Vanarama National League
Guiseley v North Ferriby United
Saturday 25 February2017
Ferriby travel to fellow relegation strugglers Guiseley on Saturday in a game that is pretty much a “must win” for The Villagers who are sitting at the bottom of the Vanarama National League.
Ferriby won the reverse fixture 3-2 in August and they would dearly like a repeat of that result.
Obviously, Guiseley also will be eager for three points on Saturday as they bid to stay just above the relegation places. They have won seven, drawn five and lost four of their home league games. They have scored 27 goals in those games and conceded 21. Their main goal threat comes from Michael Rankine, Jordan Preston and Jake Cassidy.
Guiseley struggled very much in the opening months of the season but have lost only two of their last 12 league games. Even so, Ferriby will travel with some confidence. Despite The Villagers’ results, they have produced good performances for much of the season but their failings remain the same to a large extent. They often struggle to create chances and when they do they fail to convert enough of them. At the back, they make few major mistakes but get punished when they do. Such are the narrow margins between winning and losing in this league.
Twelve of Ferriby’s defeats have been by just one goal and that is indicative of how the lack of goals has impacted so badly on their season. The Villagers have also suffered from the absence through injury of their most experienced players. The loss of Steve Brogan, Simon Russell and Ryan Fallowfield has made a big difference to Ferriby, especially in midfield where The Villagers have lacked someone who can manage the game.
Without the experienced players Ferriby have been fielding a team that is young and inexperienced at the higher levels of non-league football. Nobody doubts the ability and commitment of any of the players bur, to some extent, the players are learning together and this is a hard league in which to do that.
Ferriby now face a hard struggle over the closing weeks. Two defeats in four days have seen them pinned firmly in the bottom four. They cannot afford to lose on Saturday and fall further behind the clubs that lie above the relegation zone. There are now some nine clubs who are in the relegation battle and it could be a test of nerve as well as ability that decides the fate of those that go down.
The performance against league leaders and FA Cup quarter-finalists Lincoln City on Tuesday in front of a record crowd was another good one but sloppy defending from a corner saw Luke Waterfall unmarked to head home. Chances, again, were few at the other end and the game was a similar story once again.
Commenting on Tuesday’s performance, manager Steve Housham said,
“I thought the players did themselves proud – I was proud of them, too, for putting in such a good performance against the FA Cup quarter-finalist and potentially the National League champions.
Connor Oliver came on for five minutes at the end of the game but he still isn’t 100%. He wanted to give it a go and to try to give us that one clinical pass through to the strikers.”
As far as Guiseley is concerned, Housham commented,
“I went to watch Guiseley’s game last week so we know more about them now. We’ll work on things in training on Thursday. Unfortunately, unlike the full-time sides, we can’t work on a lot of thinkgs during the week but we will be working hard to get things right.
“We’re going to go in confident against them – we’re not a million miles away from what we need to win games. Guiseley will be up to the challenge too. All I can is ask the players to keep giving their best.”
Simon Russell continues with his rehabilitation following a fractured patella. Steve Brogan and Ryan Fallowfield are still out. Danny Emerton missed the Lincoln game through injury but will, hopefully be fit.
Ferriby from: Rory Watson, Sam Topliss, Ben Middleton, Connor Oliver, Jake Skelton, Mark Gray, Danny Emerton, Ryan Kendall, Taron Hare, Matty Templeton, Darryn Stamp, Ross Armstrong, Curtis Bateson, Reece Thompson, Jordan Cooke, Sam Cosgrove, Robbie Tinkler, Matty Dixon