Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan says that his ambition is to secure yet another promotion with the Manchester club – this time up to the National League.

Flanagan is in his fifth season with the National League North side, leading the Nash up twice within that period. He has also steered the club to numerous near-misses: a runners-up finish, a play-off final and two cup finals.

Curzon’s most successful manager said. “Our initial hope was to get better than last year, and if we got that – by a point goal difference or whatever – we’d be happy. We’re not a big player in this division. Decent teams with much bigger budgets than ours – such as Altrincham or Stalybridge – are presently below us in the league.”

“With the squad that we have, we’re doing okay, but not brilliantly. My personal target is promotion next year– it’s got to be. We have to succeed, not just join in. We have to be good at what we do and we have got to look closer at what we do. I even look at myself closely as a manager. I look at my own decision-making, my team section, and squad selection.”

Following the 13th-place-side’s loss to already relegated Altrincham last Friday, he admitted that the players lacked some of the motivation needed to see out a draw or grab the victory.

After Curzon’s initial goal, the Robins came from behind as they were issued two penalties in controversial decisions. Captain Jake Moult buried both of them in carbon-copy fashion.

Curzon levelled the scoring after in another disputable call – keeper Tim Deasy had the ball in his grasp after saving a header, yet the linesman called the ball to over the line.

Visitors Altrincham then went on to capitalise in the dying seconds via Simon Richman, seeing the game out in a five-goal thriller at the Tameside Stadium.

“[I’m] not saying that weren’t trying at all, as we generally never throw the towel in. We just weren’t really at, and subsequently Altrincham dominated the first half. We were constantly playing into people and playing the ball backwards.

We didn’t play forward quickly enough. I spoke to the referee on the pitch briefly at the end of the game about the penalty decisions. But, ultimately, I think the result was right, I know we got back into the game, but Altrincham probably the deserved the win in the end.”

Article: Jacque Talbot @jac_talbot

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