Altrincham’s search for an elusive first home win of the season showed few signs of ending at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday as they slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Curzon Ashton.
Hit by injuries, illness (Andy White) and suspension (Jordan Hulme), Alty were forced to make several changes, with Shaun Densmore switching to left-back and Tom Peers coming in for Hulme up front.
Though there was little between the teams in a lively, open first half, Alty could have no complaints about going in a goal behind after failing to trouble Curzon keeper Cameron Mason.
Elliot Wynne, on the other hand, was tested a couple of times and responded with two fine diving saves and a brave block, dashing from his line and fearlessly plunging at the feet of an onrushing Curzon attacker to smother the danger.
The Alty keeper showed similar disregard for his physical wellbeing in an almost identical incident against Guiseley, and again he needed treatment before being able to continue.
Wynne’s handling was also impressive, but he could do little about either Curzon goal, even though he came agonisingly close to a wondrous save when the visitors went ahead in the 42nd minute.
Alex Samizadeh, a livewire attacking midfielder who constantly caused Alty problems, created an opening that Connor Hughes finished off with a fierce right-foot volley from close range. Showing razor-sharp reflexes, Wynne somehow got a hand to it but couldn’t stop it flashing into the roof of the net.
Alty boss Phil Parkinson made a change at half-time, sending on Liam Goulding for Densmore, and his side responded with their best spell of the game early in the second half, forcing a series of corners and at last threatening the Nash goal.
Max Harrop looked in the mood to provide the creative spark Alty had been looking for, particularly with one eye-catching piece of skill on the right of the area and shot that was smothered by Mason at the near post, and Josh Hancock went even closer to an equaliser after cutting in from the left.
Despite a defender tracking him very step of the way, Hancock still found space for a low shot that looked bound for the far corner, until Mason palmed it round the post at full stretch.
The promise of an enterprising start to the half proved shotlived, however, as Curzon took the wind out of Alty’s sails with a stunning second goal in the 58th minute.
Ollie Crankshaw, not far behind Samizadeh as Curzon’s most menacing attacker after some forceful runs down the right, for once ventured infield before curling an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top far corner of Wynne’s net.
There was no way back for Alty after that – though skipper Jake Moult’s strength and persistence opened up a shooting chance he sliced wide – and by the time John Johnston clipped the bar with a deep, curling free-kick from wide on the left, the game was up.
It was virtually the last kick, and Alty’s players looked forlorn as they trooped off seconds later, their fifth attempt to secure three points on home soil proving fruitless and ending in frustration.