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Non-League round-up: Stockport County, Ashton United, Curzon Ashton, FC United of Manchester and Radcliffe

Here’s this weekend’s action from Stockport, Ashton, Curzon Ashton, FC United and Radcliffe…

Stockport County

Jim Gannon’s side played York City in the fourth FA Cup qualifying round.

Unfortunately, the Hatters lost 2-0 and will not go any further in the competition. However, it does give them a chance to focus on the league and getting some points.

Stockport’s fixture against Dagenham and Redbridge was postponed earlier this month. This has now been rearranged for Saturday the 9th of November.

Curzon Ashton

The Nash didn’t have a game this weekend due to the FA Cup qualifying rounds. They were supposed to face Gateshead.

However, they had a cup tie which left Curzon without a game. This has been rearranged for Tuesday the 5th of November at 7.45.

Ashton United

Ashton faced Gainsborough Trinity football club in the Northern Premier League.

Just before half time, Ashton went 1-0 up from a Havern header. As they came out for the second half, Wilson headed another one home. Jordan’s Slew then made it 3-0 to the Robins.

Gainsborough was awarded with a penalty in the 73rd minute and scored. However, it wasn’t enough and Curzon took all 3 points.

FC United of Manchester

FC United travelled to Atherton Collieries and after 4 minutes, they went 1-0 down.

After 30 minutes, FC United’s Tunde Owolabi manages to get the equaliser. Eight minutes later and Michael Potts put them 2-1 up.

Just before half time, Atherton unfortunately equalised. Regan Linney soon came and saved the day for FC United in the second half. He managed to make it 3-2 and FC took all 3 points.

Radcliffe

It was a busy weekend at the Neuven Stadium.

Liam Ellis managed to score against Matlock Town for Radcliffe and this allowed Boro’ to take all 3 points.

The stadium then hosted the Bury XI Legends game this weekend. The game finished 6-6 with a sell-out crowd.

The Football Manc Cave’s Non-League day preview

As normal, here is your non-league round-up of the teams The Football Manc Cave cover. This week is an extra interesting one as it is Non-League Day this Saturday. You can read more on that here.

Here is what’s been happening and what is to come for our non-league teams. Stockport County, Ashton United, Curzon Ashton, FC United and Radcliffe Borough.

Stockport County

Jim Gannon’s side got off to a good start this season. However, September turned out to be a month that fans want to forget. After a series of losses, the Hatters dropped down in the league.

October is a fresh start for County as they earned a point against Sutton United last week. Ash Palmer and Tom Walker then managed to deliver in a 2-1 win over Hartlepool midweek. These points have now taken them back up to 15th in the National League.

This Saturday will see Gannon’s side take on a 10th placed Dagenham & Redbridge. Stockport will be looking to make these three matches in a row that they can pick up points from. It could be a good chance seeings as Dagenham & Redbridge haven’t been on top of their game either recently.

Ashton United

Ashton will be looking to get some points this weekend. They’ve had their previous two league games postponed and their last match was an FA Cup qualifying game. They, unfortunately, lost 6-2 to Spennymoor Town.

This Saturday will see them take on Lancaster City. Ashton sits down at 16th in the league compared to Lancaster who is currently 6th. It will be a hard battle for some points but a well-rested Ashton side may be hungry for some goals.

Curzon Ashton

The Nash is desperately in need of some points after a series of losses. They lost their last league game 2-1 to Farsley Celtic. However, they did take the lead in this game thanks to a Daniel Trickett-Smith goal.

Curzon is at home this weekend to Blyth Spartans. This is a fixture that fans will be expecting some points from at Blyth are bottom of the league. The Nash just need to make sure they stay tight until the very end of the game.

Against Farsley, they conceded both goals in the 88th minute and the 95th minute. If they can keep going until the final whistle this week, 3 points may be on the cards.

FC United

FC United sit comfortably at 11th in the league. They’re currently on 15 points and could easily make it 18 this weekend. They play Buxton who is currently 21st in the league.

Fans will be expecting a win after United managed to pull a 3-2 win out of the bag against Stalybridge Celtic last weekend. If they do manage to earn all three points, this could potentially take them into the top 10 depending on other results around them. This could be a big week for FC United.

Radcliffe

Radcliffe is a team who have done well when they’ve got a chance to play. A series of games being postponed meant they fell behind in the league. However, things are looking a little better now.

