Evostik Northern Premier League
Saturday 6 October 2018
North Ferriby United 1 Stalybridge Celtic 2
Jack Mail 30 Ross Dent 62; Matthew Wolfenden 90
The result was heart-breaking for Ferriby who produced a really good all-round team performance against another strong side that will probably be challenging for promotion at the end of the season.
This was a thoroughly entertaining game that was not decided until the 90th minute.
The Villagers gave as good as they got throughout the game and were unrecognisable from the side that played so poorly against Matlock in midweek. Manager Chris Bolder had told his players before the game that they had to significantly reduce the number of basic errors and the team responded in the best way possible. Fewer errors were made all over the pitch and the side was combative and competitive in midfield whilst Lewis Exall was outstanding in goal.
Bolder had to re-juggle his defence shortly before kick-off due to skipper James Piercy’s thigh injury flaring-up during the warm-up. James Williamson moved to centre-back and Dan Norton slotted in at right-back. They both put in excellent performance in a back-four that was outstanding and looked like it had played together for a long time.
Play was end-to-end throughout with both sides having periods of pressure. The fact that there were only three goals was down, by and large to the two keepers, Exall and Celtic’s James Aspinall.
It took twelve minutes for either side to get in a shot on goal despite the openness of the game. Jordan Harrison, who had another impressive game, fired wide from 20 yards.
Exall had to reach from his goal and his clearance cannoned off Chris Sharp but well away from goal. Williamson then did well to block a Sharp shot. Paul Robson also got his body in the way of a Scott Bakkor effort.
Stalybridge did have the better of the opening twenty-five minutes with Glenn Rule commanding in midfield. He sprayed the ball left and right to start Celtic attacks through James Caton and Scottt Bakkor.
Exall produced two very good saves to deny James Caton before the winger had to be substituted on 30 minutes due to an injury.
Joe Lamplough and Eddie Rogerson were working hard in midfield and they gradually brought Ferriby more in to the game.
Ferriby took the lead on 30 minutes when Lamplough’s corner was met by a stooping Jack Mail who headed home at the near post. Ferriby then saw two efforts from Luke Hinsley and James Williamson cleared off the line before half-time. Aspinall and Exall both produced further good saves to keep the goal count to just one.
The second-half was just as open with Ferriby starting well. Aspinall saved well from Rogerson before the visitors scored against the run-of-play.
Neil Kengni’s free-kick, after what appeared a soft award, reached Ross Dent who scored from close-range.
Celtic took something of a grip after this with Kengni outstanding in midfield and out wide.
Exall produced superb saves to deny Wolfenden, Kengni , twice, and Liam Tongue.
Ferriby did press forward and had their threatening moments with Aspinall saving at the second attempt from Lofts and Alex Bannister heading Norton’s free-kick wide.
The winner came from Wolfenden who cut inside to score with a low shot. Exall got a hand to it but unfortunately the ball crept in by the post.
As well as the excitement, this was also a game played in a generally good spirit with virtually no histrionics or ranting at the officials.
On chances, Celtic probably deserved the win, but the result was tough on Ferriby.
Ferriby manager Chris Bolder was pleased with the overall performance but was clearly disappointed with the result,
“We looked a strong side today against another very strong side. We had some fantastic opportunities especially after we’d gone one-up and we then had two cleared off the line.
“We started the second-half well and had another couple of good opportunities.
“We looked an attacking threat today and that is a big positive. We are creating chances and are starting to convert them.
“We tweeked Jordan’s position up-front and put him out wide. He prefers to be facing the opponent’s goal when he gets the ball rather than facing ours. That worked today as Jordan was outstanding again.
“Joe [Lamplough] played extremely well today and we only took him off as he took aknee in the back which affected him.
“They say in any game of football you need a little bit of luck and I thought we’d got that by the time we reached the 89th minute. However, it wasn’t to be.
“The players now have to build on that on Tuesday at Bamber Bridge.”
In the end, it was not quite Ferriby’s day but that does not detract from a fine and committed performance. The Villagers have just got to develop more consistency, However, that is easier said than done for part-time player, facing a hectic match schedule and also fitting in often demanding day jobs.
NFU: Lewis Exall, James Williamson, Paul Robson, Eddie Rogerson, Jack Mail, Kent Bannister (Jamie Forrester 66), Dan Norton, Joe Lamplough (Luke Lofts 66), Luke Hinsley, Eddie Birch, Jordan Harrison (Alex Bannister 81), Subs not used : Charlie Dunkerley
Stalybridge Celtic: James Aspinall, Josh Solomon-Davies, Scott Wilson, Ross Dent, Liam Tongue, Michael Clarke, Scott Bakkor, Glenn Rule (Niall Flint 76), Chris Sharp (George Hughes 60) Matty Wolfenden, James Caton (Neil Kengni 29),; Subs not used: Danny Brady, Aidan Winterbottom