Curzon held to goalless draw at Kettering

National League North: Kettering Town 0-0 Curzon Ashton

Curzon Ashton had to settle for a point against Kettering Town in a game played in horrid underfoot conditions at Latimer Park.

The pitch more closely resembled a freshly ploughed field than the surface Curzon are used to playing on at the Tameside Stadium, resulting in a scrappy game beset by long balls and misplaced passes.

Both sides did have chances to break the deadlock. Kettering goalkeeper Paul White was the hosts saviour as he made excellent blocks to deny Mike Calveley, Josh Askew and Owen Watkinson.

At the other end, Cam Mason had to be alert to prevent Tre Mitford in order to notch his tenth clean sheet of the season.

This was a game neither side could afford to lose, and a draw proved a fair result. The two clubs remain level on points in 18th and 19th spots, although Kettering have two games in hand.  

There were two changes to the Curzon side that were cruelly denied victory at Hereford last week. Owen Watkinson was moved to the bench after picking up a knock in that game while Tunde Bayode suffered a hamstring injury in training.

That paved the way for George Broadbent – on loan from Sheffield United for the rest of the season – to make his debut for the club he played at as a youngster. Andy Halls also came back into the starting line-up for the first time in almost a month after serving a suspension.

A pitch far from conducive to flowing football meant a direct style of play was needed and Kettering were the early aggressors.

Connor Kennedy’s long throws had the potential to cause trouble in the Nash box but Mason and his three centre backs – Halls, Danny Shaw and Mo Ali – dealt with everything impeccably all afternoon.

A couple long-range James Baillie efforts was the most Curzon had threatened until Mike Calveley had the best chance of the first half.

Dimaio released gim into the box with an expert through ball, but White stood tall to deny the rampaging midfielder as he tried to round the Kettering ‘keeper.

The second half was a similarly ugly affair as the conditions continued to wreak havoc.

Mitford had Kettering’s best chance when he latched on to Michael Richens’ lobbed pass only to be quickly met by Mason who spread himself well to make the block.

The game’s fleeting moment of quality belonged to Dimaio who dribbled away from four Kettering players before poking the ball through for Askew.

One-on-one, Askew was brilliantly denied by White who was up quickly to prevent Watkinson hammering home the rebound.

It was a point-saving intervention from the Kettering shot-stopper and despite plenty late set-piece opportunities, neither side could find a breakthrough.

By Sam Hendry

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