Report by Dave Jones
Curzon Ashton fought out a goalless draw against in-form Southport at the Tameside Stadium on Boxing Day.
It was a commendable result bearing in mind Curzon had to play almost half an hour with 10 men after Jack Dunn’s sending off.
The Vanarama National League North clash involved two teams which had had contrasting fortunes of late.
Curzon are now six league games without a win as they have slipped out of the play-off spots to ninth place.
Southport, by contrast, extended their unbeaten run to 13 league and cup games since their last loss on October 16, a run which has seen them climb from near the foot of the table to sixth.
Celtic may have been at home but, as with every team in the division, they donned their away strips supporting @shelter’s and #NoHomeKit campaign.
The match was a slow burner taking 14th minutes for either side to create a chance, and then Adam Thomas fired straight at former Curzon goalkeeper Cameron Mason.
Hobson had a shot deflected for a corner from which Adam Thomas headed wide. Matthew Waters and Craig Mahon also had chances as Curzon were in control.
Curzon were dealt a blow losing Thomas after 26 minutes through injury as he was replaced by Altrincham loanee Tom Peers.
Peers had his first shot for Curzon, but he hit it high over Mason’s crossbar.
The nearest Curzon came to taking the lead came after 41 minutes when Mason caught a free kick but dropped the ball on the goalline with Peers poking the ball home. However, the assistant referee flagged for a foul claiming Mason had both hands on the ball.
Mason was in action again three minutes later when the impressive Mahon’s shot was kept out by the legs of Mason.
Curzon were far the better side in the first half without hurting Southport in the final third, but the visitors started were fired up at the restart, forcing early corners.
Marcus Carver came close for Southport when his shot from just inside the box went inches wide past the far post.
The first real attack for Curzon came just short of the hour after Waters intercepted a pass out of Southport’s box and played in Peers whose shot was pushed away for a corner by Mason.
With an hour played, Curzon were not getting their own way as they did in the first half as Southport were pushing forward more often and forcing Curzon to defend more.
Curzon were reduced to 10 men after 63 minutes when Dunn was shown the red card by referee David McNamara for a late challenge on Marcus Carver.
Carver, who came out in the second half with a bandage protecting a head wound, was causing Curzon all sorts of problems with his surging forward runs.
Jack Bainbridge thought he had scored for Southport in the 67th minute only to see Curzon clear the ball off the line.
With 15 minutes to go, Curzon didn’t look like they only had 10 men and were still going forward when they could, but they also had to defend as Southport were still dangerous going forward.
Curzon keeper Chris Renshaw who was not called into making a significant save all game was in the right place after 87 minutes when he collected a Jordan Archer header from inside the box.
Both sides had one last effort in added time to clinch the game, firstly Curran crossed for young Oldham Athletic loan signing Isaac Modi who couldn’t get a shot off as Mason pounced on the ball.
At the other end, Southport launched their final attack with a cross flying across Curzon’s box, but not one player could get onto the end of it.
The two teams meet again at Haigh Avene on Sunday, January 2.