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Curzon boss Flanagan laments lack of conviction in front of goal
Tuesday 13th March 2018 @ 16:34 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan has lamented his players’ lack of ability to take their chances in front of goal in the 1-0 defeat at Darlington on Saturday.

The Nash looked to be on course for a valuable point in the north-east but couldn’t hold out for victory, as Darlington snatched a winner through David Syers in the 87th minute to inflict a second successive defeat on Curzon.

The result leaves the Nash in 17th spot and just three points above the relegation zone, while Darlington climb to 13th and are just six points from the playoffs, although their chances of securing a spot are perhaps misleading as the teams above them have a number of games in hand.

Flanagan said he was disappointed not to take anything away from the game – especially given the manner in which his side played during the first half. Speaking to Curzon’s media team following the loss, he said: “I’m very disappointed because we played well during the first half. We created some chances but obviously we haven’t been able to take one, and I just felt that in the second half we became a little more ragged as the game went on.

“I thought we still looked the better team for a length of time in the second half, probably for about 20 minutes, and then it just became very open.

“I suppose you could say it was a lack of leadership, and that’s not me looking to blame the players, the buck stops with me. But there’s only so much you can do.”

Having won just two fixtures since the turn of the New Year, Curzon’s status as a step six club looks increasingly under threat.

It’s unfamiliar territory for Flanagan, who has enjoyed nothing but success since taking the reigns six years ago.

The boss is under no illusion that his side will have to be more clinical in front of goal if they’re to pull themselves away from the dreaded drop this season – starting at playoff hopefuls Blyth Spartans on Saturday. He said: “They’re a good side going forward; they’re not great defensively. The side will have changed around a bit since we played them at home. The pattern will have changed I’m sure, but we were quite dominant early in that game and I think there was a clear penalty before they scored – a clear penalty in my eyes – but we didn’t get it and then in the second half they dominated and looked a threat.

“They’ve gone on to show that they are a threat going forward. They’ve had a great run, although they’ve tripped up a bit recently, over the past 6-8 weeks, but it will be similar to today’s game. They’ve got a bit more quality going forward than Darlington have, so we’re going to have to prepare for them and get some sort of game plan for the good movement that they’ve got going forward.