Category Archives: conference north

Curzon Will Be Hoping to Edge Towards Playoff Contention by Beating Altrincham

Curzon’s brilliant unbeaten run finally came to an end last weekend. After a remarkable comeback against Alfreton the week before maybe it was time for another team to grab a bit of luck, and 4th place Brackley had both luck and a touch of confidence about their game that saw them beat the Nash in a fairly uneventful game with the final scoreline a 2-0 victory.

You can’t win every game so there is no point dwelling too heavily on one away defeat, after what has been an incredible 2019 so far for the Nash. Curzon are back at the Tameside Stadium on Saturday and taking on Altrincham who are currently hanging on precariously to a playoff spot but are only a mere 5 points ahead of the Nash, with the same amount of games played.

Altrincham’s league position is largely due to a remarkable start to the season, where they put four against the likes of Bradford Park Avenue and Nuneaton. However, since the festive period their league run has started to come apart a bit, they’ve played 11 games since the 22nd of December and have won only three and lost five.

Including against the likes of Leamington, a team they should easily outclass managed to put three past them, and in some increasingly frustrated play, Altrincham saw a player sent off with about ten minutes to go.

This recent decline in form should give Curzon, who are on a massive upward trajectory of improving confidence. They showed against Chester that they are capable of taking it to the opposition, and showed a remarkable amount of fighting spirit against Alfreton.

Back at home, where the fans are really starting to enjoy the momentum that’s been picked up this season, Curzon have a real chance of getting the wheels back in motion in their unlikely bid for the playoffs.

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Curzon Run Continues…On to The Cup Final

Curzon Ashton’s remarkable recovery in the league has been well documented, however they are carrying on their run of form elsewhere. 

The Frank Hannah Manchester Premier Cup may not trip off the tongue but it’s a great tournament for local clubs, with semi-professional and non-league clubs getting a chance at their day in the sun, or more accurately, evening in Oldham. Traditionally it’s been dominated by Tameside clubs however FC United have lifted it the last twice. 

There is no chance of them defending it this year following their expulsion from the competition for fielding an ineligible player, and the cup is sure to go back to Tameside with the results from last night leaving Curzon Ashton and Mossley in the last two spots. 

Curzon had to get past National League high-flyers and high-rollers Salford City to get to the semi-final, which is no mean feat. Their opposition this time around was Chadderton FC and therefore a short trip to Andrew Street. Which is a true non-league ground with limited infrastructure and tucked away on a terraced street, it’s worth a visit if you are decidedly anti concrete bowls, and according to a colleague when I mentioned the fixture to them, “is well near Asda.” Convenient. 

Curzon came into this game in a brilliant run of form, and this was a big chance for them, with Chadderton playing in North West Counties division one – two leagues below the Nash. Curzon came in with a brilliant attitude and were utterly dominant. Putting a remarkable 8 goals past Chad. The confidence from their rapid improvement in the league was evident, and they played fantastically throughout. The scoreline was thoroughly deserved, and credit to the players and coaches for deciding to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at this tournament, despite some important league games coming up. It will be fantastic for fans to get their trip to Oldham and guarantees a big game for the club even if they fail to make the playoffs. 

Mossley, who are in the same league as Chadderton saw off Radcliffe Borough on the same evening, with the final result being 3-2. So the traditional Tameside Derby will return to Boundary Park at a yet to be confirmed date. If Curzon are in their current run of form the Lilywhites, while deserving respect, could be a great chance for a bit of silverware for Curzon this season, and following on from a recent article about making sure that fans are really getting behind their team, I’ll make sure I’m there.

4 Fixture Focus: Crunch Time For FC United

In FC United’s history of almost 14 years, they have had 4 promotions to get them into the National League North.

Although, this could all change this season after only winning 6 matches throughout the length of the season. With only one of those wins coming at home against local rivals Curzon Ashton, which saw the Reds come away with 3 points in a comfortable 2-0 win.

Five wins of United’s this season have come away from home after going against the odds by beating potential playoff contenders Bradford Park Avenue, Altrincham, Kidderminster Harriers and Blyth Spartans. However, with time running out Reynolds will be hoping to scrape out as many points as possible over the coming months in order to secure their position.

After a season that has seen United have 3 managers at the club, they have failed to stay out of the relegation places on a regular basis and the last few weeks results have conspired to find them set adrift from the safety of 19th place with teams above them also having games in hand.

This could potentially see the Reds set an unwanted milestone as they have never suffered relegation in their short history. The next four matches will prove crucial to FC United’s season-long battle. The men in red will be going into every one of their remaining matches as if it is a cup final, in order to secure themselves a place in the National League North next season and, with the reds 6 points from safety with 13 matches left of the 2018/19 season, it is all to play for!

