13 Jul 2019 in Match Reports
Stockport County proved too strong as Curzon fell to a 2-0 defeat in their first pre-season appearance at the Tameside Stadium.
Two goals from Jake Kirby provided the foundation for the visitors’ victory as they showed exactly why they won the National League North last season, but Curzon can take encouragement from their defensive resilience and an improved second half showing.
After a scrappy opening, Stockport gradually began to control possession and Frank Mulhern cracked the game into life 12 minutes in when his 25-yard effort battered the crossbar.
From that point on the visitors dominated the rest of the half and took the lead ten minutes later when Kirby drove forward unchallenged and struck a low shot past the despairing dive of Cam Mason and into the bottom corner.
Mark Bradshaw had nominally begun with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sean Miller pushing high up in support of Callum Saunders. But those plans had to be altered when Saunders was forced off less than 20 minutes in to be replaced by a trialist.
After scoring 18 goals in their two pre-season games thus far, there was no let up from the Hatters as they pushed to extend their lead and Mason had to be at his best to deny Walker and Mulhern.
Further efforts from Mulhern and Adam Thomas flashed wide and the Nash could consider themselves fortunate to only be trailing by a goal going into half time.
The second goal did arrive only two minutes after the restart, though; Kirby doubling his tally for the day with a firm header from a corner.
Curzon introduced Liam Davies, Jack Banister, Danny O’Brien, Elliott Cooke and Luke Merrill in the second half and the longer the half went on the more they grew into the contest.
Robbie Evans had the Nash’s first shot on target after some neat build-up play before Josh Askew provided some excitement for the home faithful when hit the inside of the post with a spectacular long-range strike.
With the game slipping away, Curzon started throwing more bodies forward and were nearly caught out on a subsequent counter-attack. Nyal Bell burst through one-on-one but Mason stared him down and parried his shot away to keep the score respectable.