Darlington FC



Mens First Team

Sat 4 Aug 2018 | National League North | Away


Blackwell Meadows




Andrew Kitchen



Curzon got their fourth National League campaign off to a winning start in the North East and had they been more clinical in front of goal, would have won by a more comfortable margin.

After an even opening ten minutes Curzon created the first real opportunity, Jonno Hunnt seizing on a loose ball following a corner, but unfortunately Connor Hughes inadvertently got in his skippers way as Hunt was about to pull the trigger with a clear shot at goal from close range.

It looked to be a crucial incident as Darlington took the lead three minutes later.

Cameron McJannett did well to get across and block Jordan Nicholson's shot for a corner but it was a short lived reprieve as Simon Ainge looped a header into the top corner to give Darlington the lead.

Curzon were causing problems down the wings with their pace but were unable to pick out a final telling pass and it was the home side who came close to doubling their lead when Reece Styche saw Cameron Mason off his line and tried a first time effort which dipped inches over the bar.

Mason then made a great save to deny Josef Wheatley, turning away a header from a corner, but it wasn't all one way traffic and the Nash were seeing plenty of the ball and were deservedly level on 25 minutes.

A short corner saw Mason Fawns cross to the far post where the home keeper should have done better but Curzon weren't complaining as Danny Shaw forced in a header to equalise.

Minutes later Madison made amends with a smart save from Joe Guest but Shaw should have done better but blasted the loose ball into the side netting.

It was the last real chance of the first half.  While both sides continued to press, neither created a real goalscoring opportunity so the game was well balanced at half time with the scores level.

It took Curzon just seven minutes of the second half to take the lead when Joe Guest found Paul Marshall who whipped a cross in for Connor Hughes to place his header back past Mddison to make the score 2-1.

Four minutes later Darlington were unfortunate not to equalise when Styche held off Morton and fed Tom Elliott, who had the goal at his mercy but crashed his shot against the crossbar.

Curzon were wishing goalline technology was available in the National League North when Maddison clawed away a Hunt header at the foot of a post.  Even some of the Darlington supporters claimed the ball had crossed the line, but crucially the linesman said no and Darlington survived.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Curzon had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed.  Connor Hughes twisted and turned in the box, beating a couple of defenders before side stepping Maddison and shooting at goal. Terry Galbraith flung himself at the ball where it struck his arm with the referee having no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Galbraith was unfortunate to be shown a red card, as although a definite penalty, the defender hadn't deliberately handled the ball.

Hughes stepped up and placed his shot low to the left but Maddison guessed correctly and made a fine save with Mason Fawns having a rush of blood with the rebound, blasting the loose ball high over the crossbar.

Curzon were almost made to pay when a cross from the right came back off the outside of a post but in stoppage time Maddison saved his side again with a fine save from Joe Guest, but with the final whistle sounding a couple of minutes later, Curzon had done enough to secure the points which put them third in the first league table of the season.

Match Report by Ian Seymour





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