Altrincham

This Saturday sees the red rebels play against local rivals Altrincham at Broadhurst Park. FC United’s first win of the season came at Moss Lane on August 14th, in a 2-1 win that saw United secure all three points after Kurt Willoughby scored the winner in the 80th minute with a wonderful curling effort.

The Robins currently sit in 7th place however with only 2 wins out of 5 in the calendar year, this weekend’s match is set up to be an absolute cracker with both teams fighting for the points at either end of the table.

Guiseley

The Reds face back to back home matches over the next couple of weeks as Guiseley AFC are the next team to visit Broadhurst Park after Altrincham. The reverse fixture saw The Lions take all three points at Nethermoor Park after a comfortable 3-0 win against FC United.

Guiseley sits just 6 points above United and have only one win in 2019 which came against fellow Yorkshiremen Bradford Park Avenue. With both teams being around the relegation places and both having a bad form, this match sets up to be a real six-pointer as the two teams will have to go out fighting for all three points in order to avoid the dreaded drop.

Southport

The first away match FC United face in this run of four fixtures will take place at Haig Avenue, as the reds take a trip to the seaside to play former league club Southport FC. The sandgrounders currently sit 13th in the league and will be looking to take all three points from the red rebels, after the points were shared in the reverse fixture at Broadhurst park in the less than enthralling 1-1 draw.

Liam Watson former Stalybridge Celtic manager will be hoping that former red rebel Jason Gilchrist will be able to remind his old club of his goal-scoring prowess, while the Moston Outfit will be aiming to keep him and his striking partners at bay.

Hereford

The final match the team from Broadhurst Park will play over these next four fixtures will be current Southern Premier League Champions Hereford FC. November saw the Red Rebels travel the 284-mile round trip twice in both the league and the FA Trophy. In the league fixture, it was the men in red who came out on top after a 3-1 win against The Bulls in their 4th away win of the season.

Two weeks later saw the same scoreline however for the other team as Hereford knocked United out of the FA Trophy in the Third Qualifying Round. Hereford are currently sat in 16th place, 7 points ahead of the drop zone. The Whites will be hoping to secure more points in the upcoming months in hope, of securing themselves a place for a second season in the National League North.

Play Off Dark Horses Curzon, Close the Gap to 4 Points

If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up. Curzon extended their remarkable unbeaten 2019, making it 6 unbeaten and a remarkable 5 wins.

Hereford was one of the lucky games on the fixture list that managed to get the go-ahead this weekend. After a quiet first half, Hereford went 1-0 up. Being the pessimist I am I thought, oh here we go, and I think the Nash of two months ago would have crumbled, however, Curzon remained composed, and 12 minutes later Lewis Reilly managed to get an equaliser.

Curzon was not happy with the point, and defended well, parking the bus when they needed to and attacking aggressively when they had a chance. Their tenacity was rewarded when Shaun Miller hit the most superb strike from 25 yards. There wouldn’t have been many better finishes than that in the league this weekend and, was one of the strikes of the season. It was a hard-fought but deserved win, and an excellent way to celebrate long-standing stopper Cam Mason’s 100th game in net for the Nash.

This weekend’s win has left Curzon, who barely 6 weeks ago were looking like getting embroiled in a relegation battle, are now sitting just 4 points off a play-off place. Alongside, Spennymore playing Bradford PA this weekend and Southport playing Chorley, some of the clubs in those desirable play-off places will inevitably be dropping points at the hands of each other.

With arguably the toughest games of the competition out of the way, having played Chorley both home and away, they have a slightly easier run to the end of the season and the playoff dream stays alive under Mark Bradshaw.

FC United Will Look to Bounce Back After 2 Losses by Defeating Boston

This afternoon looks to see Boston United take on FC United of Manchester in the National League North at York Street. The match sees 11th Boston United play 21st place FC United as The Reds look for 3 crucial points that, depending on results could edge them closer to safety. Whereas The Pilgrims are hoping for a home win that could see them push towards the playoff places.

Neil Reynolds, who is back after an educational trip in relation to his day job, will be looking for a response from the red rebels after back to back defeats against local rivals Ashton United and Stockport County, with the County match showing some promise and team spirit, after giving 2nd place Stockport a run for their money and only losing to a last minute from Oldham Athletic loanee Jamie Stott.

Currently 6 points off 19th place York City, tomorrow’s match is a must win game for Reynolds team. However, Boston will be hoping for a long overdue home win that could get them into the playoffs, with only being 4 points behind 7th place Altrincham. The Pilgrims have only won one of their home matches in the past five. Reynolds will be hoping to take advantage of Boston’s poor home record as the reds have enjoyed 4 victories away from Broadhurst Park against teams in the top 10 of the National League North.

