Match Report

6th March 1999 - Warrington Town 3 - 2 Curzon Ashton

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This was one of those games that managers always go on about on TV, especially the balding ones. Dave Hughes probably has fewer hairs on his head and fewer fingernails now than he has had for quite some time, after the closest and most hard-fought match at Cantilever Park since the equally frustrating game against Darwen. Town however came out on top this time thanks to some great opportunism from the super striker Damien Whitehead, as he bagged his 30th goal of the season.

Paul Berry, who had an outstanding game, got the game off to a flying start with one of many great runs into the Curzon defence. He was felled by a defender outside the box just seconds into the game but the offending player was not even spoken to by the referee. Still, the game during the first few minutes really was end to end stuff, with Curzon winning a corner. No threat became of it, though. The first scare for Town occurred due to a mistake by the Town Keeper. He failed to claim and clear a Curzon through ball giving posession away to the Curzon front men. However the shot was rushed and was dragged well wide of the left-hand post. The battle in midfield was one of crunching tackles and hacked passes. A moment of confusion between two of Town's midfielders saw one run across the other's path. This resulted in an amusing incident when one, in an attempt to clear the ball, booted the other with a vicious volley leaving him poleaxed on the floor. Still, there were enough appeals and green-shirted players around for the referee to award Town a free kick. Town began to step into gear and were defending strongly. Kevin Tyrell was released by a nicely weighted ball from Paul Berry, but he lacked the urgency to make the chance count. Town had had the most of the posession during the first 15 minutes and it had already become clear that Paul Berry was playing a stormer, his runs causing havoc for the Curzon back line.

Town broke the deadlock on around the 20 minute mark. A fantastic ball switched the play from the right hand side on the half way line to the corner on the left. A great piece of control and a well-measured cross from Terry Nestor was flapped at by the Curzon 'keeper and fell at the feet of Kevin Tyrell, unmmarked in the box. He finished calmly to give Town the lead. Seconds later, however, Curzon drew level with a low shot from the edge of the box sneaked in at the far post as Town were getting themselves back together after Tyrell's goal. Still, Town did not give in and continued to defend well, despite Curzon forcing a great diving save from the Town goalie. Curzon pressure was mounting and after a clash of heads one of their players fell down injured. The ref for some reason thought that the player had been fouled by the Town man. A dodgy decision to say the least. The free kick was whipped across into the Town box and some poor defending allowed Curzon to go ahead as the ball skidded under the goalie's body after a Curzon header.

Town equalised about ten minutes before half time. Damo was set free and was on the run towards goal. About three paces into the box he was tripped from behind (though some say he was being dragged back) by the defender trailing him. Either way, it was undoubtably a penalty. Damo himself stepped up and professionally guided his shot low into the bottom left corner.

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Damo calmly puts away the penalty

Curzon were getting annoyed by Town's persistence as their players began to look for excuses to win free kicks, falling all too easily under some fair Town challenges. Their set pieces were causing Town a few problems, but the small surge of which was stemmed by the defence up until half time.

Agonisingly closeThe second half started as a stalemate, and there were no chances of note at all. Damien Whitehead began threatening within about 20 minutes, however and repeatedly came close. It was not looking like Town's day.

Damo's anguish at being unable to convert the chances is evident here as he grimaces after sending a shot just wide.

Town were just begininning to pile on the pressure whenl Kevin Tyrell was fouled from behind as he made a run on goal. Town organised themselves well as they prepared for the free kick. A fantastically weighted ball curled deep over the box picked out Damo on the far side. Seeing 'keeper Paul Phillips off his line, Damo cushioned his header directing the ball up and over his flailing arms to drop the lob perfectly into the goal. A quite stunning goal, and Damo's 30th for the season. His ridiculously high target of 50 goals a season suddenly seems quite feasible for the man on form.

What a goal!!
Damo's header loops over 'keeper Paul Phillips as he tries desperately to keep it out

Curzon were a goal down for the second time in the game, but were not sunk, their closest chance coming from a spectacular bullet drive of some 25 yards which zinged against the Town cross bar, the goalie beaten. The threat was cleared by the Town defence in time to allow them to reorganise themselves. Paul Anderton came the closest for Town in the dying minutes as he curled a great volley just wide of the left-hand post in front of an adoring Bridge End crowd. It was one of those teasing shots which looked as though it was going a long way wide. The 'keeper left it for dead but the ball moved in the air and whistled about a foot wide. The final whistle blew just minutes later, and Cantilever Park errupted.

Ando's curler
Ando has a dig, curling the ball just wide after coming on as a substitute

Alan Hansen says: That Damiyeen Wheetheed is a proolific striiker, I mean eh? Wha' cannae saae? If hee doesnae finish the seesoon aas thi' top scoooreer I tell yeh, it'll be a traavesty. But what aboot tha' defeeance? I reeally needs to bee a tightined oop. Aye, it's a good joab tha the awaay gools rool oonly coonts aafter extra tiyme, eh? I mean the reeally shoold be a dooin bee'er than thaa, especially after last week's perfoarmance.