National League North: Gloucester City 2-2 Curzon Ashton
Curzon Ashton twice lead before having to settle for a point in an entertaining encounter away to Gloucester City.
Sean Miller marked his first start since returning from injury in style by bundling the Nash into an early lead only for Spencer Hamilton to equalise shortly after in similarly scrappy circumstances.
Hamilton then suffered the ignominy of putting the ball through his own net to give Curzon a half time lead, but that only lasted ten minutes of the second half as Marlon Jackson levelled the scores for the second and final time.
The point halts a run of six consecutive league defeats, although it does stretch Curzon’s run without a victory to 13 games and drops them into the relegation zone thanks to results elsewhere.
It’s the positives that must be drawn upon, though, as Mark Bradshaw’s men produced an accomplished performance and could easily have taken all three points if not for some wasteful finishing and a terrific late save from Gloucester goalkeeper Josh Bradley-Hurst.
It had been three weeks since Curzon had last played thanks to a combination of postponements and weather problems, and the way they began this game showed they were eager to make up for lost time.
Less than five minutes were on the clock when a neat passing move involving Matt Regan, Isaac Sinclair and Dan Trickett-Smith released Liam Davies down the left flank. His low cross looped into the air off Gloucester captain Sam Avery and when the flight of the ball deceived Bradley-Hurst, Miller was lurking to knock home his fifth goal of the season.
But it didn’t take long for the hosts to strike back. Moments after Cam Mason had made a stunning save from Joe Hanks’ long-range thunderbolt, Hamilton poked the ball home from the resulting corner.
Neither goal was very pretty on the eye and that theme continued when the Nash retook the lead just before the half hour mark. This time it was Divin Baningime who raced behind the Gloucester defence and his cross was slid into his own net by the unfortunate Hamilton.
It was the stroke of luck that has evaded Curzon in the last two months and allowed them to enter half time ahead for the first time in a league game since they played Darlington on August 12th.
Their advantage was inches away from being doubled early in the second half when Miller’s accurate driven cross found Sinclair at the back post, but the young winger’s header was denied by the crossbar.
That miss proved costly as Gloucester equalised for the second time almost immediately when Jackson breached the visitors’ offside line and calmly finished over the top of the advancing Mason.
After riding out a period of pressure from the hosts, Curzon regained a foothold in the game and created some good chances to take all three points.
Trickett-Smith and Miller twice linked up well with each other to produce shooting opportunities which were blocked and went off target respectively.
Sinclair had what appeared to be a solid claim for a penalty turned down by the referee before Mike Calveley went closest of all with only a few minutes remaining. His 30-yard howitzer looked destined for the top corner until the flying fingertips of 17-year old Bradley-Hurst tipped it wide.
By Sam Hendry