Curzon Ashton FC v North Feriby United - Match Report
Curzon's long wait for a piece of winning silverware continues after they lost the Doodson Sport Cup Final after the end of the most dramatic of penalty shoot outs.
There was action from the first minute to the last to keep the crowd entertained in a highly competitive match played in a good spirit between the sides and at the end of 120 draining minutes of football, neither manager could have questioned the commitment to the cause of lifting the trophy from any of the players.
The action began in the opening minute when Ollerenshaw seemed to hesitate in coming for a long ball forwards but the referee adjudged he had been fouled as he attempted to collect the ball. From the free kick, Curzon won a throw-in, McDonagh and Dennis swapped passes before whipped in a cross which a defender reached just ahead of the onrushing Matty Kay. From the flag kick Sam Walker produced a pinpoint cross for Dennis to power past the Ferriby keeper with under three minutes on the clock.
Curzon dominated the opening 15 minutes and came close to adding to their score on three occasions. In the seventh minute a good move through midfield saw Dennis sweep the ball wide to Metcalfe and his cross saw McDonagh head over.
A minute later a powerful header out of defence by Andy Watson caught out the Ferriby defence but as McDonagh and Dennis chased the ball Pecora was quick to spot the danger and raced out of his area to hoof the ball clear and then another Curzon corner posed problems for the Villagers as McDonagh's header appeared to be going in at the far post, a defender got a touch to send the ball past the post but the referee awarded a goal kick with 13 minutes played.
At this point Ferriby had barely had a shot on goal but they produced the equaliser on 20 minutes with a superbly taken effort. A Curzon forward move broke down as Woodford's pass was intercepted and the ball played down the line to Williams but there seemed to be little danger as Bradshaw received the ball with his back to goal, but he played a little game of keep up before hooking a shot over his shoulder and into the top corner to level the scores.
Ferriby could have taken the lead a minute later, a goalbound shot being deflected for a corner and then on 27 minutes a quick break saw Stokes set up Williams but he missed the target. Ferriby were now gaining control of the match, but Curzon were defending doggedly and the NPL Premier Division leaders were struggling to create anything clear cut and Curzon missed a golden chance to retake the lead five minutes before the interval.
Matty Kay bamboozled his marker on the right and crossed low for Dennis who in turn laid the ball off for McDonagh, but unfortunately for Curzon, Macca screwed his shot over the bar. The half ended with Ryan Watson skimming a post with a low shot, though in fairness, Pecora seemed to have it covered.
Curzon began the second half brightly and Metcalfe fired just wide after being released down the left, but as in the first half, Ferriby were seeing plenty of the ball without causing too much concern in the Blues defence but then Clarke volleyed over after the ball had luckily ricocheted into his path. That was the signal for several Ferriby chances, with Ollerenshaw saving well from a Ryan Williams dipping volley. Williams had two further chances, one saved, the other off target, but Curzon hit back and Dennis put a half chance wide before Metcalfe sent a shot across the face of the goal after twisting and turning on the edge of the box to get his shot away with 15 minutes remaining.
Two minutes later and Pecora was perhaps fortunate not to receive his marching orders after racing out of his goal and bringing down McDonagh, the fact that the incident took place just outside the right hand side of the box possibly being the only factor that saved the keeper from receiving only a yellow card. The resulting free kick came to nothing, being headed over the bar but Curzon were now creating chances against a tiring Ferriby defence and Dennis looked certain to score as he raced on to a ball over the top but Pecora closed him down and the Curzon marksman sent his effort just the wrong side of the post.
Ferriby then had a chance form a dead ball. Initially the referee waved play on, but after Ferriby had missed the target with a shot, the ref decided to award a free kick in a central position. Curzon placed almost every outfield player in the wall but after what seemed an age before the referee was satisfied, the kick itself was an anti-climax, sailing harmlessly over the bar.
With extra time looming, Metcalfe and Dennis combined well to set up Sam Walker, but the Curzon skipper snatched at the chance, missing the target on the right and then in stoppage time Dennis found himself advancing towards goal on the left, but the angle was always against him and Pecora made a save at his hear post to send the game into an extra 30 minutes.
Ferriby had the better of the first extra period with Clarke clipping the bar with a shot before putting another chance over from Stokes' cross but then Ollerenshaw was a hero, saving at point blank range to keep Curzon in the game.
It was a different story in the second half of extra time with the two best chances falling to Curzon, McDonagh putting the ball over the bar following a good spell of pressure, and then in the final minute a long kick by Ollerenshaw was flicked on for Dennis but he put his effort the wrong side of the post to send the game into a remarkable penalty shootout.
Having not lost a penalty shoot out for five years, and having come through two already this season, Curzon would have been confident of winning this one but the two keepers produced a display that can rarely have been seen in these circumstances. Amazingly the first six spot kicks taken were save, with Matty Kay, Kristian Dennis and Sam Walker all unable to get the ball past Antoni Pecora from 12 yards and likewise Kason Stokes, Liam King and Louis Bruce all failing against Ollerenshaw. Scott Metcalfe finally broke the deadlock but Ryan Williams immediately levelled it at 1-1 and after Pecora had saved from McDonagh with his feet, the advantage rested with North Ferriby and up stepped Rhuanduca Ombeni to put his kick into the corner and give the trophy back to the holders.
Match Report by Ian Seymour