They have moved up to 16th in the league and could go even further up this weekend. Boro’ will face Nantwich Town away. They are 5th in the league which sounds impressive. Although, they did draw their last game.

Radcliffe will be looking to take a point from the game if they can. Rick Smith has been a standout player for goals recently so he is one to look out for.

Stockport County & Curzon Ashton both looking for wins today

The Football Manc Cave are looking at the National League sides that we follow, Stockport County and Curzon Ashton as they both look for points this weekend.

Stockport County

The Hatters take on Wrexham away. Stockport won their last game against Chesterfield 2-0. They are sitting comfortably at 7th in the league after winning 3 of their 7 games, drawing 2 and losing the other 2. They’re on 11 points and are hungry for more but have beat expectations in this league and fans are happy.

Wrexham is currently 13th on 9 points so Stockport could be looking to steal some more points here if they are lucky. Elliot Osborne and Nyal Bell have performed great recently and will be two to watch.

Curzon Ashton

The Nash is playing Guiseley away. Curzon isn’t going too great at the minute as they lost their last game against King’s Lynn Town an unfortunate 4-1. They also lost the game before against Kidderminster, 1-0. They currently sit 12th in the league with 9 points after 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses.

Guiseley is currently higher at 5th on 13 points after taking 4 wins and 1 draw from their 7 games. It’s looking as if it could be another loss for the Nash, however, Callum Saunders has scored 2 in 2 and could keep up his tally so that the goal difference that Curzon Ashton build-up doesn’t gain too much of a negative difference.

Fans would have noticed these two things from Curzon Ashton’s fantastic season opener

While legging it past the East Cheshire Harriers athletics track to make it for the whistle, I wasn’t feeling totally confident, of making the start of the game or the result. Memories still strong in my mind of a lacklustre Curzon Ashton performance against Guiseley, and watching Bradford Park Avenue pulling York apart.

On arrival at Tameside Stadium, once I had caught my breath, I was so glad it was back. There was a strong turn out from supporters, Bradford Park Avenue’s strip that seemed to be modelled on a Germany kit from the 1950s and there was a steward nailing a chicken balti pie.

My initial fears were starting to fade watching Curzon in the early stages, they were giving Bradford a lot of bother, and on the odd occasion they were getting it back the defence looked solid.

A fairly early goal for the Nash saw their confidence grow and grow, and the final 5-0 result was nothing less than they deserved, and quite frankly, it could have easily been 7 or 8.

So, what would I say we have learnt?

Curzon have learnt to defend

I have moaned at length about Curzon’s struggles keeping a clean sheet. However they saw no real issues doing so today, and Cam Mason only had to make one proper stop. Some strong, confident defending meant Mason could pop his feet up for much of the game.

There were clean strong tackles that Stuart Pearce would have been proud of, and Isaac Sinclair skinning a Bradford midfielder with a bit of skill not often seen at this level went down very well with fans. Bradford Park Avenue was not able to cause the Nash any real headaches and meant the forward players could spend time causing a real nuisance to the Bradford Park Avenue keeper.

Faith in the young players has paid off

Curzon Ashton does not have the funds of many teams at this level and has long been reliant on very young players. Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed, “we’re getting beaten off a youth team” wailed a Park Avenue fan.

However the young team under some good coaching from Mark Bradshaw looked to have come good. Adding to this the signings of Nicky Wroe (himself an ex Park Avenue Player) and Andrew Halls adding a bit of stability and invaluable experience to the young side. If today taught us anything it is that Curzon is developing and improving young players. There are some young men playing for the Nash at the moment who may have a serious future.

I’m wary not to get carried away, one game in, but the Nash was fantastic in their opening game. The support was excellent and I hope there are momentum and confidence that we can carry forward over the next few weeks.

Hopes and fears ahead of Curzon Ashton’s weekend opener today

It’s back, and I’m sure we are all looking forward to standing in freezing fields wondering what life was like when you could feel your feet, fixtures being rained off and googling where on earth Spennymoor is. (I’ll save you 20 seconds, near Durham, that was last season’s discovery).

I imagine like many Curzon fans, I’m slightly nervous about the upcoming season and unsure what to expect, last season was something of a rollercoaster. A steady start, which got a bit rocky and then rockier still after the sacking of a long term and well-liked manager.

