Curzon Ashton clinch promotion to English football’s sixth level

At a rain lashed Tameside Stadium, Curzon Ashton gained promotion to the National League North division. In front of a bumper crowd, their NPL play-off final fixture saw the Nash beat Ilkeston F.C by one goal to nil.

An 18th minute goal from Simon Woodford separated the two sides in a game which saw Curzon dominate most of the first half. During the second half, the Robins from Derbyshire pushed up with most of their efforts eluded by the Curzon defence.

In the last fifteen minutes, the game became increasingly nervy as the Robins tried to take it to extra time. They appeared to have the upper hand with the Nash down to ten men during five minutes of stoppage time.

In the end, Curzon Ashton emerged as victors with fans celebrating their success by taking to the pitch. Moments on, they lifted the glass vase in front of the main stand and history was made.

1,212 fans made the journey to Tameside Stadium with a sizeable number of – possibly some 350 – Ilkeston F.C. fans making the trip. The 2015 – 16 season will see three local derbies for Curzon Ashton. As well as NPL champions F.C. United of Manchester, their other opponents will include Stalybridge Celtic and Stockport County.

Only ten years ago, the Hatters were playing in English football’s second division, whereas Curzon Ashton plied their trade in the North West Counties League. Stalybridge Celtic have been in the Conference North – now the National League North – since its inception in 2004.

Curzon Ashton will be the fifth Tameside club to have played in what is now English football’s sixth division. Boxing Day could see the Nash entertain Stalybridge Celtic at Tameside Stadium.

S.V., 02 May 2015.

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