By Stephen Burton
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, January 8th 2022
CURZON ASHTON 3-2 BLYTH SPARTANS
A late rally wasn’t quite enough as Blyth paid for a disappointing first-half display as they fell to defeat at Tameside Stadium.
Curzon took the lead on 16 minutes through a deflected effort from Jamie Cooke, before Alex Curran doubled their lead on 32 minutes, and Craig Mahon struck five minutes after the break.
JJ O’Donnell pulled one back for Spartans five minutes from the end, before Sado Djalo got his first for the club to set up a tense finale in added time.
Boss Terry Mitchell made three changes following last week’s derby win over Gateshead with Sean Reid, Cameron Painter and Jordan Watson coming into the starting line-up.
It was Curzon who went closest in the early stages as Thomas Peers latched onto a flick-on in the box, but the striker lofted his effort over from six yards.
Within another couple of minutes the hosts went close again as Adam Thomas headed over at the back post.
Curzon continued to dominate possession and wasted another opportunity as Cooke headed wide, before Matthew Waters fizzed a low effort past the post.
Blyth struggled to keep possession and the home side eventually got the goal their play deserved.
A cross was cleared only as far as Cooke on the edge of the box, who took a touch and fired an effort that took a wicked deflection and beat Alex Mitchell via the woodwork.
The hosts almost doubled their lead soon after as Peers hit the post from a dangerous low cross from the left.
Out of nothing though, Spartans almost equalised. Dan Maguire intercepted the ball on halfway before driving at goal and beating two defenders, but the striker was denied his first goal of the season by an excellent save.
The chance seemed to be the kick-start Blyth needed as Maguire curled an effort over from the edge of the box shortly after.
However just as the visitors were improving, they were two down as Curran was given the easiest of finishes at the far post as he converted a cross from Peers.
Nathan Buddle had a header cleared off the line as Blyth tried to get back into the game but the hosts were rarely threatened.
Curran went close twice before captain Craig Mahon sliced an effort wide from a decent position as they pressed for a third before the break.
Curzon began the second-half in similar fashion as Cooke went close to a second before Mahon fired home their third from the edge of the box.
Blyth almost responded straight after as Djalo connected with a corner only for his header to bounce narrowly wide.
The game began to become end-to-end as Djalo headed over from an awkward angle, before in no time at all, Peers found himself through on goal but he could only fire wide of Mitchell’s goal.
Spartans by this point were much improved, with Lewis McNall introduced, the striker fired in and excellent low cross which just evaded the onrushing Djalo.
McNall himself had a half-chance just after the hour-mark, but his effort was comfortably saved by Chris Renshaw.
Within moments of coming on, substitute Corey McKeown almost pulled one back as he glanced a header wide after more good work from McNall.
Curzon were still a threat though and Mitchell was forced into two three fine saves from Thomas within as many minutes.
Firstly he tipped a point-blank header onto the bar, before producing a good stop at his near post, the Spartans stopper then produced the best of the lot as he denied the winger with an outstretched foot when one-on-one.
Spartans then got the goal their second-half display deserved as O’Donnell smashed home from the edge of the box, following good play by McKeown.
Djalo set up a tense final moments as he headed home McKeown’s cross in added time, but the hosts managed to hold on for the win.
Next up for Blyth is a home clash with Gloucester City.
Curzon Ashton | Renshaw, Challoner, Waters, Poscha, Thomas, Peers, Wilson (Curran 30’), Lussey, Cooke (Nolan 65’), Mahon © (Hobson 77’), Barton Subs not used | Merrill, Modi
Goals | Cooke (16’). Curran (32’). Mahon (50’)
Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Reid (McNall 54’), Buddle ©, Watson, Hickey, Maguire, O’Donnell, Painter (McKeown 70’), Byrne, Lees, Thomson (Djalo 30’) Subs not used | Evans, Cunningham
Goals | O’Donnell (85’), Djalo (90′)
Referee | Richard Holmes
Attendance | 406