Darr hits hat-trick in Charnock Richard victory
A spirited performance from Charnock Richard, who for two thirds of the game were a man light, saw out a 4-3 win over Cheshire side Congleton Town at Mossie Park.
Manager Ryan Donnellan made just the one change from the previous game at Nelson in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, bringing back Mark Woods into the starting XI.
The game was played at a frantic pace throughout, and with the Greens looking for their fourth win on the bounce, but the visitors made the brighter start.
After just three minutes, Callum Jakovlevs was called into action to parry away a shot from Graves from 20 yards out.
Two minutes later, Ashley Young conceded a penalty kick for a foul on Arron Johns, and despite Jakovlevs going the right way, Darren Chadwick’s spot-kick was too strong.
Four minutes later, Charnock were back on level terms.
Jordan Darr, after picking up Young’s long pass, raced onto it, cut past Scott Lycett and unleashed a shot over the stretching David Parton inside the far post.
Congleton had an enforced change on 18 minutes when Lycett was replaced by Armel Zola.
With much of the play in midfield, chances were at a premium, Jepson heading a free-kick wide from inside the area was the best on 19 minutes.
On 28 minutes a sweeping move between Carsley and Darr saw the latter lifting the shot over the crossbar from a narrow angle.
Charnock’s Mark Woods swung a free-kick in from midway inside the Congleton half which saw Parton catch then throw out down the wing for Nsaka.
Woods brought the marauding full-back down and was shown a straight red card by referee Mr Leonard.
Nsaka was replaced by Ethan Hartshorn shortly afterwards.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Nathan Nickeas cleared the crossbar with a knocked-back free-kick, but a quick breakaway saw Charnock go into the break in front.
It was a move that started and ended with Darr, as he picked a clearance up inside his own half, finding Nickeas on the right, who stroked the ball back to Darr to hit it first time past the outstretched hand of Parton.
It was Darr’s 20th goal of the season so far.
In the second half, a trip on Kyle Diskin saw Jack Gooden in the book, but two corners in succession saw Charnock go further ahead.
Luke Gibson rose highest at the back to head home Gooden’s set piece to make it 3-1.
Darr was booked for knocking the ball away after the referee had given a free-kick to the visitors, and Gibson headed a Charnock free-kick of their own towards goal but Parton kept it out with a despairing dive to his left.
Darr claimed his first hat-trick of the season just after the hour mark, when Gooden’s strike to goal was parried by Parton, the striker following up with a scuffed shot which crept in.
Charnock still had to be alert as Jakovlevs saved smartly from Johns, and sub Hartshorn put Diskin’s cross wide of the mark on 69 minutes.
Congleton got one back a minute later through Jordan Johnson, as he turned home Diskin’s cross from a quick break.
Congleton captain Gary Roberts headed over a cross from Graves as the visitors piled on the pressure on the 10 men of Charnock.
Another goal back for Congleton set up a grandstand finish as Tom Pope turned in at the back post.
Brad Carsley had a chance to secure the points for the Greens as he ran the length of the Congleton half in injury time, but Parton made the save despite no real effort from the No. 9, Charnock hung on for the points.
Charnock Richard are back in action on Tuesday evening as they entertain Squires Gate at home, kick off 7.45pm.
CHARNOCK RICHARD: Jakovlevs, Green, M Haydock, Young, Gibson, L Haydock, Gooden, Woods, Carsley (capt), Darr, Nickeas. Subs: Regan (for Gooden), Westwell (for Darr), Fairhurst, Riding (for Nickeas).
Meanwhile, Charnock Richard Reserves came from 4-1 down with 10 minutes to go to draw 4-4 at Freckleton in the West Lancashire League Division Two.