MATCH REPORT Darlington 1883 1-3 Curzon Ashton
Monday 30th January 2017 09:25 Football Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

Curzon Ashton took their second major scalp in a week as they ran riot at Darlington.

The Nash raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to Ryan Hall and a second half double from Matty Warburton.

Former Curzon striker Nathan Cartman got one back for Darlo in the latter stages, but it was too little, too late as rock-solid Curzon continued their climb up the National League North table.

Curzon defeated league leaders AFC Fylde the weekend previous and are now fighting for a top-half finish, which would mean their highest-ever finishing position in the football pyramid.

The Nash went into the fixture against Darlington very much expecting a back-to-the-walls job but it was themselves who came out firing, deservedly taking the lead after just 10 minutes.

Warburton twisted his way into space in the host’s penalty area before pulling back for Hall, who expertly slammed the ball into the top corner of the goal away from debutant goalkeeper Edward Wilczynski.

Curzon continued to defend resiliently until the end of the half, with defenders Jonathan Hunt, Danny Shaw and Jamie Stott mopping up all of the Darlington advances. The closest the hosts came was with a shot from Stephen Thompson, whose effort whistled across the face of Hakan Burton’s goal.

Darlington came out firing at the start of the second half but did little to force Burton into any saves. They claimed the goalkeeper had crossed the goal line while claiming a corner just minutes into the period, but the linesman was unmoved.

From the break, Warburton almost made it two. A smart run from the lively Hall dragged defenders away and gave the recent returnee the chance to fire towards goal and saw his effort head over the crossbar.

Darlington did their best to respond and Thompson saw a header flash wide of Burton’s goal from a Terry Galbraith cross.

But the Darlington pressure ultimately proved to be their undoing as the Nash caught them on the counter attack. Chris Rowney launched the ball towards Warburton who had all the space of Blackwell Meadows to be able to slot home and double the advantage.

And it was Warburton who got the third on 67 minutes. A quick break from Curzon again saw Hall find space down the right-hand side and he remained unchallenged until he reached the penalty area. Warburton pulled away from the defender and could slot home and send the Nash into a three-goal lead.

Warburton had netted twice away at Darlington just as he did when Curzon made the trip to the north east, when the Nash won 4-0 to all-but secure the Evo-Stik Division One North title ahead of Darlo.

There was a consolation goal for the hosts as Phil Turnbull’s looped ball into the box was headed home by Cartman, but they were unable to break down the Curzon defence to challenge for the three points.