in contention to finish higher in the table than the sixth place that they attained last season. West Didsbury and Chorlton are battling to maintain their position in the Premier division and it is never easy playing against teams in this situation. As we have seen over many seasons when Charnock are playing a team who adopt long ball tactics they tend to become much more direct themselves and this was the case in this game. The final 20 minutes or so saw both sides just hitting the ball forward at every opportunity not the style that has seen the Villagers have so much success over the years.
Charnock are without a league fixture on Saturday 23rd February, but they have arranged a friendly game against West Lancashire League side Stoneclough at Mossie Park, kick-off 3.00pm. Their next league game is the re-arranged home fixture against table toppers City of Liverpool on Saturday 2nd March kick-off 3.00pm.