Darlington v North Ferriby United
National League North
Saturday 17 March 2018
Ferriby make their first-ever visit to Darlington on Saturday. The reverse fixture in August saw the sides draw 1-1 at The Eon Visual Media Stadium. Depending on Ferriby’s own result and those of Curzon Ashton and FC United of Manchester, The Villagers could see their relegation confirmed.
Darlington have had something of a mixed season. They sit in 12th position, nine points above the relegation places and five points from a play-off spot. As they have played more games than the sides above them, a play-off place may be beyond them.
Darlington drew 0-0 at struggling Tamworth on Tuesday. Their last home game saw them beat Curzon Ashton 1-0. Darlington have lost just one of their last nine games, gaining five wins and three draws and a single defeat. At home they have won 8 games , drawn four and lost five. They have scored 28 goals and conceded 20 in those games. However, Ferriby showed against Nuneaton last Saturday that they are no respecter of form.
Ferriby gained a well-deserved point at Nuneaton, even if they did ride their luck on occasions. To some extent, you create our own luck, both good and bad. Chris Bolder was disappointed with the two goals his team conceded as he felt they could have been better-defended. However, he was quite up-beat after the game,
“The lads showed a great attitude to come back twice from behind and got their rewards for the effort they put in. Nuneaton are a very good side and are in great form so to go away and pick up a draw was a great achievement.
“I feel Paul and I got the tactics spot on and the lads implemented them perfectly. We are building a culture and a philosophy here and the current group of players are really buying into it which is obviously very pleasing. We are all learning with each game and training session and you can see the steady improvements taking place.”
When Jamie Waltham bought the club, people scoffed at his idea of bringing in more local players, even if they lacked experience at this level. However, recent performance and attitude are beginning to indicate he may well have seen something nobody else did. Under Bolder and Robson’s guidance, the style of play has changed to one that displays a more positive approach. There is a greater confidence in the team. They are much tighter defensively and offer a greater threat going forward. The Nuneaton game saw first goals for both Jack Mail and Bobby Johnson.
The attitude of the new players is perhaps exemplified by striker Jordan Harrison,
“It feels really good to have played nearly ten games at this level now. It has been a big step up for me. I’m sure there may have been people doubting me but I think up to now I’ve showed that I can make the step up.”
“We’ve picked up a few good results since I’ve been here, I think in the 7 I’ve been involved in we’ve come away with 3 draws and a win. Some people will think that’s not very good but when you look at how the team was doing the first half of the season I would say that’s a really good turn around.
“The mood in the camp is great. We’re all loving the sessions that are getting put on for us. The target for us is to just keep doing what we’re doing, trying to pick up points and we know that we can still cause an upset for teams looking to get promoted or get into the playoffs.”
Bolder will be looking to make it three games unbeaten at Darlington but realises it will not be easy,
“We travel to Darlington next week and we will be looking to upset the odds again. We know it will be tough as they are another side enjoying a decent run of form. It will be another big crowd for the lads to experience. We’ll work hard this week to look at their strengths and possible ways to exploit them, and hopefully leave there again with another positive performance and result.”
“We were missing 8 players at Nuneaton for one reason or another so we will have even more options available again so we will assess things this week and go from there.”
Bolder continues to faces selection problems. Paul Robson sits-out the last of a four game suspension. Alex Davidson is recovering from a hip injury. Jordan Deacey, has a hamstring issue. Brett Agnew and Jack Walters both have a knee injuries whilst Jamie Forrester is not yet back to full fitness. Sam Ansu and Kojo Kyei may not be available. Alex Bannister, who came on as a substitute last Saturday, may well be included in the squad again.
Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant, Lewis Exall, Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Kojo Kyei, Jordon Cooke, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Adam Bolder, Luke Lofts, AJ George, Lewis Collins, George Harrison, Sam Ansu, Jamie Forrester, Brett Agnew, James Piercey, Jordan Deacey, Josh Walker, James Nicholls, Alex Bannister