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

Darlington 6 NFU 0 (NLN)

Saturday 17 March 2018
                                               
Vanarama National League North

Darlington 6          North  Ferriby United    0
David Syers 16
Steven Thompson 28, 40
Reece Styche 35
Joshua Gillies 43, 69

This result sealed Ferriby’s relegation. The scoreline does not fully tell the story but it does sum-up Ferriby’ season in some ways. Once again, opponents were able to turn chances into goals whilst The Villagers struggled to find the net.

The game was played on a heavy pitch and through regular periods of snow.  By the end, he pitch was more white than green. The game was played in a strong wind that blew down the pitch throughout. Considering the conditions, it was a decent-enough game although Darlington adapted to them better than The Villagers.

Darlington had the better of the opening 20 minutes but were pulling themselves back in  to the game when The closest to a goal in that period was a long kick from Ross Durrant which was carried on the wind and almost bounced over his opposite number, Aynsley Pears.

The Quakers opened the scoring.  Reece Styche’s long cross-field pass found Stephen Thompson on the right and his low cross was tapped home at the far post by David Syers. This was the first  deliberate attempt on goal by rather side.

Jordan Harrison and AJ George carried some threat for Ferriby as they looked for an equaliser but it was Darlington who scored again. Durrant brought down Josef Wheatley as he tried to round  the keeper and Stephen Thompson scored from the penalty. That was in the 28th minute seven minutes later it was 3-0 as Styche turned in Thompson’s cross at the near post.

That goal probably sealed the game  and two goals just before half-time made sure. Thompson hit a 25-yard shot into the bottom corner and Josh Gillies slid the ball past the advancing Durrant.

Ferriby did go close to scoring. Home keeper  Pears tipped over a Luke Lofts shot and made a good one-handed save from Lewis Collins. Pears then blocked a George shot before somehow getting a hand to ball that came off a defender in a goal-mouth scramble.

Going  in five goals down was a little harsh but Darlington certainly showed The Villagers how to score.

The  half-time score-line meant there was no realistic  way back for The Villagers  in the second-half. Given the weather conditions, both teams were probably happy to play-out the half. The referee was probably of the same mind as he only added a minute of additional instead of the anticipated three or four.

With little more than pride to play for, credit needs to be given to the Ferriby players for the way in which they kept going forward and looking for a goal. At times they had the Darlington defence struggling and Luke Lofts went close on three occasions. One shot hit the post, another was blocked by a defender whilst a third attempt drew a diving save from Pears.

Bobby Johnson and Lewis Collins worked hard throughout the game in midfield but Ferriby lacked any real width to their game. Jordan Harrison battled-up-front throughout the game.

The bulk of the goal-scoring opportunities fell to Darlington. The Villagers were grateful to another fine display of goalkeeping from Durrant during the second-half. He denied The Quakers a number of times as they threatened regularly.

The final goal of the came after 69 minutes. A corner from the left was not properly cleared and the ball reached Gillies who fired home for his second goal of the game.

Even that did not kill The Villagers’ spirit and they earned some praise from the jubilant Darlington fans for looking for a goal and playing some good football at times.

 Assistant manager Paul Robson, commented,

“I felt we were weathering the storm in the first 20 minutes before we conceded the first goal. All the goals were probably preventable but the players are still learning and developing so that is understandable to some extent.

“We’ve communicated well on the pitch in recent games and that was lacking to some extent today.

“ We could probably have gone in 5-3 down at half-time as their keeper made a number of good saves whereas all their shots went in.”

Chris Bolder commented,
“There was a difference in quality going forward today in the first-half. They had five shots and scored from all of them.

“The manner of the goals we concede was disappointing. However Paul and I cannot be too critical of the players. They have been playing out of their skins in recent games. A lot of them have played at levels below this and are still adjusting.

“We were not as competitive as we have been recently. I’ve told the players that they have chance to put today behind them when we play Salford on Tuesday.

“We will be working hard in our remaining games but, to some extent, the focus is now developing the players for next season. We can still play a significant role in the relegation fight with a number of games to come against teams fighting the drop. We have to believe that we can take something from, at least, some of those games.”

NFU: Ross Durrant , Ben Clappison, Luke Lofts, Jamie Forrester, James Piercey,  Jack Mail,  AJ George(James Nicholls 58), Bobby Johnson, Jordan Harrison (Charlie Dunkerley 80),  Lewis Collins, Jordon Cooke (Jordan Deacey 70)
Substitutes not used: Lewis Exall, Alex Bannister,

Darlington: Aynsley Pears, Luke Trotman, Ben O’Hanlon, Phil Turnbull, Joshua Heaton, Terry Galbraith, Josh Gillies, Josef Wheatley, Reece Styche  (James Caton 64) ,   David Syers (Mitchell Glover 58),, Stephen Thompson (Gregory Mills 64)

Subs not used:  Matthew Bancroft,  Jack Vailks,

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