Vanarama National League
Sutton United v North Ferriby United
Saturday 25 March 2017
Ferriby make their first-ever visit to Gander Green lane on Saturday for a game that has really become a “must win” match.
Two home defeats in four days, plus teams around them picking-up points, has left The Villagers in desperate straits in the bottom four. They can still climb out of the bottom four but it is going to need a run of wins that surpasses anything they have done this season.
Commenting after Tuesday’s loss to Tranmere, Steve Housham said,
“We won’t be giving in even though it is going to be very difficult. We will keep fighting whilst it is still mathematically possible to stay up. The players pride and everybody’s expectations will not let us do anything else.”
The Villagers have confounded many of the pundits and, perhaps, many of their fans, because they will go in to the final month of the season still with a chance of avoiding relegation.. Most people thought they would be stranded at the bottom of the table with virtually no points and no hope by Christmas.
Whilst they have flirted with the bottom four all season, the players have competed well in most games. Injuries and a small squad have made life difficult. Add these factors to the need for Housham and Darryn Stamp to create what was virtually a brand new playing squad in just three weeks and the season can be rated a success in many ways
.None of the above hides the desperate situation Ferriby are in. They are eight points from safety with seven games to play and, realistically are in a battle with just six clubs to stay up. A few other sides are in the relegation battle but they are battling to stay just ahead of the bottom four.
Sutton have had much publicity for their tremendous FA Cup run this season, losing in the last 16 to Arsenal. They are on the fringes of the relegation fight but a couple of wins should see them safe.
Sutton have a decent home record with ten wins, four draws and four defeats. They have scored 25 goals and conceded 19. Ferriby will travel with some hope as they have produced some good away performances.
Sutton’s goals have been spread around the team and they have a number of players who are capable of scoring.
The scoreline against Tranmere was harsh on Ferriby. Housham said,
“I’m proud of the players this evening, Tranmere were a Championship side just a few years ago and here we are more or less matching them. We had a game plan and kept to it and did just about everything right. We are a part-time up against a full-time team but we did well. All the lads put in a shift.”
Not for the first time this season, Ferriby were left ruing refereeing decisions. All the key decisions went against Ferriby when they should have gone for them. Each one had a key effect on the game.
Players and referees both make game-changing mistakes during games but the difference is that players usually have a chance to do something about theirs whilst referees can do nothing about their errors.
The Villagers know that a lack of goals and some slack defending has cost them points but equally, they have suffered from wrong decisions at key times in games where they were looking good for a draw or a win.
Housham will be as upbeat as usual at Sutton and so will his players. Despite the results. Everybody has enjoyed their season at this level. This is a young squad who can hold up their heads high and they will all be better players for the experience.
Housham was boosted by the return of Ryan Fallowfield to the starting 11 against Tranmere but
Simon Russell, Steve Brogan,and Curtis Bateson are still out. Taron Hare sits out the last of a three game suspension.
Ferriby from: Rory Watson, Sam Topliss, Ben Middleton, Jake Skelton, Mark Gray, Ryan Fallowfield, Connor Oliver, Danny Emerton, Ryan Kendall, Matty Templeton, Darryn Stamp, Ross Armstrong, Curtis Bateson, Reece Thompson, Jordan Cooke, Sam Cosgrove, Robbie Tinkler, Matty Dixon