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MATCH REPORT Curzon Ashton 1-2 Harrogate Town
Monday 9th October 2017 @ 16:52 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

National League North

Curzon Ashton 1-2 Harrogate Town

Curzon welcomed the league leaders Harrogate Town to the Tameside stadium on this Non-League day & this was Curzon’s toughest test so far.

Curzon started well getting on the ball early & settling quickly but Harrogate showed that they were quick on the break as Jack Emmett lost his marker down the right & delivered the first cross of the game which Cameron Mason held well after four minutes.

On five minutes Curzon got their first break when captain Joe Guest broke free into the box but the pursuing defender just clipped his foot from behind & sent Guest flying inside the box but somehow referee Anthony Tankard waved away any claim of a penalty.

Two minutes later Tankard evened up the score after Emmett cut into the box from the left & was bundled down by his marker. Again, Tankard turned away ignoring the penalty shouts from Harrogate.

On 10 minutes Harrogate took the lead after a double deflection. As Curzon tried to clear the ball it was deflected to Joe Leesley on the edge of the box, his shot was then deflected off Danny Shaw which flew past Mason into the corner of the net.

On 18 minutes Curzon were found wide open at the back as a cross-field ball found Ryan Fallowfield. He got himself into the box but his low cross was cut out by Stalwart Steve Howson when he should have done better.

Despite Curzon going behind Curzon battled away & Chris Rowney was in the thick of the action winning some great tackles in the midfield area.

And Rowney, who was influential in midfield, started the move by winning a great tackle 25 yards out from goal, the ball played to Guest found its way to Ben Wharton who held the ball up on the edge of the box for Rowney to come onto & hit a screamer into the top right corner of James Belshaw net.

Curzon got away with another quick attack from Harrogate on 35 minutes after Howson lost the ball in the middle of the park, a quick ball to Leesley on the left saw him fire in an early cross which Jordan Thewlis just failed to get onto when he was unmarked six yards out from Mason’s goal.

On 40 minutes Curzon’s Guest did well to put a low cross in front of Town’s goal for Wharton but he wasn’t close enough to reach it but he managed to stop it going out for a goal kick & find James Baillie who had joined the attack just inside the box, Baillie then with time & space on his side opted for a far post chip rather than a shot on goal & the ball drifted away for a goal kick.

A minute later Mason had to be alert after Thewlis worked his way into the box from the left, his shot from a tight angle could only see Mason palm the shot but his defender was on hand to head the ball away for a corner.

The first quarter of the second half saw Curzon spending much of their time in their own half without really being hurt, most of the talking points were from tackles after Max Leonard clashed with Josh Flakingham who received some lengthy treatment & Curzon’s Richard Baker shown the first yellow card of the game for another crunching tackle in the middle of the park.

As for chances Harrogate for all their possession could only muster a wild shot which flew high over Mason’s crossbar on 57 minutes from Ryan Fallowfield.

It was 71 minutes before Curzon threatened Harrogate after Guest launched a quick counter attack which saw Leonard & Paul Marshall combine & put in a cross which was hacked away by a frustrated Harrogate side.

This attack ignited Curzon & they launched another promising attack on 73 minutes which ended up with Rowney playing a one-two inside the box but his shot flew straight into Belshaw’s arms.

Harrogate clearly getting frustrated with the lack of clear cut chances after dominating most of the possession saw George Thomson have the best chance on 76 minutes as he curled in a shot from the edge of the box. A stranded Mason watched the ball just go inches wide of his far post.

Curzon made two late substitutions with Tyrell McKenzie replacing Leonard & the return of Jordan Wright after a lengthy lay off with injury.

It nearly paid off when they launched an attack which saw Harrogate’s keeper come out of his box to head clear, Baillie quickly onto the ball saw his chance to shoot from 40 yards but his effort could only nestle into the side netting.

All of Curzon’s hard work was undone on 87 minutes when Harrogate, with only their really good effort of the half, hit the winner. A cross from the right found Mitchell Curry which had the crowd shouting for offside but the flag stayed down & Curry slotted past the on rushing Mason to give Harrogate all three points which was hard on Curzon who had matched Town in every department.

By Dave Jones