Curzon haven’t yet given upon the title but it will take an unlikely scenario for them to be crown Champions in two weeks time as they failed to overcome relegation threatened Harrogate Railway on Easter Saturday.
Curzon got off to the best possible start, Chris McDonagh slamming home a third minute penalty after Graham Kay had been felled in the box and no-one could have envisaged that with less than a quarter of the game played, Railway would be leading 3-1.
The equaliser arrived on seven minutes when, following a throw-in on the right the ball found it’s way to Colin Hunter who was left in acres of space on the far side of the penalty area, and he had time to pick his spot before curling a beauty past the despairing dive of Josh Ollerenshaw.
Four minutes later, as the Curzon defence was appealing for a foul as Railway built an attack, Jon Maloney didn’t wait and ran through before placing the ball past Ollerenshaw for 2-1.
It almost got worse for Curzon as Liam Gray fired narrowly wide through a crowded box as Curzon struggled to clear an eighteenth minute corner but they were 3-1 down on 21 minutes with a bizarre goal. Gray was given another shooting chance which he blasted straight at Ollerenshaw, the Curzon keeper let the ball squirm from his grasp and it then took a wicked spin past the keeper and over the line.
Seconds earlier Sam Walker had released Lee Blackshaw down the left but after getting in a position to deliver a cross he wasted the opportunity by blasting a shot over the bar.
Curzon fought to get back into the game and Kris Dennis saw George Brookes make a save from his header but then on 28 minutes Dennis was instrumental in Curzon’s second goal, controlling the ball before playing it forward for Blackshaw to run onto, and this time Blackshaw didn’t disappoint, delivering a perfect cross for Sam Walker to head into the roof of the net.
A cross by Dennis saw Matty Kay head on target but he failed to get enough power in his effort to really trouble Brookes as the final chance of the first half disappeared but the Blues came out all guns blazing in the second period and Brookes was made to work harder when a Graham Kay header had to be turned around the post low to the left.
Railway were reduced to ten men when Liam Gray was shown a straight red card for a late, high, reckless challenge on Graham Kay but if Curzon thought that it would make it easier in the last half an hour they were mistaken as Railway defended deep to leave little space at the back.
Curzon began to pile on the pressure and Matty Kay shot wide after Summerskill rolled the ball into his path and then Graham Kay got on the end of a deep free kick and beat Brookes with a header but saw the ball come back off the face of the crossbar. Kris Dennis put the rebound over but the linesman had flagged for offside in any case.
In a last desperate gamble, Jordan Goodeve was brought on in place of Summerskill and Curzon played virtually with two at the back as Graham Kay was sent forward to put more height into the attack and with Matty Purcell having already replaced fullback Connor Hampson, Mike Fish was thrown into the fray but it seemed as though Harrogate were going to survive, some desperate defending keeping Curzon at bay.
Just when it seemed Railway had taken all three points, and the game already in stoppage time Curzon scored with an untidy a goal as is likely to be scored. A near post corner was attacked by forwards and defenders alike as as players jostled for the ball it popped in the air for Jordan Goodeve to nod over the line with the home side furiously claiming the ball had been handled by a Curzon player.
There was still time for Harrogate to mount another attack but they were foiled by a linesman’s flag in what appeared to be a wrong decision. From the free kick Mike Fish suddenly found himself with time on the edge of the box and he beat Brookes with his shot but again the woodwork saved Harrogate as the ball crashed against the bar and was scrambled clear.
The result means that Fylde now have to lose two of their remaining four games while Curzon win all their four, and that’s highly unlikely so the best Curzon can now hope for is runners-up spot and home advantage in the play offs.
Match Report by Ian Seymour
Chris McDonagh scores a penalty for Curzon Ashton