Rollercoaster

After the initial appointment of Mark Bradshaw, the club had a run of results that saw them losing to season-long strugglers FC United and Ashton United and that left them staring down the barrel of the relegation gun. Thankfully there was a bit of revival that caused such a remarkable about-turn there was even talk of playoffs. Then Curzon’s difficulty keeping a clean sheet caught up with them, and the run of good form tailed off, and the season ended with less of a bang, more of a whisper.

And so, having just about got blood pressure down to acceptable levels, it’s going to start all over again. Curzon has been busy this transfer window, and the starting line up will see a number of new faces. Including Josh Agnew on loan from a recently promoted Salford City, two players who know the league well in Kallum Mantack from Ashton United and Jack Banister from FC United.

The type of player Curzon needed

They have also signed the sort of player that I have been saying Curzon need in Andy Halls, who is the older player Curzon’s mainly very young team really need. He has had spells with Stockport and Macclesfield, and several other teams in between which will provide the EFL experience and class the Nash craved last season.

So this season opens with a home fixture against Bradford Park Avenue who were a side to be reckoned with last season and finished 7th, a cool 11 places above Curzon in the league. However, Curzon held their own against Bradford both times last season, with a 1-1 draw at home and a 2-2 draw at Horsfall Stadium.

I’m unsure of what I feel Curzon’s realistic chances are in this fixture, but I am hoping for a more solid defensive line as I feel so many of Curzon’s many draws last season should and could have been 3 points for the Nash. They need to put a poor end to the season behind them and focus on the task at hand. Curzon showed, in flashes, that they are a team to contend with at this level, they just need to work on consistently getting those results.

As is often said, you can’t win the season in the first few weeks, but you can blow it. So here’s hoping for a strong start for the Nash.

Rumoured Chinese takeover will make Curzon Ashton the Man City of the Non-League…or not

Just another false piece of information coming in from twitter regarding a class of 92 style takeover of Curzon Ashton?

One hopeful or attention seeking twitter account has put this out to Curzon Ashton fans:

Now I’m not saying it’s complete nonsense. Maybe they’ve got mixed up or are believing other people’s gossip and let’s be honest, stranger things have happened in football. However, Curzon Ashton fans have picked up on the tweet and have replied humorously with things such as, “it’s not April 1st.” As the fans continued to mock the tweet, the clubs official twitter page responded.

Paul Jolley, Curzon Ashton’s club director spoke to the Football Manc Cave on the matter “I can honestly say none what so ever. Someone with too much time on their hands, I think … or they know something we don’t!”

So we are all pretty sure now that this information is, in fact, all just rumours and completely made up. Either way, there are worse things that could have been made up about a team!

I’m just glad the fans and club officials can see the funny side.

Is Curzon Ashton’s Mark Bradshaw Focus On Youth The Right Step In The National League North

More signings are set to walk through the door at Curzon Ashton and so far this window, it has been set out very clearly that the club is taking a new approach and are focusing on younger players.

This strategy can have positive and negatives effects on a club depending on how well the club handle it. After finishing just above the relegation positions last year, I’m sure that Curzon will be hoping this influx of new exciting talent will propel them up the National League North table and into a more comfortable finish next campaign.

Curzon has already signed a number of players this transfer window, meaning it could be a brand new team that appears next season and that unpredictability could definitely work in their favour.

Last year the clubs under 18’s won the quadruple, an amazing feat. With this influx of new young players and, academy players being moved up to the first team, it appears that the future of Curzon is very bright. I just hope their plans for long term success don’t affect them in the short term.

The famous quote “you don’t win anything with kids” was disproved by Sir Alex Ferguson early in his management career with Manchester United, and everyone at Curzon will be hoping they can do it too.

With youth though often comes inexperience and immaturity, therefore the management at Curzon will have to keep an eye on this and keep players together and as a squad ever more so if results don’t go their way. If they can defeat this, then the potential in the team being assembled is scary and they could be in for a very successful few seasons.

Joel Senior’s Future Looks Very Bright After Joining Burnley From Curzon Ashton

Curzon Ashton, like many teams at the Non-League level, has a squad with a number of players who haven’t quite made the cut in the academy system in other clubs.

However, for the likes of Ollie Crankshaw and Joel Senior, the opposite is true, and they have been spotted by other clubs.

Senior, in particular, has landed himself a five-tier leap up to Premier League club Burnley. For a player still in his teens, this is an incredible opportunity. We had a brief chat with Mark Bradshaw, the manager of Curzon Ashton who is delighted for the young player who he described this as being the “opportunity of a lifetime” for this “strong dynamic full back” and mentioned that many clubs were interested in him.

