Curzon Ashton crash out of FA Trophy after late collapse

Report by Dave Jones 

CURZON Ashton crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy following a dramatic late collapse at home to Alfreton Town.

The Nash conceded three goals in the final 10 minutes of their third-round tie as Alfreton followed up their 2-1 National League North win at the Tameside Stadium a fortnight earlier with another success.

Curzon had looked to be progressing after taking the lead late in the opening half through Jack Dunn’s strike only for Alfreton to snatch victory late on.

Action shot of Jack Dunn attacking Alfreton’s defence

The Nash were still missing Harry Flowers as Adam Barton continued to take up the centre half position alongside Marcus Posche.

Manager Adam Lakeland was busy bringing in Joe Nolan on loan from Blackburn Rovers to boost his squad and Nolan started along with Craig Hobson.

Curzon were fast out of the blocks putting early pressure on the visitors, within the first minute Adam Thomas put in an early cross which was acrobatically met by Dunn, but it lacked pace to worry Town goalkeeper George Willis.

But it was Town who came the closest when after six minutes ex-Curzon midfielder Robbie Evans finished a move involving Bailey Hobson and Yusifu Ceesay, but his shot was pushed onto the post by goalkeeper Chris Renshaw.

Curzon captain Craig Mahon saw his volley blocked from the edge of the box and for the visitors Josh Clackstone’s shot deflected for a corner.

Ceesay tested Renshaw from a tight angle, but the keeper made a good save.

Curzon’s Scott Wilson came close just before the 20-minute mark when he met Dunn’s corner, but he could not hit the target as did Mahon whose effort cleared the crossbar.

Craig Hobson, enjoying a rare start, sent in a low cross which Alex Curran met on the run, but he, too, shot wide.

Town’s Bailey Hobson tested Renshaw with a header before Curzon’s Dunn at the other end had a brilliantly saved by George Willis.

But on the stroke of half time Dunn got the goal that both he and Curzon deserved when again he got onto the end of a great cross from Thomas to sweep the ball past Willis.

In the second half, Alfreton made a change with Adam Lund replacing Evans.

Thomas had a shot blocked for Curzon while Ceesay claimed a penalty for Town which the referee rejected.

Barton had to be switched on to stop Town’s Dayle Southwell from a having a free run-on goal midway through the second half and Curzon came so close to doubling their lead when Mahon drilled in a low free kick towards Craig Hobson, but his header bounced off the foot of the post.

Further chances fell for Curzon. Curran, played in by some nice skill from Dunn, saw his shot deflected just wide then Barton forced Willis into a great save which he could only parry away. Craig Hobson, with the goal at his mercy, blasted over.

Alfreton’s comeback began in the 81st minute when Clackstone crossed for Connor Branson to equalise with a low finish.

Six minutes later Ceesay, who had been a threat all game, sent the Alfreton fans into raptures when his deft header over Renshaw gave the visitors the lead.

Thomas tried to get Curzon back on level terms, but he headed straight at Willis.

With the referee indicating five minutes of added time, Alfreton put the game beyond Curzon’s reach when from defending a Curzon free kick they broke quickly and in numbers and it was Bailey Hobson who grabbed Town’s third goal which sealed victory.

Curzon are in action on Boxing Day when they host Southport.

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