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Curzon have secured their place in the first round of the FA Cup – But what can we expect from their opponents?
Tuesday 18th October 2016 @ 12:01 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton came from a goal behind against York City on Monday evening to secure their place in the first round of the FA Cup against Herefordshire based outfit, Westfields.

Having fallen a goal behind in the fifth minute through a spectacular effort from Richard Brodie, Curzon responded well and levelled matters on the stroke of half-time through Man of the Match Alex Brown.

The Nash looked fairly comfortable from that point on and eventually made their dominance count in the opening stages of the second-half.

Having been awarded a penalty in the 50th minute, Niall Cummins stepped up but found his tame effort saved well by the keeper.

However, the striker reacted sharply to the rebound and converted from close range to send the hosts 2-1 up.

York – managed by Gary Mills for the first time since the 54-year-old took the job on Sunday – failed to react accordingly.

In fact, there was rarely a moment in the second-half when York forced goalkeeper Hakan Burton into any meaningful save.

And although Curzon failed to add to the score line, the Minstermen were made to pay for their lack of endeavour.

The final whistle was met with scenes of jubilation and a mini pitch invasion: Curzon had, for the first time since 2008, reached the first round of the FA Cup.

Manager John Flanagan described the victory as ‘fantastic’, admitting he’d never experienced the feeling before. He said: “It’s the furthest I’ve got, as a player or a manager, so I’m really excited and pleased for the club.

“It gives us a little bit more revenue and another opportunity to maybe go a little bit further.”

Curzon have been rewarded with a tie in the next round at Westfields FC – the lowest ranked side to remain in the competition.

The Herefordshire based outfit currently top the Midland Football League Premier Division, having won all ten of their fixtures this season.

Yet despite the obvious league advantage, Curzon may well encounter fireworks when the two sides meet on bonfire night (Saturday 5 November).

Managed by Sean Edwards – who has been with the club since 2000 – the step nine club have conceded just nine goals in the league this season, and will undoubtedly be hoping to continue this trend against Alvechurch tonight.

The Fields have also negotiated six FA Cup games already, suggesting they are more than willing to extend their journey in the World’s most famous club competition.

Questioned on the prospective tie, Flanagan said: “If you take anybody from a lower level, you’ve got to give yourself a chance, haven’t you?

“I don’t know anything about them, so we’ll have to treat them with real respect for what they’ve achieved already.

“It is a great opportunity – there’s absolutely no doubt about that.”

Victory on Monday marked the first time in eight years that Curzon have reached the first round stage.

Managed by Gary Lowe during the 2008-09 season, Curzon cemented their place on the football map with a memorable giant killing over League Two Exeter City.

A 3-2 victory at the Tameside Stadium was subsequently rewarded with a tie in the second round at conference National side, Kidderminster Harriers.

But despite a valiant effort, the clubs FA Cup dreams were shattered following a 2-0 loss at Aggborough.

Strangely, especially given their rapid ascendency up the non-league pyramid in recent years, Curzon have failed to replicate that FA Cup success.

However, under the guidance of Flanagan and assistant Ian Nevison, you feel that the club are in the best possible hands to make history this year.

Reflecting on Monday’s performance, Flanagan heaped praise on his squad’s efforts. He said: “The performance, particularly the first-half, was incredible.

“They came out early doors, tried to press us and stop us from playing out, and they got their noses in front.
“It was a great strike, so fair play to the lad.

“After that, we kept our composure, moved the ball around and we were very competitive, but we showed fantastic composure and that’s what pleased me the most.”

Flanagan also made reference to his sides style of play, which has gained admirers throughout the league. He added: “We tried to play the right way, which we always bang on about here, about trying to pass and make it entertaining.

“It’s a great way to win if you can do it –it doesn’t always work I might add – but we were brilliant and all credit to the players.

“Every man stood up to the plate, and even when we were getting a bit tired at the end, when they were throwing everybody forward, everyone was throwing their bodies in there to make sure we didn’t lose it.”

Although excitement is steadily building ahead of the FA Cup tie in November, Curzon will need to remain grounded for their National League North clash at Brackley Town on Saturday.