Monday 10th March 2014.
EvoStikNPL Division One North.
Venue - Tameside Stadium, Ashton-Under-Lyne.
Line-up's - Curzon Ashton - Burton, Woodford, Hampson, Hunt, Watson, Young, Rowney, Walker (C), Cummins, Warburton, Brooke.
Subs - Horrocks, McDonagh, Minor, Watson & Lakeland.
Vics' - Deasy, Smalley, Henry (Sanogo 50'), Joseph, Schofield, Hadfield, Wisdom (C), Summerskill, Harries (Greenwood 69'), Clarke, Burnett.
Vics' bookings - Harries, Clarke, Hadfield (2).
Vics' red cards - Hadfield 82.
Unavailable for Vics' - Stott (ankle), Meadowcroft (Away).
The match opened with a cagey first ten minutes to the game, both sides sharing the possession evenly and with no goalscoring chances at either goal.
The first opportunity fell Vics' way in the 11th minute however; Gary Burnett sending a left-foot drive wide from 10 yards after he was picked out by Vics' skipper Wisdom.
Curzon should have taken the lead in the 21st minute, when striker Warburton skipped past Jordan Hadfield - who had slipped attempting to make a tackle, he advanced to the edge of Vics' box and opted to shoot with two team-mates better placed and could only find the side-netting. Ten minutes later in the 31st minute, Hadfield was penalised for a foul on Brooke 20 yards out and home skipper Walker took it, striking a left-foot rising shot that Deasy did well to save, diving to his left and managing to parry the ball away from goal and a posse of Curzon attackers.
The play was very much in favour of the home side but Vics were resolute - with Ryan Schofield in particular defending stoutly when called upon.
Half-time came with the score level at 0-0.
Only 5 minutes into the second half, Vics suffered a blow when the in-form Callum Henry felt a tight hamstring and he was ultimately forced off to be replaced by Abou Sanogo - meaning a re-shuffle with the impressive Schofield moving to Henry's vacated position at centre-back alongside Marc Joseph and skipper Danny Wisdom taking up the left-back berth.
The first opening of the second half was crafted by Vics' Summerskill in the 60th minute who picked out Clarke with a long searching pass and his left-foot shot from the left edge of the box was strong - forcing home 'keeper Burton to get down low and make an impressive save; albeit at the second attempt.
Curzon then started to take control of the game, enjoying lengthy spells of pressure - in the 66th minute Warburton was sent scampering in on-goal by Chris Young but could only wildly fire over the Vics' goal and then in the 69th minute Warburton's strike partner Niall Cummins volleyed well wide when well placed from skipper Walker's pass.
Vics' nearly took the lead two minutes later when sub Matt Greenwood's excellent corner picked out the unmarked Sanogo six yards out and his header was firm and powerful but it cleared the bar with Burton in the home goal glad to see it go out for a goal-kick. Vics' were reduced to ten men when the industrious Jordan Hadfield was sent off for a second yellow card offence for another foul and were now up against it in the battle to secure some reward from the game. Five minutes later in the 88th minute, Tim Deasy pulled off a miraculous double save to deny first Samuel Walker; finger-tipping his cross-cum shot onto the cross-bar - and then beat away a pile-driver follow-up effort by Ryan Brooke from short range. The referee added on 6 minutes of stoppage time , with Vics' hanging on grimly but defending for their lives to see out the game under huge pressure and securing a well earned point.
Pictured - Vics' goalkeeper Tim Deasy dives across to beat away Curzon skipper' Samuel Walker's free-kick mid-way through the first half. Pic courtesy of Mike Smith.
Vics' M.O.M - Ryan Schofield - Excelled out of position at left-back and impressed even further when moved into the injured Cal Henry's centre-back slot. Shackled the dangerous strike pair of Ryan Brooke and Niall Cummins.
Vics' skipper Dan Wisdom spoke after the game - '' That was hard work! We were under the cosh at times against the best team in the division as you would expect coming here - but i feel we were full value for a point tonight - we worked so hard, even more so after Jordan's dismissal. We pride ourselves at the moment on our defending, thats now 6 games unbeaten in league & cup and only two goals conceded in that time too. So, a lot to take out of this performance and results these last few weeks''
Match report by Jamie Dewsbury.
UP NEXT FOR VICS IS THE EVOSTIK NPL DIVISION ONE NORTH FIXTURE AT HOME TO DARLINGTON THIS SATURDAY 15TH MARCH - K.O 15:00.