A spirited second-half showing wasn’t enough to make up for
a disjointed and lacklustre first 45 minutes, including a red card for John
McAtee, as the Bucks fell to their third league defeat of the season.
The extra man in a five-man defence made no odds on 4
minutes when Ryan Brooke, a former Buck, opened the scoring; an early corner
for the home side wasn’t dealt with, and Brooke was afforded the freedom of the
penalty area to turn and drive low and across keeper Max Bramley from six yards
Cowan’s side seemed unable to establish any foothold in the
game. Andre Brown, starting in place of the injured Daniel Udoh, was left
isolated up front, and Curzon won a steady stream of corners, going close again
when Bramley saved Adam Morgan’s free-kick.
From a Bucks corner on 34 minutes home keeper Cameron Mason
went down, apparently poleaxed as the players jostled for position. John McAtee
was shown a straight red card, referee John Matthews confirming after the game
that he had swung at elbow at Mason.
Reduced to ten men, the Bucks just about saw out the first
half, with Brooke again going close Bramley saving a header that was arrowing
in at the near post.
HALF TIME: Curzon Ashton 1 AFC Telford United 0
The Bucks reorganised at the break; Zak Lilly was withdrawn
and Cowan added Amari Morgan-Smith to partner Brown. It worked almost straight
away; James McQuilkin was finally able to pull some strings in midfield, and he
saw Mason parry his fierce shot, with Morgan-Smith unable to direct his header
from the rebound.
It was 1-1 just after the hour. Two Curzon midfielders got
in a mess, Ellis Deeney robbed them and the ball moved through Darryl Knights
and Morgan-Smith before Brown was played in to lash the ball high and across
Mason from the right of the box to score.
It looked to be game on, but within five minutes the Bucks
went 2-1 behind; a corner wasn’t held under pressure by Bramley, and Cameron McJannett
poked the ball home past a sprawling Deeney on the line.
Despite having much more possession and keeping the home
side pegged largely in their own half a chance wouldn’t come. The closest the
Bucks came was as the game ticked over into five minutes of injury time; Shane
Sutton headed a free-kick back across goal, with Theo Streete heading agonisingly
wide of the far post.
FULL TIME: Curzon Ashton 2 AFC Telford United 1Curzon Ashton: Mason, Baillie, McJannett, Hunt (c), Shaw,
Rowney, Guest, Crankshaw (Khoury 82), Brooke (Cummins 76), Morgan, Hughes (Ali
Unused substitutes: Fawns, O’Leary.
Scorers: Brooke (4), McJannett (65).
Bookings: Guest, Shaw.