This will be a big leap and a learning curve for such a young player, who spent most of his career at Curzon playing for youth teams. He will go from playing with semi-pros to being in what is regarded, as one of the best and most competitive teams in the league. Potentially marking the likes of Lingard, Sterling and Salah next year, which sounds daunting.

However, I imagine for this young player this would be the stuff of dreams, as he will playing with players who would have been England regulars when he was very young, such as Joe Hart and Peter Crouch.

There is still a way to go I’m sure before he is a first team regular, and some time in the u23 ranks awaits. Nevertheless, it would be wonderful for a club with so many young players to produce a true Premier League regular, both for Joel and the club.

I’m sure all Curzon fans will join me in wishing him good luck, as will manager Mark Bradshaw.

We Look Back at Curzon Ashton’s Season Roller Coaster and What Could Be In Store For The Nash Next Season

I think a fair few Curzon Ashton supporters are sporting a few extra grey hairs at the end of this season. It been a somewhat dramatic one with some remarkable moments but, plenty of games fans would be keen to forget.

The season started promisingly enough with an away win at Darlington. A strong October, then results started to dip with the temperatures and there wasn’t a league win for the Nash in November.

There was the surprise and slightly tempestuous dismissal of manager John Flanagan, who had been at the club since 2011. It was not a smooth start for Mark Bradshaw either, with the Nash losing three of four games in December, including to league struggles Ashton United and FC United. This left Curzon Ashton with the very real possibility of being in a battle to stay up.

New year, new Nash, as Curzon entered the new year with a bang and totted up four wins on the bounce, including against high flyers Chester. This lead to a lot of talk about an unlikely bid for a play off place. Wins against Alfreton (In possibly the most bizarre game I’ve seen ever) and Hereford further strengthened this claim, before there was a bit of a bump down to earth with an away loss to Brackley and a thumping at home to Altrincham.

They looked to make a speedy recovery with a draw against high flyers Bradford Park Avenue followed by two further wins.

However, it all seemed to go a bit Pete Tong in the league, managing to be the first team since October that Guiseley pick up three points off, and not winning another league game, including ending the season with a 5-0 loss at home.

All was not lost, however, as Curzon flew through to the final round of the Manchester Premier cup and saw off Mossley comfortably in the final. This really gave fans something to cheer in a difficult season.

So what’s next for Curzon?

This is a tough league to get out of but on their day, The Nash are a good enough side to make them something to really be feared.

I’ve banged the drum about needing to make sure that they tighten up their back line. They are good up front but conceded far to many goals. Sharpen this up, draw a line under a difficult end of season and hopefully come into the next season fully wound up and ready to go and make an impact.

Bradshaw’s Rollercoaster Season Has Set The Building Blocks, However, Strengthening in One Key Area Could Be The Key For Next Season

It’s been a rollercoaster season to support Curzon. From staring down the barrel of relegation to looking at one stage like they might have a chance of reaching the playoffs and landing the Frank Hannah Manchester Premier Cup.

Mark Bradshaw has made great strides with this team despite a slightly rocky start over Christmas. He hasn’t been afraid to make changes, getting rid of players, and making some clever signings, making the squad a bit less dependent on young players on loans from league team academies. Curzon’s dream run did come to an end, but the building blocks have been built for a really good season.

If I was in the boardroom at Curzon, and there is probably a good reason that I am not, I would be looking to improve the back line. Curzon seemed to be holding on for draws until late defensive errors saw them come away with nothing, it also saw them come away with draws in games they should have won.

They never seem to have an issue finding the back of the net but keeping more clean sheets should be a real priority, having only kept 3 in 17 games in 2019. If this can be tightened up it would make an enormous difference to their season, as I truly believe they should be aiming for the playoffs this season, but they really need to stop dropping points.

The other point I would make, is probably out of Bradshaw’s hands, but I would really be encouraging more people to go to the ground! Getting FC United crowds week in week out is unrealistic, but Tameside stadium is a really smart set up for this level of football, with a bar and seats and toilets that aren’t in a shed, oh Curzon how you spoil us.

While Curzon aim for the playoffs next season it would be great to see the club find a way to pull big crowds, a lift for the lads on the pitch and makes it a more intimidating place to go for away teams, and who doesn’t like atmosphere at a game.

I’m feeling very optimistic about next season and hopefully tightening up defences could see The Nash as a real force to be reckoned with.

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