FA Trophy sponsored by Carlsberg
Semi-final First leg
Bath City 2 North Ferriby United 2 Attendance: 1730
Ferriby will go into next week’s semi-final second leg as slight favourites following a tense
2-2 draw at Vanarama Conference South Bath City.
The Villagers will be somewhat disappointed with the result as they led 2-0 and were in control until a game-changing decision by the referee in the 61st minute. A shoulder charge by Mark Gray on Dave Pratt.
Bath had the better of the early exchanges but did not really present a threat despite their territorial advantage. Ferriby gradually came in to the game and were unfortunate when Russ Fry’s free-kick slid narrowly wide.
Goal attempts were at a premium and neither side seriously threatened, Consequently, it was a bit of a surprise when The Villagers took the lead after 25 minutes. Jason St Juste showed wonderful determination to win the ball on left and cut-in. His low cross was turned in by home defender Dan Ball.
Ferriby were playing the better football but did not force home keeper Jason Mellor into a save throughout the half.
Adam Nicklin also had a relatively quiet first-half with little to do than gather high crosses.
The second-half began pretty much like the first in a fairly low key fashion. Ferriby started well-enough with Tom Denton twice heading over from Russ Fry corners. Mellor did well to race out to take the ball off Danny Clarke’s toes.
A second goal was not long delayed. St Juste showed both awareness and determination to win the ball just outside the area and stride on to place th ball past Mellor.
Ferriby were in control at this point Bath didn’t really look like scoring until the penalty decision.
The goal boosted Bath and they pressured Ferriby for the final 30 minutes. Substitute Nick McCootie was a constant threat with his strength and pace. He placed a header to Nicklin and was instrumental in most of Bath’s attacks.
Ferriby were often forced to put all 11 men behind the ball and, consequently, found it hard to counter-attack.
Generally, The Villagers’ defensive play was good and Bath still found it hard to seriously threaten.
Ferriby looked to have weathered the storm as the game entered the final few minutes. Mellor did well to take the ball off St Juste’s toes and the keeper held a low cross with Tom Denton waiting to pounce.
The equaliser came after 85 minutes. McCootie latched on to a long ball and hammered an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar. Bath were now on a high and besieged Ferriby for the remainder of the game but determined defensive work kept them at bay.
“Ferriby manager Billy Heath commented, “It was a soft penalty award and it changed the whole tempo of the game. We were in control at that point and looking fairly comfortable. “
“The goal lifted Bath and they really came at us in the final 30 minutes. We let them push us back and the equaliser, for all it was a good finish, was a poor goal to concede.
All that said, If somebody had offered us a draw before the game we would probably have taken it. It’s certainly all to play for next week!”
Overall, this was a good performance from Ferriby and the draw was probably a fair result given Bath’s assault in the final 0 minutes. Hopes will be high of clinching a Wembley in next week’s second leg.
NFU: Adam Nicklin, Sam Topliss, Josh Wilde, Liam King, Mark Gray, Danny Hone, Danny Clarke, Russ Fry, Tom Denton, Adam Bolder (Jon D’Laryea 66), Jason St Juste. Subs not used: Matt Wilson, Tom Nicholson, Ryan Kendall, Nathan Peat
Bath City: Jason Mellor, Sekani Simpson, Andy Gallinagh, Phil Walsh, Dan Ball, Chas Hemmings, Andy Watkins (Ross Stearn 73), Chris Allen (Nick McCootie 45), Dave Pratt, Ashley Kingston (Ben Adelsbury 70), Frankie Artus. Subs not used: Dan Bowman, Pat Keary
Next Saturday’s second-leg kicks-off at 3pm. Gates will be open at 1pm. Ticket prices are £12 for adults, £6 for concessions and £3 for under16s.
Car parking will be available North Ferriby primary school at a cost of £2 with proceeds going to the school.