We’re going to come back to ‘Q’, so the next in our A to Z series is ‘R’ for…
When fixtures come out there is always a lot of excitement and anticipation, but without doubt one of the most common things that supporters look for first is when they play their main rivals.
The intensity of a rivalry can vary from a friendly natured rivalry between two clubs in close proximity who play each other regularly for local bragging rights, and there are more ferocious rivalries which usually develop following specific events or personnel.
Thankfully due to the warm nature of non-league we have experienced more of the friendly type of rivalries, and here is a reflection of some teams we have considered as rivals in years gone by…
We have a long history with The Nash that stretches back from the North West Counties to the National League North, and includes meetings in various cup competitions.
In total we have clocked up 66 matches against Curzon, who have won 29 to our 23 while there have been 14 draws. The Tameside club also lead on goals scored having bagged 105 to our 85 (thank you to Ian Seymour for his help with the previous meetings data).
However recently we have had the better of the results, winning three and drawing one of our four National League meetings across 2016-17 and 2017-18, and we also came from behind to win 2-1 in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round during our 2015-16 run. In 2018-19, The Nash won 2-0 at The Peninsula Stadium in the Manchester Premier Cup, which is our last meeting.
While our upward trajectory has continued, Curzon have remained stable as a solid National League North side and if the league is decided on PPG they will finish 20th having been 18th when the season was suspended. A visit to the Tameside Stadium isn’t out of the question though as The Nash play their midweek home games on a Monday night, and often you will see some familiar faces from Salford on the terraces.
This season also saw a new string to this fixture as the Lionesses came up against Curzon Ashton Women in the NWWRFL Division 1 South. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic cut short an exciting title race between us but whenever next season may be it promises to pick up where we left off.
Perhaps a rivalry that falls more into the ‘competitive’ type, we first came up against the reformed Quakers side as they rose through the leagues in 2013-14 when they saw us off 2-0 at Moor Lane, although we managed a 2-2 draw away at theirs.
The following season, after the Class of ’92 takeover, Danny Webber’s solitary goal gave us a win at Heritage Park, but it was the visit of Darlington towards the end of January 2015 where this fixture became more of a rivalry when Jonno and Bern had taken the reins. As some context, their Ramsbottom United side had beaten Darlington in the play-offs in the 2013-14 season, and a mis-timed Owen Roberts tackle left one of their players injured while the defender only received a yellow card.
So it was a large number of Darlo fans descended upon Moor Lane and tension was palpable with a few off-field incidents causing concern. That only worsened as a bad-tempered game saw two Darlington players sent off, as well as manager Martin Gray, while Salford won 2-0 thanks to another Webber goal and a late Sam Madeley strike.
Our 15 wins from 17 under Jonno and Bern saw us pip The Quakers to the NPL Division 1 North title, but this time they won the play-offs to join us in the NPL.
It’s fair to say that 2015-16 was Darlo’s as they won the NPL title, and did the double back over us. An Ammie capitulation saw them come from 3-1 down to win 4-3 at Moor Lane before a last minute goal a few weeks later saw them win 3-2 at Heritage Park. Nevertheless our destiny was to join them in the National League North as we won the play-offs to go up.
2016-17 brought more controversy, but this time in the form of off-pitch matters for Darlo. On the field we drew 2-2 at Heritage Park before the undoubted high of winning 5-1 in our final league game of the season to send us into the play-offs in fourth place. However although The Quakers were up there with us they couldn’t take part due to ground grading issues, and so it was we would meet again the next season.
It was probably fate that the fixture list sent them to Moor Lane for the first game of 2017-18, and that they would win as revenge for that hammering. Parity was restored though when Anthony Dudley’s late goal at Blackwell Meadows earned us victory in January 2018, our last meeting. Overall we have played 10, won four each and drawn twice.
The Quakers are still in the National League North, and were 11th when the season was ended.
FC United of Manchester
Born more out of common associations more than anything else, this is a rivalry more in name than nature although we have enjoyed some good memories and suffered some bad moments in a short space of time against FC.
We were reunited in the National League North in 2016-17 after FC’s rapid early rise through the NWCFL, and Mike Phenix’s goal on a glorious August evening gave us a memorable 1-0 win before an inspired George Green debut led to a 3-0 win at Broadhurst Park in January 2017.
The 2017-18 season wasn’t as memorable as FC won two of the three meetings between us, one in the MPC, and we drew the league meeting at The Peninsula Stadium, but we can remember the good times!
A number of players have represented both clubs over the years, including Tom Walker more recently and further back Rhodri Giggs and Karl Marginson, who went on to manage FC for over 12 years.
Like with Curzon, FC have also come up against Salford City Lionesses although in less celebratory circumstances. Their 4-0 win in the Manchester FA Women’s Challenge Cup Final at the end of 2018-19 denied the Lionesses the quadruple in their first season, as well as being their first ever loss as a team.
WATCH IN FULL: FC United of Manchester 0-3 Salford City.