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Curzon boss Flanagan targets Gainsborough clash as ‘must win’ to avoid relegation
Monday 9th April 2018 @ 11:28 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan believes his side have to pick up a victory against Gainsborough Trinity on Wednesday in order to avoid relegation.

The Nash were beaten 2-0 by playoff favourites Brackley Town at the Tameside Stadium on Saturday – a result which leaves Curzon above the drop zone on goal difference.

The visitors, who are looking forward to a trip to Wembley Stadium for the FA Trophy final, took the lead inside 12 minutes when Shep Murombedzi scored his third goal in six appearances after Cameron Mason failed to deal with a fee-kick, allowing the striker to nip and slot home from close range.

Curzon rarely threatened throughout the game and their lack of endeavour was punished in the 55th minute. Adam Walker took advantage of some sloppy defending and darted forward before slotting past Mason with the help of the post.

Although disappointed with the result, Flanagan said he wasn’t too surprised and had nothing but praise for the manner in which Brackley play. Speaking to Curzon’s media team following the game, Flanagan said: “They’re up their for a reason, aren’t they?

“At the beginning of the season I said Salford would win it and Brackley would win the playoffs. I’ve no reason to think differently. They’re a powerful outfit, man-for-man, big lads, very strong, they keep their shape very well and, you could say, quite predictable with the way they play, but they’re good. I can’t knock them to be fair.

“It’s a disappointing result, but I don’t think anyone was expecting us to race away with it.”

Flanagan, who is facing the prospect of his first relegation with Curzon since taking the reins in 2011, has targeted Wednesday’s clash against Gainsborough as a ‘must win’. Describing the tie as a six pointer, Flanagan said: “It’s going to be very difficult and they’re going to fight very hard to pick up the points, just like we are.

“I’m pleased that we’re here (at home) rather than at theirs. I have a lot of confidence here that we can put on a performance. We’ll be looking to let the lads refesh a little bit from now until then, and we’ll be coming here with a load of enthusiasm and encouragement, believing that we can take the game to them.”

Curzon currently have a four point cushion over Gainsborough although a loss on Wednesday could really set alarm bells ringing.

While aware of this, Flanagan remains confident that his side are better than those currently below them. He said: “We’re still a good side; I don’t care what anyone says.

“There are poorer sides in this league and we’ve been our own worst enemies, giving goals away by sloppy defending, and that doesn’t bode well and that’s why we are where we are, but it’s a game that we have to win – it’s as simple as that.

“We can’t take one point; we’ve got to take three. Thankfully it’s in our hands and we’ve still got games to play and I’m sure we’ll do it.”

When the two sides previously met in October, Curzon lost 1-0.