BRADFORD PARK AVENUE 2, CURZON ASHTON 1
Curzon Ashton’s impressive seven match unbeaten run ended at bottom club Bradford Park Avenue who posted a first league win of the season.
Following The Nash’s FA Cup triumph against Scarborough Athletic four days earlier, they made the trip along the M62 in high spirits to face an Avenue side which was had not registered victory in their first 10 games in National League North.
The Nash unsurprisingly remained unchanged from the team that pulled off that dramatic home win against Scarborough.
After a cagey start, where Curzon dominated possession, Avenue almost found themselves a goal ahead, against the run of play. A goalline scramble following a corner kick was eventually poked in, but it was ruled out for offside.
A good ball in from Ryan Hall was met by Tom Peers, who has nine goals in all competitions so far this season, but he couldn’t convert the first-time strike in the 32nd minute.
On the brink of half time, following an extended spell of control from The Nash, captain Craig Mahon cut inside and rocketed it into the top left corner from 25 yards out. Mahon left the keeper with no chance, rewarding Curzon for their control of the first half.
The home side gradually grew into the game, creating a couple of half-chances, two from free-kicks, and another hit first time as it was pulled back to the edge of the box. Nothing, however, that required action from goalkeeper Chris Renshaw.
Renshaw, who had little to do in most of the game, was then called into action to deny a tame effort from Jacob Blyth following a corner in the 61st minute.
A few minutes later, substitute George Waring found himself on the end of a Hall cross but failed to hit the target from two yards out.
As Avenue were starting to take a hold in the game, creating a number of decent chances, a counterattack by Curzon saw Will Hayhurst’s effort across goal forced yet another save from keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy.
Manager Adam Lakeland made a double substitution in the 60th minute and was forced into a third in the 63rd, as Devon Matthews, Josh Hancock and Tom Peers were taken off.
From that point onwards, Curzon seemed to lose their edge, and in the 81st minute, Avenue finally capitalised. A cross from Reece Staunton was met at the back post by substitute Will Longbottom who tapped home.
Minutes later, the game was flipped on its head as Bradford went 2-1 up, this time with Oli Johnson taking a touch and slotting the ball past Renshaw.
The Nash showed fight at the end but ultimately it wasn’t enough as they suffered a first loss in eight games and Avenue celebrated their first league win of the season.
Report: Ethan Ball