Curzon Ashton hit new heights under player-manager Craig Mahon

Curzon Ashton have entered a purple patch under player-manager Craig Mahon this season – eyeing up promotion to the fifth tier of English football, for the first time in their history.

The Nash have endured a 9-year stretch residing in the lower half of the Vanarama National League North since their promotion in 2015, with their previous best season ending with an 11th-placed finish.

However, under the stewardship of Craig Mahon, they now sit in 8th position, hoping at an outside run at promotion through the play-offs.

They’re exceeding the bookies expectations – William Hill had predicted a 15th place finish for the Ashton-under-Lyne-based side.

Oliver Newall, the club’s stadium announcer, said: ”We are doing fantastically this season. To be a club that is regularly backed to go down and to defy the odds is amazing. To be actively challenging for a play-off spot this year is even better. The club is fully united from player to staff to the fans and board.”

Mahon, a former Irish youth international winger, became the side’s manager on an interim basis after Adam Lakeland left the club in September of last year to take the helm at King’s Lynn Town.

Mahon was rewarded for his team’s outstanding run with a two year contract as manager until June 2025.

”Mahon has stepped up this season,” said Newall. ”He was already an unbelievable player but he has shown that he can take on a challenge like this in his stride and it’s been great to be able to extend his contract and give that recognition. Long may it continue!”

Ben Sinclair, who runs the club’s fan page on X, said: ”What Craig Mahon has done since taking over is nothing short of brilliant.

”We’ve been playing brilliantly throughout the season. We did hit a poor run of form before Saturday’s win against Hereford, but at no point did we ever give up. I think that’s a credit to Mahon and the mentality that he’s instilled within the squad we have.

”Being a Curzon fan at the minute is brilliant. We’re just enjoying the- period that we’re going through. I donโ€™t think anyone would’ve predicted us to be in this position with 9 games to go. I just hope we can get over the line and secure a play-off spot in the final weeks of the season.”

With nine games remaining of the regular season, the Nash are facing a tricky run-in, including fixtures against play-off rivals Chester and Alfreton Town.

The first of these, against Chester on Saturday, sees Mahon return to the club where he spent seven years as a player.

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