Flanagan reflects on back-to-back league victories
Monday 27th February 2017 @ 13:50 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan has praised the effort and commitment of his players to secure back-to-back league victories.

The Nash have secured maximum points from their previous two league fixtures against Alfreton Town and Gainsborough Trinity, after winning 5-0 and 1-0 respectively.

Flanagan said he was very pleased with the performance on Saturday in what was described as awful playing conditions. “It wasn’t the prettiest game – certainly the second-half wasn’t” said Flanagan.

“The wind, as we all know, contributes to many a scrappy game, and today was no different.

“I thought we controlled the game in the first-half and passed the ball very well.

“Ryan’s got a good goal and we possibly could have had another one. I think our play probably warranted a second goal.

“It was very scrappy, and ultimately it was always going to be a case of us defending well and seeing it out, or maybe letting them in with a mistake, but on the whole I’m delighted with the three points.”

Asked if he felt disappointed not to secure a second goal, Flanagan responded:  “Yeah, of course I’m a little bit disappointed, but sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t.

“The second goal does take the pressure off a little bit. Joe Guest had a great chance in front of goal and has put it over the bar.

“He probably had too much time to think about what he was going to do, but if he put his laces through it then it would have probably gone in.

“I’m disappointed in the sense that it would have allowed us to relax a little bit and would have messed their heads up a bit more than the score at 1-0.”

Having conceded 56 goals this season, Curzon’s defence has been called into question.

However, two successive clean sheets has provided grounds for optimism. Flanagan said: “I think the centre halves have been pretty steady, but we’ve had a season of mixed performances.

“I think we’ve got better at both ends of the pitch in the second-half of the season – I think it’s as simple as that.

“We know and we recognise what’s required – I know it’s obvious but it’s about conceding less goals, scoring more, being more of a threat and putting doubts into the oppositions minds.”

Flanagan continued: “Most teams in the league know that we can play, but we can be vulnerable at times and we allow ourselves to get exposed because of a failure to reorganise or sometimes overcommitting when we’re chasing the goal when we don’t need to.”

Despite not featuring in the game, academy product Oliver Thornley was drafted into the first team squad for the visit to Lincolnshire.

And according to Flanagan, the 19-year-old defender is one of many youngsters who are destined for a bright future at the club. He said: “When you’re playing at a decent level of football it’s difficult to know when is best to blood a player.

“It was the first game that Oli had come to with us. He’s been doing very well in the reserves and the lad is going to be a very good footballer, but we have to win games.

“We’re not here to just blood young lads, we’re here to win football matches – and I have to make decisions based on our ability to do that.

“There are a number of other lads who are young and progressing, but it is difficult to know when to bring them in.

“At the end of the day, if you don’t get results and don’t get wins, you’ll end up losing your job – and I’m no different to Claudio Ranieri.”

The result on Saturday leaves Curzon 12th in the table ahead of this weekend’s clash against Brackley Town at the Tameside Stadium