Curzon Ashton 3-0 Matlock Town
Sometimes the scoreline does not reflect the game, but sadly for Matlock on this occasion, they can have no complaints about the severity of the defeat.
Curzon, in their first season in the top flight, and battling hard for the title, won without any alarms thanks to three second half goals as Matlock capitulated badly due to poor defending. The fact that they showed little as an attacking force did not help their cause either. The performance, particularly after the interval, had all the hallmarks of a struggling side.
Two of the goals came from set pieces, the third was a penalty, so they were all bad goals to concede.
“We set the side up so as not to concede, so to let in goals like that was really disappointing. You can’t defend like that at places like this and expect to get a result” lamented joint boss Dave Rushbury afterwards who also shared concerns about the lack of bite going forward.
“I thought the strikers didn’t do enough as well” Rushbury added, so all in all it was a recipe for a comfortable away defeat.
There were warning signs early on for Matlock as first Ryan Watson, and then Niall Cummins shot wide when well placed. Cummins’ miss was a particularly bad one as he only had the advancing Jon Kennedy to beat.
It was then a fairly even affair until half time with play generally restricted to the region between the two penalty boxes. Charlie Dawes looked like Matlock’s main and perhaps only threat of a goal. On 21 minutes he shot wide following good approach play by Niall McManus and Phil Roe before four minutes later he drove straight at home custodian Hakan Burton. Then near to the interval his twenty five yarder was deflected wide.
But Matlock are not currently making opposing goalkeepers work hard enough and they scarcely managed a shot in the second half when Curzon took control.
Matlock survived a 47th minute scramble when a free kick was played deep into the penalty box and Ryan Brooke fought hard to forcer the ball home with Matlock breathing a sigh of relief as the ball was hacked clear.
But another free kick would prove to be Matlock’s undoing on 59 minutes. Walker’s first attempt was blocked by the wall but when the ball was played back in to the melting pot, a Luke Horrocks shot was blocked by Kennedy but only as far as AlLEX BROWN who netted from close range.
So the writing was on the wall for Matlock. They now had to show some attacking invention but their plight increased when a similar goal, this time from a corner, saw them go two goals behind in the 72 nd minute.
Walker’s flag kick wass knocked away by Kennedy but again only to a waiting Curzon player and TOM ECKERSLEY celebrated his debut with another simple finish from a few yards out.
Phil Roe saw his shot deflected wide but Matlock didn’t simply look like scoring. A third Curzon goal from a penalty by captain WALKER after substitute Cameron Darkwah had been fouled by Ellis Humble merely added to the gloom of a poor Matlock display with four minutes remaining.
So the result and the display acts as a timely reminder that the Gladiators still have plenty of hard work to do if they are to move away from the relegation zone.
On the evidence of this game they lacked a physical presence in midfield, but also the old problem of being effective in both boxes reared its ugly head.
CURZON ASHTON: 1 Hakan Burton 2 Simon Woodford (12 Andrew Fitzgerald 67), 3 Joe Guest 4 Tom Eckersley 5 Darren Thornton 6 Alex Brown (15 Cameron Darkwah 77) 7 Ryan Watson 8 Sam Walker 9 Niall Cummins 10 Ryan Brooke 11 Luke Horrocks (16 Matthew Crothers 77) Other subs: 14 Danny Shaw 17 Cameron Mason
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt 3 Phil Roe 4 Ellis Humble 5 Adam Yates 6 Oscar Radford (16 Andre Johnson 69) 7 Niall McManus 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Charlie Dawes 11 Caine Winfarrah (12 Joe Leesley 46) Other subs: 14 Josh Meade 15 Lawrence Gorman 17 Corey Gregory
REFEREE: Philip Dermott (Warrington) ATTENDANCE: 162 BEST GLADIATOR: Phil Roe