CURZON ASHTON 3, BLYTH SPARTANS 2
Curzon Ashton’s two-month wait is over as they posted a first victory in nine National League North matches as their barren spell came to an end at home to Blyth Spartans.
It was a welcome first league win since November 6 when they defeated AFC Fylde at the Tameside Stadium, though they have since beaten Chester in the FA Trophy.
The scoreline did not reflect the game, however, as Curzon, 3-0 ahead with five minutes left, almost slipped up and will be worried that teams have come back late against them in the last three games.
Curzon started brightly as Tom Peers fired over from six yards and Adam Thomas’ header cleared the bar in the opening six minutes.
Their pressure paid off when after 16 minutes another Curzon attack saw the ball land at the feet of Jamie Cooke who fired home from 18 yards through a crowded box and his shot deflected over goalkeeper Alex Mitchell, struck the upright, then hit Mitchell’s back and rolled into the net.
Curzon almost doubled their lead when Thomas played in Matthew Waters down the left, his low cross was met by Peers who got a touch to the ball only to see it go past Mitchell and hit the far post.
After 26 minutes, a great piece of footwork by Spartans’ Daniel Maguire saw him slip past two defenders to bear down on goal but keeper Chris Renshaw did well to block with the rebound going out for a goal kick.
Both sides had to make enforced changes after half an hour, Spartans saw Sado Djalo replace Connor Thomson while for Curzon Alex Curran came on for the injured Scott Wilson.
Curran’s first touch was to steer the ball into the net as Curzon scored a second. After good work by Adam Barton and Craig Mahon, Peers hit a low cross towards the back post where Curran tapped the ball home.
Curzon should have gone in at half time three goals to the good when Thomas got to Blyth’s by-line and pulled the ball back for Curran who saw his shot cleared off the line.
Mahon, who was having a great game, created space for himself but could only shoot wide as Curzon were good value for their half-time lead.
Two minutes into the second half Peers thought he had put Curzon three up when he latched onto a pass from Thomas, but he had strayed offside.
Mahon put Curzon 3-0 ahead in the 51st minute. He broke up Spartans’ attack and burst into the box, went past his marker, turned back to get on to his right foot. With the crowd expecting him to shoot he turned the ball back again onto his left and, with everyone thinking the chance had gone, drove the ball low past Mitchell.
Mahon then played in Peers who shot wide, but Spartans were starting to create a few chances themselves.
Mitchell pulled off two great saves to deny Thomas in quick succession as they almost went 4-0 ahead.
Spartans got themselves what appeared an consolation goal in the 85th minute when Curzon had taken their foot off the ball and allowed the visitors good possession, with the ball dropping to Jonathon O’Donnell on the edge of the box and he curled a delightful ball past Renshaw into the far corner.
They caused Curzon more problems in added time when they got a second goal through Djalo when he steered the ball home from a low cross from the right, though the hosts held on for victory.