Evostik Northern Premier League
Blyth Spartans 0 North Ferriby United 1
An own goal officially credited to home skipper Wayne Buchanan deep in to added time gave Ferriby all three points in a tense encounter at Blyth Spartans.
The result saw Ferriby increases their lead over second-placed Hednesford to eight points after they drew at fellow promotion rivals Rushall Olympic.
A hard and bumpy pitch made it difficult to control the ball and play effective passing football. This did not stop Ferriby from playing a controlled game that saw Blyth struggle to create any clear opportunities throughout the match.
The one-nil scoreline does not really reflect Ferriby's performance and control. Ferriby had a number of good opportunities in the first-half but could not find the clinical finishing that has characterised recent games. Good goalkeeping by home keeper Connor Grant kept Blyth in the game in the second-half.
Ferriby went close twice in the opening 10 minutes. First, Grant took the ball of Anthony Wilson's head then blocked Ryan Kendall's close range shot.
Liam King's low cross-shot bounced off the far post on the quarter hour as Ferriby continued to threaten.
Ferriby had a number of shots blocked as they looked for the goal their play deserved. Ryan Kendall was particularly unlucky in this respect. Crosses and passes in to the area were cut-out by defenders as they struggled to cope with The Villagers' approach play.
Blyth did not have one serious shot at Adam Nicklin in the first-half.
The home side started more positively in the second half but still found it hard to create a serious threat.
Ferriby again created a number of half-chances. Wilson and Paul Foot went close with headers from set pieces. Gary Bradshaw saw a shot blocked then Grant did well to save at Bradshaw's feet as the striker turned on the edge of the six-yard box.
Rob Youhill shot wide and Grant saved well from Danny Clarke as Ferriby looked for the elusive goal.
With the game seemingly heading for a draw Danny Clarke's clever cross just beyond the near post saw home skipper Buchanan turn Foot's goal-bound header into his own goal. Ferriby's goal celebrations left nobody ib any doubt as to who should have been credited with the goal.
The goal and result was no more than Ferriby deserved and could prove crucial in the title run-in.
Ferriby manager Billy Heath was delighted with his side's victory, "We played well today. One-nil does not do justice to our performance. We controlled the game for long spells and probably deserved to win by a bigger margin."
NFU: Adam Nicklin, Paul Robson, Nathan Peat, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Paul Foot, Danny Clarke, Russell Fry, Anthony Wilson, Ryan Kendall (Robert Youhill 84), Ryan Williams (Gary Bradshaw 73), Non-playing subs: Chris Bolder, Steve Ridley, Antoni Pecora
Blyth Spartans: Connor Grant,Richard Slaughter, Joe Kendrick, Jordan Mellish, Wayne Buchanan, Craig Hubbard (Stephen Turnbull 72), Lee Mason, Neal Hooks, Ryan McGorrigan (Phil Airey 77), Daniel Maguire, Damon Mullen (Jack Stanger 82) Non-playing subs: Tom Berj, Mark Cook