NATIONAL League North stragglers Curzon Ashton increased the gap between themselves and the relegation places with a hard-fought draw against promotion-chasing Chorley at Tameside Stadium last night.

Going into the game just one place above relegation, Curzon fell behind inside the first ten minutes when Jason Walker clinically converted from the spot after being brought down in front of goal.

In their third game in seven days Curzon equalised against the run of play in first half stoppage time when James Baillie picked up the ball on the right wing, ran into space and slotted past Sam Ashton.

The start of the second half failed to replicate the rhythm and fluidity of the first with both defensive lines proving equal to any promising attacks.

A tight second half exploded into life in the last ten minutes, as firstly Curzon Ashton’s Connor Hampson drove narrowly wide before Chorley themselves had a curling effort deflected past the post.

The Magpies thought they had snatched a late winner from the resulting corner when Marcus Carver headed against the underside of the bar, but officials ruled that the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

Curzon remain in 19th place in the table, now seven points clear of Altrincham who play tonight, whilst Chorley cut the gap to first place AFC Fylde to seven points.

The Nash host Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday in their last league game before their FA Cup first round tie against ninth tier Westfields.

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