Nation League North: Curzon Ashton 1-0 York City
A superb team performance ensured Curzon Ashton inflicted a first defeat of the season on York City.
Debutant Connor Dimaio – on loan from Stockport County – scored the only goal of the game with a well-executed half-volley as the Nash recorded their second league win in a row to climb a place to 19th.
A first clean sheet since 6 August was the reward for Mark Bradshaw’s side after a dogged defensive display in a second-half largely dominated by the now-former league leaders.
Cam Mason was called upon to make two top-class saves as Curzon repelled everything York threw at them and they could have even extended their lead if they’d taken advantage of several dangerous counter-attacks.
New signings Dimaio and Charlie Jolley, the latter on loan for a month from Wigan Athletic, were both thrown straight into the starting line-up as Bradshaw made two changes from last week’s win over Telford United.
Nicky Wroe and Isaac Sinclair were the players to drop out although both had to be called upon as injury forced the early substitutions of both Michael Calveley and James Baillie.
York started the game the brighter side, but it didn’t take long for Curzon to settle in the game with Jolley lively up front and Dimaio finding pockets of space between the opposition defence and midfield. The two nearly combined to set Jolley through on goal 15 minutes in but Pete Jameson was off his line quickly to snuff out the danger.
The Minstermen passed up a glorious chance to strike first midway through the half when Kallum Griffith’s right-wing cross fell kindly for Elliott Durrell unmarked six yards out only for him to inexplicably volley wide of goal.
York would live to regret that as the Nash took the lead just after the half-hour mark. Jameson miscued his attempt at punching away Liam Davies’ cross and it bounced out for Dimaio at the edge of the box who showed the exquisite technique to arrow his shot into the roof of the net.
It was a thoroughly deserved lead for the hosts who were producing their most accomplished all-round performance since the 5-0 win over Bradford (Park Avenue) on the opening day of the season. York were struggling to deal with the pressure exerted on them by a hungry Nash team who were first to every 50-50 challenge and playing some nice football at the same time.
The lead remained intact heading into half-time where York manager Steve Watson would surely have torn into his players for a sluggish performance.
The Nash would have been expecting a second-half onslaught and it didn’t take long for that to arrive as Durrell struck the post form an early corner.
Mason then produced his two moments of magic within three minutes of each other. First off, he showed great reactions to deny Jordan Burrow with a one-handed save and then tipped wide the same player’s header for a corner.
After withstanding that brief barrage, the Nash regrouped and could have put the game beyond reach as Dimaio and Jolley broke at pace. The former’s pass was slightly overhit and forced Jolley wide where he couldn’t take advantage of the chance despite rounding the ‘keeper.
York seemed to run out of ideas faced with a blue brick wall in front of them with the back five of Davies, Andy Halls, Mo Ali, Danny Shaw and an out of position Sinclair repelling all that came their way.
Sean Miller and Dimaio both shot wide in the closing stages, but one was enough for Curzon to seal a famous victory.
Match Report by: Rob Hurst