Vanarama National League North
North Ferriby United 0 Alfreton Town 1
Scorer Alfreton: Sam Smith 65
Despite this defeat, Ferriby still finished the season as runners-up in the National League North. They travel to Boston United on Wednesday for the first leg of the promotion semi-final.
Ferriby’s performance was a bit disjointed at times as manager Billy Heath had made a number of changes to give players some game-time ahead of the play-offs.
Alfreton started the game strongly and had the greater possession for the first 15 minutes. However, Adam Nicklin did not have a shot to save in the whole of the first-half.
Alfreton broke quickly regularly with Ryan Wilson, Sam Jones and Sam Smith always looking dangerous. However, Ferriby’s defence worked well to deny Alfreton scoring opportunities. Nicklin’s main work was collecting through-balls and crosses.
Ferriby gradually came more in to the game after 15 minutes but only forced Town keeper Matt Duke in to one comfortable save from a Curtis Bateson shot.
Liam King and Wayne Brooksby saw shots blocked whilst Adam Bolder saw a shot dip over Duke’s bar.
The closest Ferriby got to a goal was a Danny Hone header at the far post from a Bolder corner. Unfortunately, the ball went narrowly wide.
The second-half saw Alfreton have the better of territory and possession. They were now playing with a stiffish breeze behind them. On one occasion Nicklin had to back-pedal to push a long Duke drop-kick over his own bar.
Nicklin made a superb one-handed reaction save to deny Smith but the striker was not to be denied a goal.After 65 minutes, a corner was only partially cleared by the Ferriby defence. The ball finally reached Smith who fired home from about 12 yards. On the balance of play, it was a goal Alfreton deserved.
Alfreton continued to have more attempts on goal without really worrying Nicklin
Ferriby struggled to make an impression against Alfreton’s back-four and Duke had relatively little to do. He did have to react quickly on 86 minutes to block Ryan Kendall’s shot as the striker broke through. It was the closest The Vill;agers came to a goal in the second-half.
Disappointment in defeat was helped by the news that AFC fylde had only drawna t Worcester thus allowing Ferriby to claim second spot.
Manager Billy Heath commented,
“I’m delighted for everybody at the club that we’ve finished as runners-up for the second time in three seasons at this level.
“The players have been tremendous all season and they have got their reward.
“It was obviously disappointing to finish the regular season with a defeat but it was a close game. I made a number of changes. It was important that some players got a good run on the pitch today with the play-offs coming up.
“We will travel to Boston on Tuesday with our usual spirit and look to get a result that will set us up for the second leg.”
North Ferriby United: Adam Nicklin, Sam Topliss, Josh Wilde (Ben Middleton 88), Liam King, Danny Hone, Mark Gray, Wayne Brooksby, Russell Fry, Ryan Kendall, Adam Bolder (Nathan Hotte 74), Curtis Bateson (Danny Emerton 48), Subs not used: Tom Denton, Ash Palmer
Alfreton Town: Matt Duke, Cliff Moyo, Tom Allan, Todd Jordan, Nial Heaton, Cecil Nyoni, Joe Leesley Ryan Wilson, Sam Jones, Sam Smith (Lindon Meikle 90+2), Dan Bradley: Subs not used: Only three named subs: Joe Doyle-Charles, Julain Banton