Vanarama Conference North
Stalybridge Celtic 2
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 8, 23
North Ferriby United 2
Matt Regan 51 (own goal); Gregg Anderson 87
New signing Curtis Bateson inspired a second-half fightback for Ferriby at in-form Stalybridge. The Villagers looked to be dead and buried at half-time as they went in two goals down. However, a dominant second-half showing earned a draw.
Ferriby’s first-half showing was poor except for the opening eight minutes. During this time Stalybridge barely got out of their own half. However, as has happened too often in recent games, The Villagers were caught-out by a quick break. A long-ball from Kevin Holsgrove found Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the striker advanced before calmly placing the ball past Adam Nicklin.
The goal was completely against the run of play and shocked Ferriby who then struggled to get into the match.
Mark Gray did well to slide in and block a shot from Liam Dickinson.
A few minutes later good Danny Clarke run saw him play the ball inside to Liam King whose shot went straight to his namesake.
Stalybridge began to take control and pushed back The Villagers. Another break, this time down the right, saw Stephen Brogan cross low and Calvert-Lewin turned the ball in from close range.
Stalybridge continued to offer the greater threat and Calvert-Lewin glanced a header wide then Dickinson hit a free-kick at Nicklin.
With half-time approaching Ferriby began to compose themselves again. Ryan Kendall was unfortunate to see home keeper Lewis King save with an outstretched leg.
The second-half was a different story with Stalybridge constantly being pushed back by The Villagers. New signing Curtis Bateson came on at half-time in place of Kendall and his impact was immediate. His charge down the right saw him cross low into the six-yard box where Matt Regan turned the ball in to his own goal.
Ferriby dominated the rest of the half with some good football in midfield and down both flanks. The defence looked more assured and they limited Stalybridge to just one clear chance late-on.
Ferriby had chances and went close on a number of occasions. A Josh Wilde free-kick ended with Bateson firing over the bar. Shortly after, Tom Denton headed at the keeper and then Liam King saw a shot blocked and then curled a shot on to the roof of the net.
Stalybridge should have scored a third after 72 minutes but Nicklin reacted superbly to push Holsgrove’s shot on to the bar when it seemed a certain goal.
Ferriby’s equaliser came after 87 minutes. Adam bolder’s deep free-kick found greg Anderson at the far post and he out-jumped the defence to head firmly home.
A draw was a fair result on a tricky pitch that was heavy under foot and with one-half heavily-sanded. This made control and balance difficult for all the players. Occasional snow showers did not help, either.
Ferriby manager Billy Heath commented, “We played very well in the second-half and deserved a point in the end. The game showed that we need to be more consistent. Their goals, especially the first, were disappointing from our point of view. The second-half was a much better reflection of our ability.”
North Ferriby: NFU: Adam Nicklin, Louis Bruce, Josh Wilde, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Mark Gray (Danny Hone 45), Danny Clarke, Russ Fry (Adam Bolder 81), Tom Denton, Ryan Kendall (Curtis Bateson 45), Jason St Juste. Subs not used: Nathan Peat, Tom Nicholson
Stalybridge Celtic: Lewis King, Kelvin Bleau, Nathan Heath, Matt Regan, Liam Dickinson, Stefan Galinski, Ben McKenna, Scott Kerr, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Stephen Brogan (Todd Jordan 65), Kevin Holsgrove. Subs not used: Paul Ennis, James Cadman, Harley Wigley, Josh Green, Ollie Martin