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

NFU 1 Braintree Town 1 (NL)

North Ferriby United: 0      Braintree Town: 0

Attendance: 557

The newly promoted Villagers had to work hard for this point. Braintree will probably feel they should have won as they carried more goal threat throughout the game.

 It took both sides a while to get going on a hot and humid afternoon. Braintree had slightly greater possession in the opening stages but the home side gradually got more in to the game.

There was little to excite the fans in the first 35 minutes with each side having only one attempt on goal. Danny Clarke fired wide for The Villagers after just four minutes.  Town’s only effort was low shot that went straight to Ferriby keeper Rory Watson.

The final 10 minutes of the half saw Ferriby have their best spell of the game and they could easily have gone in ahead at the interval.

 Ian Ashton just got ahead of Ferriby’s Connor Robinson to nod the ball back to his keeper.

Danny Clarke had a shot blocked before Curtis Bateson curled a shot on to the cross-bar. With Ferriby continuing to press, Bateson put a first-time shot just over and Clarke had another shot blocked following good work from Bateson and Alfonso Mensa.

The second-half really belonged to Braintree. Ferriby did not manage one attempt on goal. Braintree created a number of chances but were often denied by good defending. Jake Skelton and Mark Gray were solid in the centre of Ferriby’s defence. Connor Oliver did a lot of good work covering just in front of the back-four.

Simeon Akinola was at the heart of much of what Braintree die. He defended well and was constantly probing in an attempt to set-up chances for the front-runners.

It was Akinola who brought a save from Ferriby keeper Rory Watson after 49 minutes.

Opportunities followed for Town. Michael Cheek fired narrowly over the bar after a neat through-ball from Jack Midson.

Braintree were unlucky after 74 minutes when substitute Jake Goodman’s header hit the bar. They went even closer in added time when a scramble in the penalty area saw Cheek’s shot blocked on the line and then hit a post.
Town manager Jamie Day commented,

“I’m pleased to have come to Ferriby and picked up a point. The players are still finding their feet as team but we kept our shape and put in a solid performance. We created some good chances and the corner count was well in our favour.

“We played better in the second-half and I feel we should have won the game. We had some good opportunities and just couldn’t take them.”

 Ferriby manager Steve Housham  was not too unhappy with his side’s performance,

“I’m happy to get  point. We are actually on the board after our first game at this level. We took a while to settle down but, at least in the first-half, grew in to the game. “I’d told the players before the game that set-pieces are important at this level and we defended most of Town’s corners and free-kicks well.”

Both sides will take positive things from this game, especially as they have both had to massively rebuild their squads during the close season.
Ferriby may have been under the cosh in the second-half but this was a spirited defensive performance. Even though they created only a small number of chances the y did look good going forward at times. Unfortunately, the final pass was often too short or, conversely, too long. Hopefully this aspect of the game will improve as the players become more familiar with each other in the coming games.

NFU: Rory Watson ;  Sam Topliss, Jake Skelton, Mark Gray, Stephen Brogan, Connor Oliver, Simon Russell, Danny Clarke, Conner Robinson (Ryan Kendall 80)  Curtis Bateson, Alfonso Fasu-Mensa (Vinny Mukendi 63),

Subs not used: Ryan Fallowfield, Ben Middleton, Taron Hare

Braintree Town: Jamie Butler, Josh Okimo, Harry Lee, Ian Gayle, Jon Ashton, Jack Midson, Chez Isaac, Lee Barnard, Simeon Akinola, Craig Braham-Barrett, (Jake Goodman 57),Michael Cheek

Subs not used: Joe Maybanks, Zach Fagan, Gordon Roedell, Sam Cowler

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