Neil Reynolds will be hoping in this match that his attacking flair players will be able to convert the chances, they have shown that they can create in recent games without having to rely on England C international and the clubs top goal scorer Kurt Willoughby – with his 11 league goals.

FC’s Gaffer will also be hoping for another solid performance from last seasons fans player of the year, Lloyd Allinson who after a shaky couple of games has showed signs of getting back to his best with some outstanding saves in recent matches.

Today’s match is set up to be an enthralling, entertaining encounter between two teams who like to attack which was evident in last seasons 4-4 draw and is a game not to be missed!

The Ups and Downs of Supporting Your Local Team

If I am being a) somewhat facetious b) trusting of google maps, my local team is Manchester United.

Apologies to any Reds reading this article – it won’t be about them.

When I think local football I don’t think Manchester United, I think West Didsbury and Chorlton, who play a shade over a mile away from Old Trafford.

I think teams who probably aren’t the only team you follow, teams you might not have heard of outside of the local area and teams who are totally based and dependent on the community around them.

I have followed “local football” for a long time and there are some dizzying highs and some fairly flat moments too.

I think for everyone the biggest high you will ever get supporting a lower level “local” team is that of a giant-killing. I’ve made no secret of my fondness of Curzon Ashton who have had some good FA cup runs in the past. It’s a real buzz and the atmosphere around the club and local area is tangible. Just think of the build-up to Sutton’s FA cup fixture with Arsenal a few seasons ago. You simply don’t have that anticipation around watching Manchester City play Arsenal.

The community around the clubs is incredible, match days are staffed by volunteers, I’ve been to several games where the players know a few of the fans either as they are regular faces, or because they work together (seriously).

The football isn’t as pretty as “Sari ball” or tippy tappy Guardiola football, it’s often hard and physical and can often make for great watching for very different reasons.

There are of course lows, as there are with following every team, and I sometimes find following watching National League and National League North football frustrating. Money is as big a factor here as it is in the top echelons of the game, and these are tough leagues to get out of. If you support a team who seem to get stuck at a level and simply cannot afford to invest in a squad that other clubs do (here’s looking at you Salford City). It can be tedious to watch your team nearly make the playoffs or finish mid-table when they could have done better.

However as much as I do moan at games that I’m cold or that the Tameside stadium is a tedious walk from Ashton train station, I try not to dwell on the odd frustration. I love football at this level, the rising stars leaving to go to bigger and better things, the old stalwarts who have been playing at this level forever and a day, the die-hard fans, or the locals who popped in for a game to see what all the fuss is about.

The very best thing about football at this level, that watching Premier League, or even EFL football can never give you is, you feel you are a part of it all.

Curzon’s Key Matches In February in Quest for Unlikely Playoff Hunt

Curzon’s most recent result of a 1-1 draw leaves them unbeaten this year and hopefully won’t put the breaks on too heavily on their chances of a playoff place.

There are two games this February I think are crucial to the Nash’s hopes this season…

The first falls this weekend against Hereford away at the utter beauty of a football ground that is Edgar Street. Curzon are comfortably clear of Hereford in the National League North so you might wonder why I think this is an important game. Well, years of supporting Manchester City in their difficult years in the 90s and 00s have taught me many things, mainly about staying warm and the location of chip shops in Reading, but also that you cannot get complacent against any team.

Hereford should be easy for a team playing as well as Curzon who are currently hard to beat, however, if they go in with that attitude and Hereford go in battling in an attempt to avoid the drop, they could drop points that they shouldn’t be.

Staying focussed against this opposition is crucial. On paper, it looks an easy three points for the Nash, and if they come away with that it could be a huge step to their playoff dreams. However, taking a point from this would mean a lot to Hereford and I imagine they will be throwing the kitchen sink at this game. Curzon need to make sure they go into this respecting this opposition, keeping the upward curve in improvement with their back line and hopefully walking away with the points they deserve.

The other game I think could have a huge baring is Altrincham at home at the end of the month. This is for two reasons, the first of which is that Altrincham are floating far higher up the league than they are, currently in the playoff, and a good performance against them is a real statement that Curzon are playing better than they ever have and are a team to be taken seriously at this level.

The second is that playing well would be a confidence boost to the team itself who will have a tough game away against Bradford Park Avenue for their first March game. Bradford PA are almost certainties for the playoff spots and I saw them pull York apart earlier this season, they will be tough opposition on home turf. However, if they have performed well against Altrincham it will be a bit of hope that they can head to Horsfall Stadium with a real chance of taking something from one of their toughest remaining games this season.

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