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Kendal Town 0-3 Curzon Ashton
NIALL Cummins scored twice as champions-elect Curzon Ashton continued their march towards the league title with a comprehensive victory over Kendal.
Former Burscough striker Cummins was joined on the scoresheet by Ryan Brooke as John Flanagan's side moved a step closer to rubber-stamping automatic promotion.
Dave Foster gave a debut to his new recruits from AFC Fylde, Ricardo Egidi replaced Maison McGeechan who looks set to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, Aaron Fleming - who played for Clitheroe at Parkside Road back in October - slotted in behind the front two after taking the place of John Ross who had a side problem.
There were very few clear-cut chances in a lacklustre opening, Jordan Wright firing tamely at Kendal keeper Danny MacDonald while Fleming blazed over at the other end.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, Mitchley played in Egidi who momentarily escaped the attentions of the Curzon defence only for former Liverpool stopper Hakan Burton to scoop the ball clear.
Moments later, Cummins glanced a Matt Warburton corner into the path of Brooke who saw his cheeky flicked effort turned behind by MacDonald.
The following set- saw MacDonald's punched clearance fall to Curzon skipper Sam Walker on the edge of the box with his right-footed drive striking the top of the crossbar.
The visitors now in the ascendancy and Walker's corner from the right was headed into the path of Simon Woodford only for the full-back to hook the ball over from inside the six-yard box.
Curzon took the lead of 43 minutes as Cummins showed strength to out-muscle and turn the Kendal defence before firing into the corner of the net past MacDonald.
The start of the second period followed the pattern of the first with very few goalscoring opportunities until the away side doubled their lead on 61 minutes.
MacDonald initally made double save to deny the Tamesiders, parrying Brooke's shot from outside the area before turning behind Warburton's rebound.
From Walker's resulting corner, Brooke's goal-bound header was kept out by MacDonald with Cummins on hand to force the ball home on the goal-line.
And moments later Curzon sealed the points, Brooke flashing a left-footed effort across MacDonald for his 14th strike of the campaign after taking the ball in his stride following a defensive lapse.
Having conceded only 28 goals, Curzon boast the meanest defence in the league and managed to see out time without alarm.
Warburton - with 23 goals to his name this season - had an effort deflected into the path of Wright who failed to hit the target.
And with nine minutes remaining, substitute Mark Bett's drilled shot from range narrowly missed the upright after Wright dispossessed Jack Smith in midfield.
In the end Curzon ran out comfortable winners as they finally look set to shake the tag of promotion 'bridesmaids', most recently missing out in the 2012 play-off final to Witton Albion.
The Tamesiders are now a commanding 11 points clear at the division's summit with seven games remaining but hold two games in hand on nearest rivals Darlington 1883 and Warrington Town.
As for Kendal, the Mintcakes are firmly entrenched in mid-table and face play-off chasing Ramsbottom United at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
Kendal Town: Danny MacDonald, Aaron Fleming (Thomas Houghton 68), Callum Hoctor (Gary Basterfield 78), Warren Beattie (c), Ricky Mercer, Jack Smith, Rob Wilson, Colin Watson, Danny Mitchley, Ricardo Egidi (Oli Mathieson 82), Craig Carney. Subs not used: Michael Stringfellow
Curzon Ashton: Hakan Burton, Simon Woodford, Connor Hampson (Simon Lakeland 60), Jonathan Hunt, Andrew Watson, Chris Young, Jordan Wright, Sam Walker (c), Niall Cummins (Mark Bett 78), Matt Warburton (Luke Horrocks 73), Ryan Brooke. Subs not used: Chris McDonagh, Ryan Watson
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