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Telford 3 Curzon Ashton 1 - Report and pictures

By Jonny Drury | AFC Telford United | Published:

There is no doubt AFC Telford United deserve their shot at promotion this season and their comprehensive win over Curzon Ashton showed just that.

We're now into the business end of the season and every point is precious.

Steph Morley must have had that ringing in his ears, as he fired in two in two first half minutes to put the Bucks on the edge of another home success.

And when Andre Brown rifled home early in the second period the Bucks fans could breath easy knowing they have taken another small step towards the play offs.

When wins have mattered this season Telford have got them, and they are now on the brink of that final play off spot.

It can't be argued that Telford don't deserve to have their shot at getting back to the non-league big time, after holding their position for much of the campaign.

A win at Hereford on Easter Saturday and results going their way will all but secure it.

The ball, as it has been for months, is in their court.

The question now is whether they can hold serve, and on this performance they certainly can.

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The stand out line from the team news was that Daniel Udoh, the almost ever present top scorer was dropped to the bench.

But to calm any worrying Bucks fans it was part of Gavin Cowan's rotation to keep his players fresh for the run in.

His absence paved the way for Brown to claim a starting spot, fresh off the back of his late equaliser on Tuesday evening.

Ellis Deeney's controversial red card was not over turned, so he served the first of a three match ban as Jon Royle replaced him.

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And Marcus Dinanga, who has found goals and starts hard to come by since his marquee return in January was given a chance to impress in place of Amari Morgan-Smith.

Curzon were woefully out of form with two wins in nine, but in the four years the two sides had competed in the same division Telford had won just once.

The game began in a scrappy manner with Curzon enjoying the early play.

Former two time loanee John McAtee was snuffed out by Royle, before Luke Wall swept an effort straight into the hands of Josef Bursik.

The Bucks had threatened with numerous corners and set plays against Altrincham on Tuesday, but to no avail.

It was clear that it was something Cowan had worked on, and against Curzon, who were small in stature at the back it would be a key piece of their attacking ammunition.

Shane Sutton got free and headed wide in the first ten minutes with James McQuilkin ballooning a difficult knock down over the bar.

For Telford Ryan Barnett was once again the threat and the out ball.

Beating a man he is among the best in the division but at times his end product has left a bit to be desired.

But when he had the first chance to cross in this one, he produced a beauty that almost led to the opener.

After taking a clattering early on from Cameron McJanett that somehow didn't merit a yellow card, he picked himself up and went about getting the better of the feisty full back.

He had already threatened twice, when on 21 minutes he dropped a step over and crossed for the unmarked Dinanga, who found space in the box but could only direct a header straight at keeper Cameron Mason.

After building up some pressure the Bucks went into a comfortable two goal lead and both efforts came from a unlikely source.

Brown won a free kick on the edge of the box, and like he has done before Morley stepped up to wrap an effort over the wall and into the net.

Then two minutes later Barnett produced another pulled back cross that rolled past everyone, but the full back came steaming in and on his wrong right foot he found the bottom corner.

Morley was taken off in the Leyton Orient cup game through injury and missed arguably the biggest game of the season in the home leg.

That was despite being one of the top performers this season, so the Bucks fans were delighted as they chanted the full back's name after his important first half contribution following a spell on the sidelines.

Telford now had full control and were keeping Curzon at arms length, who apart from a low free kick from Oliver Crankshaw didn't threaten again in the first period.

Despite the two goal advantage Cowan's charges didn't mess around going for a third to kill off the game.

Barnett's quick feet bamboozled the full back twice and his two fierce crosses threatened, before four minutes into the half Brown shifted the ball to his right and dipping an effort past the helpless Mason.

It was cruise control now for the Bucks who had to stave off the odd bit of pressure from Curzon, as McAtee had an overhead kick blocked.

Brown spurned a golden header from six yards on Tuesday to win it, and he missed another here.

Barnett turned the full back inside out again and stood up a cross for the striker, who could only head over from six yards but like Tuesday it wasn't going to cost two points.

McQuilkin almost fired in a spectacular half volley 20 minutes from time, as the Bucks cantered towards another home victory.

But it wasn't going to be that straightforward as a Curzon goal came from nothing.

The ref judged that Sutton had pushed Adam Morgan in the box, and pointed to the spot with Crankshaw sending the keeper the wrong way.

There was to be no late rally from Curzon as they game petered out from that point on.

But the damage had already been done as Telford strolled towards a result that makes it five unbeaten.

A great run at such a crucial stage of the season.

KEY MOMENTS

21 - BIG CHANCE - Barnett with the step over and he fires in a deflected cross that found the unmarked Dinanga. It was a free header for the striker, but unfortunately it was straight at the keeper.

28 - GOOOAAALLL - Brown is taken down on the edge of the box, and up steps Morley. Not for the first time this season he floats it over the wall and into the top corner.

30 - HE'S DONE IT AGAIN - Not a free kick but another Morley goal. Barnett gets to the byline and cuts a low cross back, it evades everyone but Morley comes in from nowhere. With his wrong foot he fires it into the bottom corner. Bucks comfortable.

33 - RED CARD? - Rowney goes in very late on McQuilkin, prompting an angered response from the Bucks players who surround the Curzon player. Escapes with just a yellow.

49 - AND IT IS THREE - After Barnett threatens, Brown picks it up and shifts it to his right before his dipping effort beats the keeper all ends up.

63 - SHOULD BE FOUR - Barnett does it again. Turns the full back inside out and hangs up a cross for Brown. But like Tuesday evening he can only head over the bar.

70 - CHANCE - The ball falls to McQuilkin 18 yards out who meets the half volley and his effort curls just wide.

75 - GOAL - Curzon get one back. The ref judges that Sutton has pushed Morgan in the box, and Crankshaw steps up to send Bursik the wrong way.

AFC Telford United (3-5-2) - Bursik, White, Sutton, Streete, Barnett (Dawson 72), McQuilkin, Royle, Morley, Knights, Brown (Ellis 90), Dinanga (Morgan-Smith 62)

Subs not used - Smith, Udoh

Curzon Ashton () - Mason, Senior, McJannet, Hunt, Thornley, Rowney, Crankshaw, Brooke, McAtee (Khoury 84), Wardle (Deakun 65), Wall (Morgan 59)

Subs not used - Shaw, Khoury, Merrill

Referee - Richard Aspinall

Attendance - 1,507

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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