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Telford 0 Curzon Ashton 3 - Report and pictures

By Joe Edwards | AFC Telford United | Published:

AFC Telford United remain second from bottom in National League North after a disastrous 3-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Curzon Ashton.

In front of the joint-lowest league attendance at the New Bucks Head this season, the Bucks lacked a killer instinct.

Curzon were quite the opposite, in front of the crowd of 747, as Ben McKenna and Niall Cummins netted either side of Jake Dunwoody's screamer.

Rounding off an awful night for the Bucks, Amari Morgan-Smith smacked the bar from a penalty late on.

This was a huge win for the Nash, after seven games without one, while Rob Edwards' side are two points from safety.

Unsurprisingly, the Telford starting line-up was the same as the one for the 3-0 win against rock-bottom North Ferriby United on Saturday.

There was a place on the bench for John McAtee after joining the Bucks on loan from Shrewsbury Town until the end of the season.

The 18-year-old forward was in the squad instead of Max Leonard, who would have been disappointed to miss out against his former club. Elliot Newby and Jon Royle were absent due to hamstring and quad injuries respectively.

Both Telford and Curzon like to play attractive football - short, sharp passes. There was an obstacle in front of them, though, in the form of the New Bucks Head pitch.

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It was very boggy and bobbly. In fairness, the Bucks managed to put together some nice passages of play against North Ferriby - and a decent move almost put them in front in this clash with the Nash, a few minutes in.

Marcus Dinanga was slipped through one-on-one but, off balance, his toe-poked effort was saved by Curzon goalkeeper Cameron Mason.

The hosts were enjoying the majority of possession, but their final passes lacked quality. And their first spell on the back foot saw them go behind.

Ross White and Jordan Lussey both failed to make a clearance and McKenna punished them, working a yard of space and drilling the ball in off the far post from the edge of the 18-yard area.

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It was the first goal conceded for Telford by Ben Wilson, making his second appearance between the sticks for the club after signing on loan from Cardiff City.

The Bucks went close to immediate response as White's close-range strike was blocked.

Morgan-Smith - who scored a penalty on his debut on Saturday - went close on two occasions too. The first shot was saved by Mason's feet and the second, an overhead kick, sailed a few yards wide.

Ellis Deeney took several corners before the break, but the Nash cleared their lines well.

Given their respective league positions, you would have been forgiven for expecting a tentative, dull first half.

Both sides were moving the ball around pretty nicely, though, with Curzon the ones who had a cutting edge.

Telford emerged, with no changes made, a few minutes early for the second half, desperate to get back on level terms. The Nash also decided not to make a substitution.

It was all a bit frantic a few minutes after the restart. The Bucks were pressing at high speed and eager to break forward quickly - but, again, they were being a little wasteful.

They won a free-kick in a good area in the 53rd minute, but Anthony Dwyer's attempt hit the wall.

Curzon continued to have less of the ball, but still troubled the home side. Left-back Matthew Regan had a go following a corner, slicing over the bar.

Telford did not heed that warning and, just after the hour mark, the visitors doubled their advantage - in stunning fashion. Dunwoody picked the ball up 30 yards out and smacked it into the top corner. You do not save those.

Some may say the Bucks could not have done anything about the goal, while others will question why nobody was within 10 yards of Dunwoody.

That second goal prompted Telford into making a double change as Anthony Dwyer and Lussey made way for Jordan Murphy and McAtee.

Salop loanee McAtee is an attacker by trade but was brought on in a deep-lying midfield role.

It went from bad to disastrous for the hosts as Cummins made it 3-0. The ball deflected into the path of Cummins, unmarked, for him to slide it into the net as the Bucks defence switched off.

On this evidence, it is hard to comprehend how the Nash have struggled so much this campaign. They came up with some intricate patterns of play and, crucially, were clinical.

Credit to McAtee, who was given a baptism of fire, for getting stuck in and not being afraid to get on the ball on a tough pitch. Unlike most of the Telford players, he was able to come out of this match holding his head high.

The Bucks were awarded a penalty in added-on time, but Morgan-Smith was unable to grab a consolation goal.

Teams

Telford (4-3-3): B Wilson; White, Sutton (c), Johnson, R Wilson; Deeney, Lussey (McAtee, 64), Marsden; Dwyer (Murphy, 64), Morgan-Smith, Dinanga

Subs not used: Leak, Cowans, Singh (gk)

Curzon (4-3-3): Mason; Baillie, Hunt (c), Shaw, Regan; Dunwoody, Rowney, Walker (Clark, 84); McKenna, Cummins (Wharton, 80), Dwyer (Thornley, 64 )

Subs not used: McKenzie, Baker

Attendance: 747

Referee: Sam Mulhall (Cheshire)

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Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Trainee Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Sports reporter for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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