Words by Adam Bateman, photos by Jonathan White
Nantwich Town lost narrowly to Curzon Ashton on Tuesday night, going down 2-1 to the National League North side in a friendly at the Swansway Stadium.
On a blisteringly hot summer’s evening, both sides were looking to get more fitness in the legs of their respective players.
The home side looked to start on the front foot, and to set the tempo, with the in form players of Dan Cockerline and Connor Heath hoping to continue where they left off against Stoke last time out.
However, it was Curzon who had the first dangerous ball into the box, with Troy Bourne defending well to clear it after only a few minutes on the clock.
Then to the delight of the travelling supporters, they saw their team take the lead, with a very well worked goal, Ryan Hall got the ball out wide, and played a low ball along the area, and there was Thomas Peers to tap it in.
So the Dabbers were on the back foot, and had to find a way back into this game, and thankfully for them, they have their form players in pre-season to rely upon.
First there was Heath who tested the Curzon goalkeeper Chris Renshaw, then the next to try their luck was Jon Moran from the back, with a long range shot, that skewed wide.
The tide was turning in the home sides favour, and it wasn’t to any great surprise when the man of the moment, Dan Cockerline, got the equalising goal with a goal that Dave Cooke described after as ‘all his own work’, bringing down a looped through ball by Joe Robbins and firing expertly into the bottom corner (pictured below), which delighted the fans at the Swansway Stadium.
From there, the game became much more even, with both sides having chances to take the lead, but it was Curzon who eventually did just after the half hour mark, with Peers getting his second of the day, with a lovely little dink over the onrushing Louis Gray. (pictured below)
There was one more chance before half time, when Shaun Miller should perhaps have made more of his headed chance, with Cockerline waiting to pounce if he had managed to head it in his direction.
So, at the break, it was Curzon who lead the way.
The second half, saw both teams ring the changes, to allow as many players as possible to get a run out, and to get some fitness into their legs, so it wasn’t all that surprising when the game became a lot more disjointed, which favoured the visitors in terms of the scoreline.
When he was still on the pitch before being substituted, Heath was a menace to the Curzon defence, which bodes well for the season ahead for all Dabbers fans.
Sean Cooke came on, and almost immediately found an equalising goal, but he saw his shot well saved by the substitute Curzon goalkeeper.
AJ Leitch-Smith (pictured below) and a trialist both came on, and looked very lively during their brief cameos, but at the end of the game, it was Curzon who held on for the win, but this was more about opportunities for players to get some fitness ahead of the big Wrexham game, and the start of the season.
And remember, tickets for the big Wrexham game MUST be bought online before the game (you can buy them here), there will be NO tickets available to buy on the gate, and the Swansway Stand is already sold out.