STOCKPORT County and Curzon Ashton played out a dull 0-0 draw at Edgeley Park on the final day of the Vanarama National League North season.

In a game that typified the saying ‘end of season affair’, chances were few and far between with the visitors looking much more likely to claim all three points.

On-loan Manchester United goalkeeper and the sponsors man of the match Dean Henderson came to County’s rescue numerous times in the second half to deny Matthew Warburton twice and Jonathan Hunt.

County, who will view the season as another of disappointment, finish ninth. Whilst Curzon, in their first season at this level, finish 11th.

John Flanagan’s visitors started brightly and forced an early save out of Henderson – who threw numerous pairs of boots into the crowd at full-time as he returns to Old Trafford.

The game was scrappy from the outset in truth, as both seemed ready to put their feet up and enjoy a week in the sun.

However it was the visitors, who will be delighted with a top-half finish after back to back promotions to the sixth tier, who kept creating the clearest openings.

A long ball over the top of the County defence found Ryan Brooke, who cleverly flicked inside for the onrushing Niall Cummins. The Nash’s joint top-goalscorer, however, could only drag his effort wide under pressure from a County defender.

County, as perhaps could be expected, looked bright when John Marsden was involved as he just cleared the bar with a half-volley after a clever knock down from Kayode Odejayi.

As the half drew to a close Henderson flapped at a left-wing cross which resulted in Chris Rowmey testing the 19-year-old loanee before Brooke smashed the loose ball into the side-netting.

The hosts, who won the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday against Tranmere, started the second half brightly as Marsden again looked to extend his lead at the top of the club’s goalscoring charts.

However their positivity was short lived as Curzon continued to battle for control of the game.

Matthew Warburton, who was locked alongside Cummins on 14 goals for the season, was released over the top but was denied smartly by Henderson’s feet.

He then saw an effort whistle over the bar, before cutting in and forcing Henderson, who looked a cut above throughout, to push out a curling effort.

The game then entered another lull as a raft of changes from both sides resulted in a disjointed effort. However, it was once again Curzon who came closest as Henderson smothered a Jonathan Hunt effort in the dying embers of the game before he raced out of his area to deny Joe Guest.

County, who have picked up 26 points from 48 available since Jim Gannon returned, will be disappointed that a promotion target has once again failed to be delivered.

Curzon will be delighted to have secured a second season in tier six and will start looking forward to next season where there will be six clubs representing the north west in the Vanarama National League North after Salford City’s promotion and Altrincham’s relegation to tier six.


Stockport County: Henderson, Connolly (Rule ’53), O’Hanlon (c), Smalley, Roberts, Morton, Wilson (Menagh ’64), Ellison, Garvin (Etches ’80), Marsden, Odejayi.
Subs not used: Ormson, Anuruo.
Booked: Connolly.

Curzon Ashton: Burton (c), Rowmey, Guest, Hunt, Flynn, Shaw (Norton ’53), Tomsett, Hampson, Cummins (Cockerlime ’79), Brooke (Hughes ’86), Warbuton.
Subs not used: Mason, Wodford, Hughes.
Booked: Guest.

Referee: Richard Wild
Assistants: Tom Wild & Ian Hurdle

Attendance: 3876

By Callum Matthews at Edgeley Park

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