Monday January 3rd
With their games in hand, Curzon still potentially can overtake both ourselves and Chester at the top of the table, yet the fact remains that this is the THIRD time the Magpies have beat the Tameside outfit this campaign.
We smashed them for six at their ground in the first midweek game of the season and then beat them in extra time at Victory Park in early November in the League Cup. Today we recorded a league double over them, our third double of the season already, to move five points in front of our rivals.
Despite our numerical advantage, Curzon do have games in had on us and all other sides in the league, but due to postponements and cup commitments they now face the task of competing in two cup competitions and also playing another 29 league games in the remaining seventeen weeks – points in the bag could be more important than points yet to be earned.
Back to today’s victory which was secured a minute before half time when recent signing John Cunliffe fired into the roof of the net from close range with defenders and the keeper right on top of him, a smart finish. Had he not netted then perhaps the referee might have pulled play back to any of three clear handball shouts in the seconds leading up to the goal!
Chorley had more of the early ball, but Curzon nearly took the lead on two minutes, catching us on the break, but Aaron Grundy saved well.
Tom Ince attempted a lob, but visiting keeper David Carnell who had an eventful game here in the league cup when he scored then saved a penalty before being carried from the field, stretched to deny the winger.
Mark Houghton cross almost made it to Jamie Vermiglio, returning to the starting line-up for the first time since picking up an injury in late October, but Carnell snatched the ball away.
Throughout the game Curzon surprised many with their rough and occasionally over physical approach to the game and didn’t look a side who had won all but three league games so far this season, maybe this was due to it being their third game in six days.
Just before Cunliffe’s goal, another player returning from injury, Mark Ross, headed the ball to safety off the line in what was Curzon’s only real chance since the opening minute.
Into the second half and Dale Whitham nearly added to his impressive goal tally, but headed just over the angle from an Ince cross, then at the other end Curzon blazed one over the bar.
In one of the best moves of the game Steve Flitcroft, Vermiglio and Whitham all combined superbly to move the ball out to Lee Woodyatt on the wing; he brought the ball forward then crossed to Houghton at the near post only for brave defending to deny a goal for the striker.
As time drew on both sides pushed for another goal, and with news that Chester had thrown away a two goal lead at home to Warrington Town, today’s result following on from Saturday’s win at Radcliffe are maybe enough to suggest we are clear of our ropey patch, with the Cheshire club maybe hitting theirs!
Starting IX: Aaron Grundy, Lee Woodyatt, Tom Walker, Mark Ross, Andy Russell, Jamie Vermiglio, Dale Whitham, Steve Flitcroft, Mark Houghton, John Cunliffe, Tom Ince
Subs: Jack Dorney (Cunliffe, 82), Jordan Stepien, Shelton Payne, Nathan Fairhurst, Jonathan Smith
Goal: JOHN CUNLIFFE (44)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: John Cunliffe, great finish to show what a quality striker he is.