Curzon Ashton 0, Chorley 1: Magpies stay firmly in the National League North title hunt
The title-chasing Magpies completed back-to-back festive season away wins with this narrow victory over a spirited Curzon side who made their more exalted opponents fight hard for the points.
After a bright opening half-hour and a picture goal fit to win any game, it was in the end Chorley’s redoubtable defensive quality saw them through. Most of the excitement came in a lively first half.
After Josh O’Keefe had fired just off-target from 20 yards, the Magpies delivered a classic 12th minute goal.
O’Keefe won the ball in midfield and supplied Josh Wilson who released Elliot Newby down the right, his inch-perfect cross giving Marcus Carver a free header beyond the back post which the striker redirected back across goal and into the far top corner.
With the game being played at a consistently high tempo, the goal-frame four times featured in near-misses.
Mason Fawns’ exquisite free-kick rattled the angle of post and bar with Chorley keeper Tony McMillan flailing at full stretch in vain.
O’Keefe saw his firm header hit the post and spin across the face of goal before being hacked away and Wilson got in a great header from a corner which Cameron Mason tipped onto the bar and finally for Curzon Luke Wall, sent clear on goal, crashed a shot against the upright when he really ought to have scored.
The second half was distinctly flat by comparison. Elliot Newby fired just too high from Matt Challoner’s centre and later Curzon’s Fawns was equally close with a 25-yards’ power-drive.
The home side were seeing plenty of the ball and repeatedly pushed Chorley back but they did not really open up the visitors’ rearguard and McMillan was not seriously tested.
Substitute Alex Newby had a great chance to wrap up the Magpies’ victory five minutes from time from brother Elliot’s defence-splitting through-ball but failed to squeeze his shot past the advancing Mason.
The last act featured an almighty scramble in front of the Chorley goal from which McMillan finally emerged with the ball.
CHORLEY : McMillan, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Baines, Meppen-Walter, Cottrell, O’Keefe, Carver (Hooper,90+4), Wilson (A.Newby,71), E. Newby. Unused subs. Almond, Lee, Eccles.Attendance: 490.