Charnock won 1-0 at relegation threatened Abbey Hey with Carl Grimshaw scoring the goal.
The Reserves drew 4-4 at Mossie Park with goals from Blackhurst 2, Hession and Hamer
Abbey Hey 0 Charnock Richard 1
Saturday 23rd March 2019, Hallmark Security League Premier Division
ABBEY HEY 0
CHARNOCK RICHARD 1
Attendance : 70
Abbey Hey: Ross Heywood, Mark Doran, Louis Edwards, Sam Parr, Arthur Okonkwo, Elliot Harrison, Adam Barlow (Luka Zucotti 68), Lewis Haydock (Dan Hopkins 1), Oliver Walker, Owen Whitehead (Dylan Stringer-Hoth 53), Sam Oko.
Subs: (Not Used) Keiron Dale, Peter Watling.
Charnock Richard: Kyle Haslam, Spencer Bibby, James Walker, Ashley Young, Oliver Turner, Troy Carsley, Matt Davison (Mark Woods 43) (Aaron Griffith 89), Nathan Fairhurst, Carl Grimshaw, Ross O’Farrell, Joe Noblet (Oliver Oxley 60).
Sub: (Not Used) Jake Higham.
Abbey Hey marooned at the foot of the table are fighting to avoid relegation and whilst their chances diminish after every defeat they are still showing plenty of spirit. When a team is in the lower reaches of the table it always seems that decisions and luck go against them and this was the case on this occasion. The referee waved away what looked like a stonewall penalty for them and Charnock produced a goal line save with the help of the inside of a post in the second half. On a pitch with a surface far from ideal for Charnock’s style of football the team struggled to produce a performance. Similar to the last away fixture at West Didsbury and Chorlton there was too many long balls played and the standard of passing was disappointing. After a goalless first half the deadlock was broken with 20 minutes remaining and there must be some satisfaction in that the goal came as a result of, for once, some neat football.
There was one enforced change from the starting eleven that beat Winsford United 6-2 two weeks previously. Oliver Turner, fit again, replaced Ryan Schofield who had been involved in a road accident the previous weekend.
It was a bright afternoon and relatively mild with virtually no wind as Abbey Hey kicked off playing towards the northern end of the Abbey Stadium. The home team suffered a blow in the first minute when O’Farrell challenged Haydock and the latter player suffered a facial injury. Despite very lengthy treatment he was unable to continue and Hopkins came on to replace him. Abbey soon showed that they intended to get the ball forward as quickly as possible and along with plenty of enthusiasm they made the better start to the game. They could have been a goal up after only 12 minutes when a centre flashed across the face of the Charnock goal and Haslam chased after it and a deliberate push, close to the bye-line, sent an opponent flying but whilst everyone else on the ground thought it was a penalty the referee waved play on. The home manager was so disappointed and his constant complaints, after three warnings from the referee, saw him sent off after 37 minutes. The home team maintained a high line defence and there were a number of offside decisions that halted the Villagers attacks as they struggled to put together any decent football. The home team were full of running and the game was quite physical at times but only one caution was issued. Both sides struggled to produce a shot on target in the opening half hour as the standard of football continued to be extremely disappointing. Matt Davison was clear after 23 minutes but by the time he had the ball under control two defenders were back and the chance disappeared. The home team had the ball in the net after 26 minutes but the offside flag was up. Just after the half hour mark Joe Noblet got clear down the left but Heywood, in goal, parried his shot out and Carsley, following up, saw his deflected shot over the bar. Two successive corners for Abbey came to nothing and the final minutes of the half, including five minutes added, saw Noblet have three shots at goal none of which really troubled Heywood. A wild challenge on 43 minutes by Barlow on Davison produced a yellow card and the winger was unable to continue so Mark Woods replaced him. The final minute of the half saw Grimshaw go clear on goal but his shot was straight at Heywood. The 0-0 score line at the break gave every encouragement to the home team as every point counted and they were still in the hunt for all three points.
Despite the hopes of the 70 spectators, the standard of the football failed to improve for the second half with the ball constantly being hit up field by both teams, there were, however, odd flashes of passing football from Charnock. There was a real let off for the Villagers on 59 minutes, a left wing corner produced a shot that Walker, on the line, managed to divert onto the post from where it rebounded into the arms of Haslam. Oliver Oxley replaced Noblet after 60 minutes and provided some energetic running up front. The game meandered along with neither side really troubling the keepers and it increasingly looked as if it would remain goalless but a flash of inspiration on 69 minutes saw Charnock take the lead. A free kick 10 yards inside the home team’s half saw Bibby feed Woods on the edge of the area, he turned to the right made for the bye-line and his cross found GRIMSHAW unmarked in front of goal and it was a simple conversion. Abbey Hey did not lose heart and they competed right up to the final whistle but they never really tested Haslam. The closest that they came was Whitehead hitting a powerful shot that flashed by the left angle of the goal. Charnock should have scored again on 81 minutes when a Woods free kick found Fairhurst right in front of goal but his effort went up in the air dropped onto the top of the bar and out for a goal kick. Grimshaw had another powerful shot in added time but again it was straight at Heywood. Mark Woods was injured in the dying minutes and he was replaced by Aaron Griffith.
So congratulations to Charnock who battled away in difficult circumstances and came away with the three points which boosted their hopes of finishing in the top six for a second successive season. However the match will not linger long in the memories of those present but it is often the case that games featuring teams involved in relegation battles do not produce the most entertaining football. On Saturday 30th March Charnock host Irlam at Mossie Park, kick-off 3.00pm.