1874’S WINNING RUN CONTINUES IN STYLE
1874 NORTHWICH FC 5 V 0 CHARNOCK RICHARD
This report was written by Keith Reader from Charnock Richard
Charnock Richard failed to put a dent in the promotion hopes of league leaders 1874 Northwich who look certain to be plying their trade in the Northern Premier League next season. Losing by the same score, 5-0, as in the fixture at Mossie Park in August whilst not overrun the Villagers could have no complaints regarding the defeat. Two goals down at the interval any hopes of a Charnock fight back ended early in the second half when the home team made it 3-0. To be honest Charnock created very little in the home penalty area and goalkeeper Aghayere was never really extended.
The starting line-up saw one change from the team that beat Rylands the previous week; Mark Woods had not recovered from injury so Lewis Haydock came into midfield. Ross O’Farrell returned from suspension and illness and was on the bench alongside Matt Davison, Oliver Oxley and Aaron Griffth.
It was a fine afternoon with no wind but after another unsettled week the pitch was heavy and cut up considerably, not an ideal surface for Charnock to produce their neat passing football.
There was a very healthy crowd of 321 for this top of the table encounter.
Charnock won the toss and decided to play up the slope and struggled to make a real impact on the game right from the first whistle. There was four minutes on the clock before they got into the Northwich half. There was a contrast between the two teams’ styles Charnock struggled to play their passing game but the home team were prepared to hit the ball forward and with some speedy runners they carried a real threat throughout the afternoon. McGowan brought the first save out of Ascroft before Darr had a powerful run but it came to nothing. Knight shot over the bar before, on 20 minutes, Northwich took the lead through a lucky deflection. Jake Parker’s shot flicked off a defender and wrong footed Ascroft. Three minutes later it looked as if Charnock had conceded a penalty when Hare went clear and appeared to go down under a challenge from Ascroft but the referee ruled that the goalkeeper had not made contact with the striker and issued a yellow card for diving. It was 2-0 however on the stroke of the half hour, Charnock were caught short of defenders as the midfield failed to get goal side of the runners and McGowan exchanged passes with Hare before decisively beating Ascroft. Perhaps the best chance of the first half came from Darr when on 34 minutes he cut across from the left and stung the hands of the home keeper.
Bennett had a shot from distance over the bar before Knight saw two shots deflected as the home team maintained their pressure. In the first half the Villagers had not been outplayed; they had, at times, produced some decent football but the home team were full of confidence and had pushed forward in numbers.
Charnock were playing down the slope in the second half and if they were to rescue something out of the game they needed an early goal and a diving header by Haydock from a Darr cross gave the faithful Charnock followers some degree of hope. However Northwich increased their lead on 53 minutes, a poor ball played out of defence set up the home side, they were not in the mood to miss chances and Gardner beat Ascroft from 10 yards. Bibby responded with a shot over the bar and Bennett saw his deflected effort fall luckily for Aghayere to collect.
There was a good header from Grimshaw to a Bibby cross but it went straight to the keeper.
A last ditch tackle from Young on 63 minutes prevented McGowan possibly putting the home team further ahead before Gardner shot narrowly over the bar. The home team were continuing their tactics of hitting the ball forward at every opportunity and looking for midfield runners, a policy that was proving to be particularly effective with the under-foot conditions. Lee Knight was proving to be a real handful on the right until he was withdrawn on 69 minutes. Charnock’s success has been built upon slick neat passing football which is really effective on firm pitches and they really struggled on the pudding-like-surface on this occasion.
Just before Christmas Charnock signed Nathan Nickeas from Croston Sports Club and immediately and gave him his full debut in the game at Squires Gate. It has been a huge jump up from playing at a level below Step-7 to Step-5 and the young lad has not looked out of place in the five games he has played since. The standard of this game along with a big crowd was possibly the most demanding that he has met in his career but once again he produced another creditable performance but he looked like he had run out of energy when he was replaced by Matt Davison on 64 minutes. The 68th minute saw Charnock concede another goal and again it was a result of giving the ball away when trying to play out of defence, McGowan capitalised upon the mistake and flighted a delightful shot over Ascroft’s head into the far corner of the goal.
It was beginning to look as if Charnock were on the way to a really punishing defeat but they rallied and created several threats in the home penalty area without testing the home keeper. Harry Cain had come on for Knight and when the Charnock defensive set up gave him a clear path to goal he cut in from the right and hit a shot past Ascroft into the far corner of the net on 73 minutes. It made the 5-0 score line equal to the result that Charnock had suffered in the encounter at Mossie Park. Ross O’Farrell replaced Jack Bennett on 75 minutes. Charnock won a couple of corners and McGowan missed a chance to make it six by scuffing a shot and Ascroft made an easy save. On 85 minutes Oliver Oxley replaced Danny Regan. The game finished with Hare shooting wide when well placed and at the other end Darr miscuing when played in on the right.The Villagers competed right up to the final whistle but to be honest they never looked like getting anything from this game. 1874 Northwich are very good side and they should easily achieve their objective of gaining promotion this season; they are capable of making a real impact in the Northern Premier League.