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Sunday, August 12, 2018

From The Stands - Curzon Ashton

Harwood Bull watched yesterday's game between Curzon Ashton and Hereford FC from the stands.

'First impressions of Curzon Ashton were of an excellent modern little ground, with an adjacent athletics track and other sporting facilities nearby. According to the stadiumdb website “The ground was built as a community stadium, largely thanks to the Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, thus the TMBC letters spelt out with seats in the main stand”. Admission prices were reasonable – my father in law’s concessionary ticket was only £6. The stewards were friendly, although I was a bit miffed when one said I could have got away with being over 65 myself – I’ve got two years to go to that milestone!

The pitch, as you’d expect at this time of year, was immaculate, although I’m not sure why there’s this obsession with sprinkling the grass immediately before the game. Two of the sprinklers were still going just seconds before the kick off, which the ref didn’t seem to be aware of. It could have led to an interesting ‘What happened next’ clip for Question of Sport.

The teams were hard working and well organised, and the overall quality of play was pretty good, I thought. Both sides had big strong centre halves, Jordan Liburd for the Bulls, and Daniel Shaw for Curzon. If you google Shaw you’ll find a You Tube clip of him scoring an own goal from 40 yards out in a match at Southport. That must have been a rare lapse as he looked confident and commanding, and Harry White had a tough time against him. Liburd was well supported by Harvey Smith to the extent that we didn’t miss Green very much. Beadle’s comment that Smith’s a “no-nonsense, head it and kick it sort of centre half” seems a bit grudging to me, he looked comfortable on the ball and brought it out of defence a few times.

                                                           Jordan Liburd

Returning to Harry White, he scored an excellent goal, but for most of the match looked very isolated. As two supporters behind me said “he’s not the quickest over the first five yards” and “nor the last five yards!”. Maybe a bit harsh, but you can see why they said it. He needs closer support from another striker, which could happen if Lance Smith can be allowed to move in from his emergency winger position when Keyon Reffell is fit again.

Beadle had said that he wants the full backs to push up more, which they did quite effectively, particularly Thomas on the right who had a good game. However Curzon’s Connor Hughes, who was their danger man was given a lot of room down the flanks, on Keiran Thomas’s side in the first half, and against Danny Greenslade in the second. It’s a challenge to be a full back in the modern game, being expected to attack as much as defend. If they go forward they have to be confident that someone will cover in behind them which didn’t always happen.

Hereford had some luck in the first half with the one off the bar and the strike from Brooke, which was disallowed for a foul which not many people saw. In the second half Curzon had a number of opportunities to get the ball into the box from free kicks and corners but Horse dealt with the high balls comfortably, and his kicking was a great deal better than his opposite number. Towards the end Curzon were limited to long range shots most of which ended up in the car park. Fortunately my car was parked immediately behind the goal so was in no danger. The chap who had the task of retrieving the ball was one of the most active people in the stadium – why don’t they put a high fence up? 

The game could have gone either way, but the Bulls just did enough to win it. Bird made a difference from the bench, and created the opportunity for White’s superb finish. I think we saw enough to feel that they will be competitive in this league, but the next couple of games against the two higher placed teams should give us the evidence to confirm (or not) this view.'