NFU 1 Darlington 1 (NLN 17-18)

Saturday 26 August 2017

 Vanarama National League North

North Ferriby United  1        Darlington  1
Curtis Bateson 51                   Josh Gillies 9                


Darlington will probably be wondering how they travel back to County Durham with just a single point after totally dominating the first-half.  However, the old adage that it takes goal to win matches saw The Villagers snatch a point. It has to be said, that in the end it was one that they deserved.

The Quakers’ David Ferguson, Josh Gillies and James Caton caused mayhem down the left wing during the first-half. They created a number of chances, especially for Mark Beck. However, the tall striker wasted them and Darlington went in to half-time with just a single goal lead.  Phil Turnbull and Stephen Thompson combined to put in Gillies. He cut across two defenders before firing low past Ross Durrant after just nine minutes.

The way Darlington were  playing it seemed as if the floodgates would open just as they did against Brackley. This time it did not happen. Despite providing Darlington with too much time and space down both wings, The Villagers’s central defenders put in solid performances.

Ferriby were the cause of their own problems to a large extent. They played far too deep in their own half so any clearances came straight back. Darlington played some fast, positive and attractive football

Durrant was in excellent form and produced a superb diving one-handed save to deny Beck who thought he had scored with a powerful downward header from almost point-blank range.
Darlington continued to miss chances and Ferriby  almost equalised when Bobby Johnson hit a half-chance just past the post for Ferriby.

It was relieved Ferriby that went in just one goal down at half-time.

The second-half was different affair. Substitute  Curtis Bateson equalised after 51 minutes. An horrendous mix-up between keeper Edward Wilczynski and a defender ended with Bateson scoring in to  an open goal from 18 yards.

It may have been against the overall run-of-play but it boosted Ferriby. For much of the half they played a high line and forced Darlington back towards their own penalty area. This denied them the freedom and space that they had in the first-half and they were less effective going forward.

Wilczynski redeemed himself a few minutes later when he was quickly off his line to deny Akeel Francis.

Joel Ambalu and Francis started to receive more ball to their feet and this allowed them to use their pace and skill to trouble the visiting defence.

Darlington pressured Ferriby towards the end but the spark of the first-half was gone. Durrant produced another stunning save to deny Dominic Collins but this was just about the only shot to really troubles the young keeper who gave  a confident performance

The game was marred by a  serious leg injury after 39 minutes  to Darlington’s Chris Hunter who was taken to hospital.

Ferriby manager Steve Housham was in a somewhat mixed mood after the game,
“I have to hold my hands up and say we had  the wrong shape in the first-half. They were by far the better and stronger team. I was just relieved that we only conceded the one goal.

“The loss of Steve Brogan through injury meant we went in to the game without a truly recognised left-side defender. Also, the early injury to Russ [Fry] meant we had to re-organise.

“We changed things in the second-half by bringing-on Curtis. This gave us more width and meant we could push them back. Playing a higher line restricted their attacks and it started to frustrate them.

“I couldn’t fault any of my players in the second-half. They all played for the team and put theri bodies on the line.

“In the end we have to be happy with the point. The players will learn from this. You cannot just paly for 45 minutes at this level and hope to succeed. But this is, largely a young team that is still learning.”

NFU:  Ross Durrant , Jordan Cooke, Kyle Dixon,  Steve Brogan, Bobby Johnson,  Jake Skelton, Jake Picton, Simon Russell, Russell Fry (Ross Barrows 16),, Akeel Francis, Joel Ambalu (Leigh Hutchinson 77),  Joe Pugh (Curtis Bateson 45). Substitutes not used: Mark Gray, Callum Rzonca,

Darlington: Edward Wilczynski, Chris Hunter (Liam Marrs 39), David Ferguson, Phil Turnbull, Dominic Collins, Terry Galbraith, Stephen Thompson (Josef Wheatley 69), Thomas Portas, Mark Beck, James Caton (Harvey Saunders 76), Josh Gillies. Subs not used:  Scott Fenwick, Mark Bell, 

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