CURZON ASHTON 0, CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0
Plucky part timers Curzon Ashton made light of the three division and 71 place disparity as they held League One side Cambridge United in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup.
And non-league side Curzon more than matched Cambridge and almost snatched victory at the death.
Substitute Jordan Richards’ free kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time was scrambled to safety by goalkeeper Will Mannion to the relief of the pro side.
It was another amazing day for The Nash who reached the first-round proper for only the third time, the other two occasions produced epic games.
Curzon, from National League North, claimed their only league scalp in 2008 when they beat Exeter City 3-2 then in 2016 featured in a remarkable live televised game against AFC Wimbledon when they lost 4-3 having been 3-0 ahead with less than 10 minutes.
It was another day to remember with Curzon chairman Wayne Salkeld, admitting he is living the dream after the National League North side held League One side Cambridge United in their FA Cup, first-round tie.
“I am just hoping the replay is on television as that would earn us £50,000 which is a lot of money to us and would help as we have one of the smallest budgets in our league,” he said.
And Salkeld, managing director of a steel fabrication firm which had worked on the new stadiums at Tottenham, Manchester City and Bolton, said it would be great for The Nash continue their cup run and land one of those big clubs further down the line.
Manager Adam Lakeland added he was proud how his players matched their more illustrious opponents.
“Cambridge will travel back knowing they have been in a game,” he said.
“I am proud how we played, and we gave a very good account of ourselves and are disappointed not to have won the game.
“When we had the free kick at the end, I thought we might nick it, but the keeper pushed it away and it was not meant to be.”
Curzon had some decent half chances in the opening half, though Cambridge’s Harvey Knibbs had an effort well saved by Chris Renshaw, who once cost Everton a six-figure sum when bought from Oldham Athletic.
Renshaw, who is a goalkeeping coach at Blackburn Rovers, also did well to save a shot from Lewis Simper in the second half as Lakeland described him as one of the best goalkeepers in their league and capable of playing at a higher level.
Jack Lankester and Knibbs had further chances for Cambridge in the last 10 minutes, but right at the death Curzon so nearly snatched victory from Richards’ free kick.
Cambridge manager Mark Bonner was relieved to still be in the cup.
“It isn’t a success story, but I am grateful we are in the hat for the next round which is the important thing. We will have to produce a better show in 10 days’ time,” he said.