FC UNITED came from behind in Monday night’s derby at CURZON ASHTON to maintain their incredible record at the Tameside Stadium.
The Nash were gifted an 18th-minute opener by veteran keeper Adriano Basso, who was back in the side following an injury to Dave Carnell in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat by FC Halifax. The Brazilian took an unnecessary extra touch on the edge of the box to give in-form striker Matt Warburton a chance to steal the ball and roll it into the empty net.
But FC fought back with another stunning strike from midfielder Nathan Lowe on 70 minutes before Matty Wolfenden scored from close range in the 88th minute to give the Reds a 2-1 victory.
That put FC back within a point of the Nash in mid-table with just 6 games to play in the National League North, but it also kept up their remarkable run at Curzon’s home ground.
Since the Tameside Stadium opened in 2005, FC have played there 25 times and have yet to be beaten in normal time. Their only defeat was on penalties against Curzon in the Doodson Sports Cup in November 2014.
Many of the games have been against the Nash but 12 were when the Reds played home fixtures there for the 2nd half of the 2014/15 season. Two games were Cup finals while another two were away fixtures in FC’s North West Counties days that had to be switched.
The Reds’ first visit was in October 2005, not long after Sir Alex Ferguson had officially opened the ground and a United XI played a friendly with Curzon. The hosts were Cheadle Town in the NWCFL Challenge Cup, as Cheadle’s home ground couldn’t accommodate the expected large crowd, and 2,200 watched FC run out 5-1 winners.
The following season saw FC play there 3 times; against Squires Gate (again switched to accommodate the crowd) and twice against Curzon – in the league and the NWCFL Challenge Cup final, which the Reds won 2-1 in front of a raucous 3,210 crowd. Incidentally, in the Curzon team that day were current FC keeper Carnell and future FC favourites Mike Norton and Dave Birch.
FC’s next visit to play Curzon on December 29, 2007, was somewhat clouded in controversy as the Unibond League agreed to broadcast the match online on pay-per-view and subsequently brought the kick-off forward to 12.45pm. The FC board were keen to stress that the club was not opposed to TV nor the rearrangement of any fixture date/time, provided that it met with the approval of and benefits the respective clubs and their supporters.
FC fans felt the enforced kick-off change was not of benefit and subsequently boycotted the game, choosing to watch their reserves play at Abbey Hey Stadium instead. The Reds’ 1st team won 2-0 in front of just 297 while 493 watched the reserves beat Club AZ 3-1.
FC fans returned to the Tameside Stadium at the end of the 2007/08 season to watch their team beat Radcliffe Borough in the Presidents Cup Final, and the Reds had two friendlies against Curzon before having to play stage an Evo-Stik Premier game there in August 2011, beating Bradford Park Avenue 5-2.
FC visited Curzon twice in the 2014/15 season and, at the turn of the year, the Nash agreed to offer FC a temporary home whilst Broadhurst Park was still being built. The Reds started the season sharing with Stalybridge Celtic but the switch to Curzon proved very effective, with FC winning 9 and drawing 3.
In the last home match of the season, the Reds beat Stourbridge 1-0 in front of a bumper crowd of 3,588 (above) to gain promotion to the National League North, and Curzon would follow FC in gaining promotion through the play-offs with a 1-0 win over Ilkeston at the Tameside Stadium a few weeks later.
In their 1st season in non-league’s 2nd tier, FC (13th) and Curzon (11th) finished just 3 points apart, with both league matches between them ending in draws. They look set for a similar finish this term, with the Nash currently just above FC in 12th place.
Coincidentally, FC face another of their former landlords this Saturday as they welcome relegation-threatened Stalybridge to Broadhurst Park, while Curzon host Gloucester City.
With 6 games left, both the Reds and the Nash can better last season’s points total and they will be keen to improve on their league finish.
And with both pretty much certain of avoiding relegation, FC United and their fans can look forward to another visit to the Tameside Stadium next season, hoping to maintain that marvellous record.