30 Dec 2020 in Match Reports
After a hard-earned draw against Southport on Boxing day Curzon finished the year off with a sounding 3-0 home win over Bradford Park Avenue.
Bradford were the first to fire a shot in anger when Lewis Knight latched onto a mistake by Harry Flowers and fired an effort across Cameron Mason goal but Mason saved well.
For the first time this season Curzon were the biggest of the two sides in size and were hoping to make this count on set pieces but it was Alex Curran who rose to a Robbie Evans cross to flick a header towards the back post, Connor Hughes tried in vain to get a toe to the ball but the chance went.
Chances fell to both sides before the big turning point in the game, firstly Ryan Toulson was on hand to hit a volley from a Avenue corner but his volley sailed over the crossbar. Flowers at the other end, using his height to his advantage saw his header go just wide of the post.
On 20 minutes the first booking of the game came when Toulson was adjudged to have committed a foul and shown a yellow card by referee Kristian Silcock but a minute later Silcock had no hesitation in showing a straight red card to Matty Downing after he recklessly dived into the unexpected Curran just in front of the Avenue technical area.
Avenue hotly disputed the decision, and the manager Mark Bower was lucky not to go into the book himself, with the referee deciding to give him and his assistant a talking too.
As for Curran he dusted himself down and went on to produce a "man of the match" display.
With Avenue down to 10 men Curzon took advantage and put Avenue under pressure and on 23 minutes Flowers came the closes to opening the scoring when his header from a corner rattled the Avenue crossbar.
7 minutes later with Curzon in full control of the game the ball was played into Samuel Walker who played a superb ball in between the left full back and centre half, Matthew Waters quickly went past the full back to get onto the pass and cutting into the box he showed great composure to slip the ball under the advancing keeper, Dan Atkinson.
Avenue still battled and when the goal scorer Waters made a mistake, Knight was quickly onto the ball and struck a great effort from just inside the box which Mason had to push away for a corner.
Just before the half ended Avenue's manager changed his team's formation to 3-4-1-1 which was a positive move and they held out to go in at half time one goal down, to hopefully regroup.
As the players came out for the second half the Avenue players surrounded the referee to complain about the floodlights but Mr Silcock waved away any protest.
The half started slowly, and the first effort came from Avenue's Harry Boyes who tried his luck from 30 yards but it didn't trouble Mason.
On 54 minutes keeper Atkinson had to be at his best when Curzon's captain Evans broke free for an 1 on 1 with Atkinson, with Atkinson superbly saving with his feet and then seconds later saving from a Curran's shot.
Avenue were far from out of the game and were looking to break at pace when they could and good interplay between Toulson and Brad Dockerty ended with Toulson's effort tipped away by Mason.
Curzon were still looking dangerous at set pieces and Dan Cowan saw his effort to just wide of the post, but it was going to take a special goal to give Curzon the cushion they needed and that came in the 71st minute.
Curran who was having his best game in a Curzon shirt, broke down the right going past his marker to deliver a great low cross which was met by Evans coming late into the box from midfield and with a diving header Evans planted the ball past Atkinson. This was a move which Curzon have been crying out for from their midfielders and it finished off a great move.
In the last ten minutes Avenue still pushed forward and never gave up the fight and a free kick by Regan Booty from 25 yards was on target but never troubled Mason.
On 83 minutes Walker again slipped a great ball forward, this time for Cowan but his effort was superbly saved by Atkinson, but 5 minutes later Atkinson couldn't stop Cowan's effort. From a corner the ball dropped to his feet and with his back to goal, he turned smartly and slotted past Atkinson for Curzon's third.
This was just the tonic for Curzon to end the year with a good performance a clean sheet and three valuable points.
Match Report by David Jones