Curzon travelled the hour and an half up the M6 for their first ever visit to Kendal Town, an old fashioned ground with slight hill on a somewhat heavy pitch, like buses the reserves don’t play for 7 weeks then two games come along in 5 days, but no com
The small crowd did not expect the explosive start to the game as it was 1-1 after only 67 seconds!, Kendal kicked off, down the slope, Curzon won the ball after two passes then launched their 1st attack releasing Tom Keegan up the right, he beat the left fullback and delivered a near post cross for the incoming Michael Linney to side foot home after only 35 seconds on the clock. A great start for Curzon but what they never expected was Kendal to draw level straight from the restart.
And that’s what they exactly did, a quick ball forward had Curzon’s keeper, Hayden Buckley-Smith appealing for offside which the referee ignored, Buckley-Smith came rushing off his line which forced the striker to shoot early towards the far post, it looked like it was going in but the incoming support at the back post, in Tom Milligan made sure from 3 yards out.
If many of the people in the crowd expected a large score then they were right in the end but on the rest of the 1st half performance by Curzon it could have been them on the end of a heavy defeat. Curzon did show glimpses of great play in the 1st half but it was too few and far between, Keegan did break away again on 8 minutes but time his cross was placed behind all the attacking players. In frustration of giving the ball away to easily and not stringing good passes together both Liam Bromley-Blackburn and Alex Jones went into the referee’s book for harsh tackles, for Bromley-Blackburn it was his third rash tackle within minutes and the referee had no choice, but Jones can count himself unlucky.
But with 10 minutes to go Curzon finally started to show what they were capable of and Jordan Wright came alive and he was to have a big impact on the rest of the game. For the 1st time in the game Ben Shawcross who was at times struggling coping with Kendal’s left winger got himself forward to support Keegan and he was unlucky to see his shot hit the side netting, then Jermaine Steele picked out Wright, down the centre with a lovely ball, Wright was so unlucky with the keeper just getting to the ball first. With Kendal winning the ball back, they launched it forward, Shawcross hesitated to clear his lines and Sam Lightfoot took advantage to win the ball and play it forward to the unmarked Milligan who composed himself to score his and Kendal’s 2nd goal of the game.
Curzon responded well when the same combination of Steele and Wright , with Steele sending Wright away on the left, Wright jinks himself into the box but was thwarted by three defenders inside the 6 yard box.
Wright was now getting involved in every Curzon attacking move and on 41 minutes he again popped up in a central, forward position to just to miss out on connecting to a lovely defence splitting ball by Linney, but then the half time whistle came too soon as Curzon were just getting back on track.
No ranting or raving in the dressing room by the management team at half time but some questions asked about their will to stick their chests out and be big, to keep things simple and to work hard as both individuals and as a team. The effect was fantastic as Curzon came out and completely dominated the second half.
Again it was Wright who lead the way but it would be unfair not to mention Nathan Martin who has returned to the club from Hyde United, Martin who has not had 90 minutes of football for many weeks formed a solid partnership alongside Bromley-Blackburn, Jones worked tirelessly as he always does, Ryan McNulty back in the side after a long lay-off did well as did Keegan down the right and he had to play the last ten minutes with a groin strain and finally the two players who have stepped up from the under 18’s, Matthew Dell and Ryan Wood who both played their part when they came on.
It was Wright after 50 minutes who created the first chance to get back on level terms but after all his hard work getting into a shooting position he couldn’t connect to the shot to trouble keeper Tom Newton but 10 minutes later Curzon were back on level terms, the goal was a simple side foot by Linney from 6 yards out as he came in late to finish off a fantastic move by Wright. Wright picked the ball up on the half-way line and made his way down the left hand side, with two defenders on his tail trying to put tackles in, Wright changed his pace, cut inside box, getting to the by-line he then cut it back to allow Linney to have the simple task of placing it past Newton.
Four minutes later Curzon took the lead, Harry Odell won the ball just inside Kendal’s half and played the ball forward to Keegan, Keegan made his way down the right, cutting inside the box, his intention was to cross the ball, but with luck, his cross sailed over the keeper and nestled into the net at the far post but he wasn’t complaining.
Curzon went further ahead on 68 minutes after great work down the right, Wright ends up central around 18 yards out, his shot looked well wide and Kendal’s back four stopped but not young Dell who kept the ball alive by stopping the ball going out for a goal-kick at the far post, he then placed the ball across the goal to where Keegan was, to again side foot home with ease to claim his 2nd and Curzon’s 4th goal of the game.
Curzon were now on fire and created some great chances which they should have done better with, a cross from Keegan into the box found both Steele and Linney but the lack of communication saw Linney waste the chance by shooting well wide, when Steele was in a better position to score. Then Jones headed strongly from a Curzon corner but he headed straight into the keepers arms, Wright had another chance when again he was played through with only the keeper to beat but he never had the legs to finish then on 87 minutes Linney from around 25 yards out struck the ball sweetly only to see it beat the keeper and then come off the post.
Kendal well beaten made changes and on the 89th minutes they created their first effort in the second half when Simon Gardner hit a great strike from just outside the box, Buckley-Smith who had a watching role for most of the second half had to watch the shot all the way to comfortable catch it high just under the crossbar.
Then on 90 minutes Curzon blotted their second half performance by allowing Billy Akrigg to ghost in at the far post and shoot across the goal and nestle the ball in at the far post.
But there was still time, due to an earlier injury, Curzon played the ball into the corner of Kendal’s half and tried to shield the ball and waste time, but Steele was adjudged to use his backside to stop Kendal from getting the ball and Kendal were awarded a free kick near the corner flag. Kendal’s keeper, Newton opted to take the kick which was a poor one, Wright cut out the shot and quickly played it forward to the injured Keegan, Keegan who had a defender breathing down his neck, composed himself to place his shot to the far post as Newton desperately tried to scramble back into his goal area but all he could do was to watch the ball end up in the back of his net for Curzon’s 5th goal of the night.
A great team performance in the second half which made the journey back down the M6 a much more enjoyable one, but they will need to carry on this form as they have a tough fixture next Thursday 8th March when they travel to Fleetwood in the next round of the Lancashire League West divisional cup.
Match Report by David Jones