Manchester Premier Cup First Round: Curzon Ashton 1-2 Wythenshawe Town
Curzon Ashton’s defence of the Manchester FA Premier Cup ended at the first hurdle as they were shocked 2-1 by Wythenshawe Town.
Despite Isaac Sinclair giving the Nash a second half lead, they never had control of the contest and the North West Counties Division One South side rallied commendably with goals from Aaron Dwyer and Connor Brotherton enough to see them into the next round.
The game, though, was overshadowed by what looked like a horrific injury suffered by Nash centre back Olly Thornley early in the second half after he was taken out from behind by Wythenshawe striker Brad Byrne, a challenge not even deemed worthy of a free kick in the eyes of referee Alex Kirtley.
But to blame the referee would be to do disservice to a determined display from the visitors who fully merited the victory on the back of another disappointing Curzon performance who now boast a winless streak of 11 games and face a crucial match with Blyth Spartans on Saturday.
After a 10 day gap from their last game, Mark Bradshaw made five changes from the team that lost to Farsley Celtic with Josh Askew, Luke Merrill and Jack Banister recalled, Mark McCoy given a start in goal and James Baillie making his first Nash appearance in almost a year following his return from long-term injury.
The early stages were tightly contested, although Curzon winger Jack Banister was seemingly being given the freedom of the left wing as he continually found space to attack Wythenshawe right back Lee Gregory.
Despite his abundant possession, the closest Banister came to creating a goal was when he cut the ball back for the onrushing Mike Calveley, the midfielder’s deflected shot being clawed away for a corner by Callum Jakovlevs in the away goal.
Sinclair passed up the best chance of the half when he capitalised on Jerome Wright’s shot back pass and rounded Jakovlevs only to lose his footing at the crucial moment and allow the Wythenshawe defence to scramble back and clear.
Having already lost Askew, who was suffering back spasms in the first half, the second period began disastrously for the Nash thanks to Thornley’s injury.
Amidst shocked cries from the dugout and stands, the referee waved play on as he lay prone on the ground after Byrne’s reckless lunge before help finally arrived and Thornley was stretchered off to applause.
The Nash looked a little rocked after that, but they did take the lead midway through the half when Calveley’s shot was well blocked by Jakovlevs and Sinclair pounced on the rebound.
However, that advantage lasted only five minutes when Dean Warburton slid Dwyer in down the right channel. His first effort was saved by McCoy, but the ball bounced kindly back to the winger and he kept his composure to slot the ball home at the second attempt.
And a dream night for Wythenshawe was completed ten minutes from time when Curzon went to sleep from Wright’s throw in, allowing Dwyer space to pick out substitute Brotherton whose header flew past McCoy at his near post.
Matt Regan and Banister both headed off target as Curzon attempted to inject some urgency to proceedings, but it was too little too late as the visitors held on to ensure there would be no repeat of last year’s Manchester Premier Cup celebrations.
By Sam Hendry
Curzon: McCoy, Baillie, Thornley (Shaw 54), Regan, Askew (Halls 24), Merrill (Saunders 77), Calveley, Davies, Banister, Trickett-Smith, Sinclair.
Subs not used: Wroe, Cooke.
Wythenshawe: Jakovlevs, Gregory, Wright, Timmons (Brotherton 76), Clarke, Palinkas, Dwyer, Smalley, Byrne (Spencer 76), Warburton, Lewens (Myers 70).
Subs not used: Callacher, Mostyn.