AFC Telford United v North Ferriby United
National League North
Saturday 10 February 2018
Ferriby make the long trip to Telford on Saturday for a National League North fixture. The Villagers lost the reverse fixture 0-2 at The Eon Visual Media Stadium in October. Of the Ferriby side that played that day, only Ross Durrant, Bobby Johnson and Jordan Cooke will be in Chris Bolder’s squad on Saturday.
For some of Ferriby’s players it will probably be the longest trip they have made to play a game. Each player has his own way of dealing with the three to four hours that trip like this take each way. Some read, some play cards, some sleep and others plug themselves in to their music. Whatever they do as individuals, there is usually a strong sense of camaraderie.
Telford are just one place above The Villagers in the relegation battle but they will still be hoping that they can escape from the bottom three, especially as they have games in hand. At the moment they are in a spell that has seen them win just one game in 11. A win for them will be an important result.
Telford have won three, drawn two and lost seven of their home league games. They have scored 17 goals and conceded 28 in those matches.
Ferriby will be looking for a win even though it will be probably for no more than pride given their situation at the foot of the table. The Villagers have played well in their last two games, drawing both. Given Telford’s current run of results and the fact that Ferriby are beginning to perform better, Chris Bolder’s team will fancy their chances of at least a third consecutive draw.
Last Saturday’s game with Leamington saw Ferriby look like a team for probably the first time this season. From Ross Durrant in goal to Brett Agnew up-front each area of the team did its job and linked well with the others. There was much more confidence and cohesion in the performance. Chris Bolder’s message is obviously getting through to the players.
Clearly, the side is not the finished product. Most of the players are still learning the game at this level. Players generally need to be faster both on their feet and in their thinking and for some of Bolder’s squad it is a sharp learning experience. It is to the players’ credit that they are now responding positively. If the squad develops and improves, it bodes well for next season.
The draw was obviously a good result but as Bolder said,
“We’re celebrating gaining a point but also thinking that we could probably have won the game. People think we should have won against a side playing with 10 men for the whole of the second-half but it is not that easy. They lost a striker so still had their midfield and defensive line up. That requires less of change in their plans. They played a high line and we didn’t really play with enough awareness to beat it. We did have chances to score the winner but we’ll take the point.
“One pleasing factor was that we didn’t concede a goal from a set piece. This is something that we’re continually working on. We looked solid at the back against a side that, especially in the first-half, was good going forward.”
Bolder is right to highlight this as most of the goals conceded by Ferriby this season have come from set-pieces. Managers know that their team will concede goals from set-piece during a season but the plan is always to keep that figure as low as possible. If the defence is set-up correctly and each player does his job then life ought to be difficult for the opposition. On Saturday, Leamington only came close to a goal from a set-piece on one occasion.
Bolder will be hoping for a similar performance on Saturday. There will probably be a similar sized crowd to the one at Chorley so that in itself should not present a problem to The Villagers.
“We have to go in to the game with a degree of confidence. The players are responding well and they now know that they can get something from games. Telford may well be anxious given their position. For us, our position, perhaps, means that we can play with a little more freedom. To some extent the pressure is off but we will not be giving up. We owe it to our fans to keep playing well and improving.”
Paul Robson is available again after his one match suspension so Bolder should have his full squad to choose from with the possible exception of Alex Davidson who is recovering from a hip injury
Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant, Lewis Exall, Paul Robson, Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Kojo Kyei, Jordon Cooke, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Adam Bolder, Luke Lofts, George Harrison, Sam Ansu, Carl Stewart, Jorome Slew, Jamie Forrester, Brett Agnew,