FA TROPHY HOLDERS 2015 & NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH PLAY-OFF CHAMPIONS 2016

Ashton United 0 NFU 2 (Evo Prem)

Ashton United 0-2 North Ferriby United

North Ferriby now sit seven points clear atop the Evo-Stik League Premier Division after showing steely resolve to take three points away from second-placed Ashton United, which also saw the Villagers seal a 100% record for November.

In a contest that pitted two teams known for playing a crisp, passing game and attacking at pace, it was Ferriby who had the first chance of opening the scoring, when Anthony Wilson's flick sent strike partner Ryan Kendall through on goal, but Ashton keeper Paul Phillips blocked the top scorer's shot at close quarters.

However, the danger was not cleared by the home defence, and another Wilson flick-on forced Phillips into another close-range stop from Liam King.

It would be King and Kendall who would combine to put Billy Heath's men ahead, the latter latching onto the former's long ball, and this time making no mistake one-on-one with Phillips, lifting the ball over the grounded custodian and across the line.

This shocked the home side into life, and they soon began to show the attacking fire that has lifted them to their lofty position in the table.

A looping through ball from Matty Burke picked out Scott Hogan wide right, and the winger burst in the box and took aim but Adam Nicklin in the Ferriby goal was able to push his effort away.

Tom Baker then came close to levelling the scores in none-more-spectacular fashion when his stinging 30-yard volley flashed just wide of Nicklin's far post.

Ashton began the second half with the same attacking hunger they had ended the first, prompting Heath to introduce Russell Fry in place of Wilson, hoping to pack out the middle of the park. And while Ashton had the majority of possession, they got little change out of the Ferriby midfield or backline.

Thomas Moore ran onto Burke's lay-off and let fly soon after the interval, but Gregg Anderson slid expertly onto the shot to divert it out for a corner, from which Moore headed narrowly wide.

The head of Moore nearly restored parity again soon afterwards, but Nicklin was equal to the former Marine man's effort from Stephen Johnson's cross.

Ashton aimed to turn up the heat on their visitors with a triple substitution as the game entered its final ten minutes, and one of the three fresh men, Astley Mulholland, sent a snapshot narrowly wide of the far post shortly after his induction.

However, having weathered heavy Ashton pressure admirably, it would be Ferriby who had the last word in the tie. With a minute of normal time to play, Danny Clarke swept the ball inside to King in the box, and the midfielder floated a textbook lob over the stranded Phillips and into the bottom corner, another late strike to add to his dramatic stoppage time winner at Chorley the previous week.

Ferriby face another stern test of their championship credentials when they welcome Hednesford Town, presently fourth but with three games in hand on those above them, to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium next Saturday.

Man of the Match: Liam King (Ferriby)

Attendance: 176

Ferriby: Adam Nicklin, Dean Lisles, Nathan Peat, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Steve Ridley, Danny Clarke, Chris Bolder (c), Anthony Wilson (Russell Fry, 56), Ryan Kendall (Jack Muldoon, 90), Ben Hunter (Ryan Williams, 74) Subs not used: Mark Gray, Antoni Pecora

Ashton: Paul Phillips, Kyle Harrop, Danny Caldecott, Matty Burke, Craig Robinson, Chris Lynch (c), Scott Hogan (Matty Barlow, 80), Tom Baker, Aaron Burns, Thomas Moore (Matty Kosylo, 80), Stephen Johnson (Astley Mulholland, 80) Subs not used: Warren Beattie, Chris Baguley

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