Curzon Ashton suffered a last minute heartbreak at home as league leaders Harrogate won 2-1 on Non-League Day this Saturday.
Town took the lead after 10 minutes when Joe Leesley’s shot deflected past Ashton goalkeeper Cam Mason to make it his 9th goal of the season.
But the Nash hit back when Chris Rowney picked up the ball from a wide drifting Ben Wharton and struck it wonderfully into the top corner in the 25th minute.
The guests from North Yorkshire were leading the possession stats in both halves, but struggled with getting the winner, until three minutes before the end when substitute Mitch Curry found the far corner with a low shot.
Early in the first half the home side were desperately calling for a penalty when captain Joe Guest fell inside the penalty area, but referee Anthony Tankard didn’t think the contact was enough for a foul.
Town then set up a beautiful attack with Leesley at the end of it once again, but this time Danny Shaw manged to block the attempt.
Right before half-time Jordan Thewlis was inches away of sending Town back in the lead after receiving a nice chipped pass from Leesley, but the striker blasted the shot just over the bar.
🎥 INTERVIEW | John Flanagan reacts to today's 2-1 defeat at the hands of league leaders @HarrogateTown.
— Curzon Ashton Live (@CurzonLive) October 7, 2017
After the break, the away side raised the tempo, but despite having the ball a lot, the Nash defended bravely.
Once again, a Harrogate player placed the ball over the bar from close range when Ryan Fallowfield got a precise through pass from Liam Agnew on the right side of the box after good build-up play by Town.
The Nash got their biggest chance of the half when James Baillie picked up a loose ball following a failed clearance from Town goalkeeper Belshaw, but the lobbed shot from 45 yards hit the side netting.
At the end it was Curry’s shot that became the match decider, but not without controversy as the Middlesbrough loanee possibly was offside when the pass from Agnew was sent.
Ashton manager John Flanagan was clearly frustrated after the match, with two of the big decisions in the match going Harrogate’s way:
“The referee, for me, just messed up on big decisions on the day. I know that they’re all my own views and I’m biased, but we certainly thought it was a penalty in the first half, as the ref told me there was contact outside the box.
“But if there was contact outside the box, why wasn’t it a free kick outside the box then, I asked him, and he said he overruled it and that our player went down cheaply. That’s not the case – you heard the contact, and that’s a foul whether you like it or not.
“I don’t think they make dishonest decisions, they’re making wrong ones at times, and so do we, but that’s just one of the factor’s that sums up the game really.”
Flanagan was also disappointed to lose at almost stoppage time, with the goal possibly coming from offside:
“We scored in the 88th minute last week against Darlington to win 1-0, so it just swung the other way this time.
“It looked offside from where I was, but hopefully there’ll be someone with a camera that’s looking along the line, so the linesman and the referee can see whether they’ve made a good or a bad decision. If I’ve got it wrong I apologize, but what we’ll never get is a referee coming back saying ‘I got it wrong’.”
Despite the frustration, the Ashton manager was also really proud of his boys against the leaders of the National League North:
“We ask for every player to give it everything they can, and most of the time we get that, and that’s what allows us to compete.
“I’m always pleased, I can’t complain, but am just disappointed that what appears to be refereeing decisions that cost us today.”
Curzon Ashton’s next match is a trip to second-placed Spennymoor Town this Saturday.