25 Jan 2020 in Match Reports
Owen-Evans (90+4 pen)
Curzon Ashton 1
A point gained but it felt more like two lost after a 94th minute penalty snatched victory away from Curzon Ashton on their trip to Hereford.
In a game full of incident, Mo Ali had given the Nash the lead in a first half interrupted by a lengthy stoppage following an injury to the referee.
Hereford were reduced to ten men in the eighth of 10 added on minutes at the end of the half when Ben Pollock was dismissed for a high and dangerous tackle on James Baillie.
Despite controlling the second half, Curzon couldn’t make their man advantage count and were pegged back in stoppage time when Rowan Liburd went down in the box and Tom Owen-Evans rolled home the spot kick.
Liburd went down easily but there was enough contact to persuade the replacement referee to point to the spot and deny Curzon all three points. The result does, nonetheless, move the Nash up a place to 18th, five points ahead of the relegation zone.
Confidence was high in the Nash camp after last week’s emphatic victory over Farsley Celtic and Mark Bradshaw rewarded those starters by naming an unchanged line-up. Andy Halls returned from suspension to take a place on the bench where he was joined by new signing Jamal Crawford.
They carried on the momentum of that win straight away and Connor Dimaio had already stung the palms of Hereford ’keeper Will Henry by the time they took the lead 15 minutes in.
Josh Askew’s in-swinging corner fell for Dimaio who again had a shot blocked by Henry, but Ali was in the right place at the right time to reach the rebound and smash an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
Curzon were threatening to run riot at this stage and only a vital last-ditch block from Jason Pope stopped Owen Watkinson doubling the lead as he bore down on goal.
Referee Scott Simpson limping off halted the Nash in their tracks, however, and when play eventually got back underway they were almost caught cold.
Alex Bray chased down a long ball and was brought down on the edge of the box by Danny Shaw. Hereford players and supporters screamed for a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, but the new referee opted to only book the centre back.
Hereford almost made the visitors pay anyway as Victor Sodiende rattled the crossbar from the free kick. Liburd reached the rebound, but his header fortuitously landed on the roof of the net.
It had been a hectic week for Hereford after they sacked manager Russell Slade following a run of one win in 18 games. Josh Gowling – still a player at the club – was handed the managerial reigns but his task was made a lot harder in the closing moments of the first half.
Pollock launched himself into a challenge with Baillie leaving the referee with little choice but to issue him with a straight red card.
That changed the game’s dynamic: until then it was Hereford who had been controlling possession, but now Curzon were looking to make the extra man in midfield count.
Dimaio and Baillie worked a good opening down the right wing only for the former to blaze his effort wide. Baillie also saw an excellent curling free kick dip just over the crossbar.
Robbie Evans then had the Nash’s best chance to extend their lead when he collected Tunde Bayode’s cutback and forced a fine save from Henry.
Hereford had failed to test Cam Mason all afternoon and looked devoid of ideas and confidence by the end, but in an instant that all changed.
Liburd collected the ball just inside the area with his back to goal and tumbled to the ground under pressure. Owen-Evans waited for Mason to dive before calmly dispatching the spot-kick to earn a share of the spoils.
Hereford: Henry, Hodgkiss, Greenslade (Davies 63), Pollock, Pope, Cullinane-Liburd, Sodiende, Liburd, O’Sullivan (Cane 67), Bray (Styche 73).
Subs not used: Finn, Mooney.
Curzon: Mason, Baillie, Shaw, Ali, Askew, Evans, Calveley, Bayode, Dimaio, Sinclair (Halls 78), Watkinson (Crawford 62).
Subs not used: Lovell, Wroe, Merrill.
Written by Sam Hendry