Darr delivers away win for Charnock Richard
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Charnock Richard came through their latest NWCFL Premier Division match against Irlam FC, winning by the only goal of the game scored by leading scorer Jordan Darr in the ninth minute.
With it, they also kept their first league clean sheet of the season as the home side pressed for an equaliser towards the end.
Manager Ryan Donnellan re-introduced both Spencer Bibby and Nathan Fairhurst into the starting XI after lengthy lay-offs.
Irlam kicked off and soon enough Charnock got into their stride, as Ashley Young cleared an Aaron Skinner cross, a minute later there was an early booking for Logan Holroyd for a shirt pull on Nathan Nickeas.
Charnock were determined to control the game early on, and won a corner on six minutes, but Young headed over the Nickeas’ set-piece.
The solitary goal of the game came three minutes later, a long ball from behind the halfway line from Nickeas dropped in front of Jordan Darr, and after shrugging off the defender raced to goal to slide it past Lee White.
With the goal came more Charnock pressure, Darr getting a sight of goal again but this time drilling it over the bar.
Jack Foxley picked up a booking for bringing down Gooden in full flow, Bibby’s free-kick deflected over for a corner which came to nothing.
A wide soft shot from troublesome Irlam midfielder Skinner was the best they had to offer on the dark and wet afternoon in Greater Manchester.
Charnock still pressed and Nickeas saw a couple of chances go over the bar as space was found on the wing thanks to vision from the midfielders.
Luke Gibson had a chance to extend the lead as he headed a corner over the back post just before the interval.
The second half failed to live up to the expectation of the first half as Charnock, at times, were comfortable to soak up any chances the home side had to offer.
Despite Nickeas getting in on the action again volleying wide of White’s goal from a Fairhurst cross.
Charnock had the rub of the green on many occasions in the second half as balls fell kindly to them as Irlam looked to unlock the door of the defence.
A break just after the hour mark which saw Carsley combine with Darr, found the latter hitting the ball against the chest of Foxley in the area as he tried to cross in.
Lee White dived down to his right to stop a Darr cross as the Charnock man tried to find Carsley.
Goalkeeper Callum Jakovlevs made a fingertip stop to deny Ethan Cartwright as Irlam breached the resilient backline.
With Will Riding coming on, it gave the home side a further problem to deal with, with Foxley stopping the winger from getting inside the penalty area with only White to beat.
Charnock still had to be alert, a couple of chances for Ethan Beckford were deflected over and a double save from Jakovlevs kept the Greens in the lead.
A cross from Beckford saw Bibby defend well, heading the ball out for a throw just as an Irlam man was arriving at the back post.
On 82 minutes, Darr had the ball in the net but the flag on the far side was raised quickly for offside.
Charnock saw the game out and with it kept up the pressure on table-topping Macclesfield, who dropped points against Runcorn Town, and Skelmersdale who currently sit in second place.
Charnock’s next game falls on Tuesday as they travel to Wythenshawe Town (7.45pm kick-off.
Meanwhile, Charnock Richard Reserves were beaten 4-1 by table-topping Rossendale, with Ross Ellison getting Charnock’s goal in the West Lancashire League Division Two clash.