Darlington 1883



First Team

Sat 10 Mar 2018 | National League North | Away


Blackwell Meadows




Gareth Rhodes



Curzon Ashton FC fell to a disappointing defeat at Darlington after conceding in the closing stages - despite having a host of chances of their own to win the game. 


David Syers headed home from an inch perfect Josh Gilles cross with 88 minutes on the clock as Darlington took full advantage of an opportunity to lump the ball into the box.


The result leaves Curzon in the battle for survival, while Darlo are now battling for an unlikely play-off spot after a few months of struggles had seen them drop into the dogfight.


Curzon dominated the first 45 minutes but were unable to beat young Darlo goalkeeper Ainsley Pears, who was in inspired form. 


Ben Wharton, filling in for the injured Niall Cummins in the No.9 shirt, was unfortunate when a defender got a vital touch on a low Ben McKenna cross inside the first five minutes.  


Then shortly afterwards, the ball fell perfectly for Jake Dunwoody from a short corner, but Darlington were able to get a block on his effort before it cannoned into the top corner. 


Reece Styche appeared the most dangerous Darlington player, twice firing over the bar as they broke away following Curzon attacks. 


Curzon continued to have the best of the chances and it was Dunwoody who was again denied when Pears produced a spectacular reaction save when the Stoke loanee turned the ball towards goal from Sam Walker's inch-perfect pullback. 


Another glorious opportunity would follow as Wharton got beyond the defender, but could not get his shot off as the ball got caught under his feet. He did manage to find Joe Guest, who had a similar problem. 


Guest had a chance of his own before the half was out, but could only make the ball trickle home to the goalkeeper. James Baillie had the same problem a few minutes later.


After failing to take their chances in the first half. it was always expected that Curzon would find it significantly harder in the second half - and so it proved as Darlo came out of the blocks.


Goalkeeper Cameron Mason reached for the ball as they attacked, but only managed to bring down Styche, leaving the referee to point to the spot. 


Mason stood strong, however, and palmed away Stephen Thompson's spot kick to give the Nash as lifeline. 


Darlo then began to push, as substitute Gilles missed the target from six yards out, when it looked easier to score. 


Curzon still had opportunities of their own. Baillie found the side netting with a darting run into the box, while other full-back Matt Regan's curling effort was tipped round the post by Pears. 


Mason was on hand to turn a Darlington breakaway from Greg Mills around the post, but the sucker punch came in the 88th minute when the Nash gave away a foul on the touchline, allowing Gilles to deliver for Syers, who headed home. 


A disappointing end to the game for Curzon, who did more than enough to take at least a point. 


Match Report by Aaron Flanagan



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