Vanarama National League North
NFU v Alfreton Town
Saturday 30 April 2016
Kick-off 3.00 pm
Second-placed Ferriby entertain Alfreton Town at the Eon Visual Media Stadium on Saturday. A draw or a win would ensure that The Villagers finish the regular Vanarama National League season as runners-up for the second time in three years. That would be a tremendous achievement for a club with a small budget and one of the smallest squads in the division.
AFC Fylde are two points behind Ferriby and have a tricky game at Worcester. Fylde know they have to win because Ferriby are eleven goals better off than Fylde on goal difference.
The Villagers will be presented with a replica of the FA Trophy before the game. This will be a permanent reminder of their epic win at Wembley last season.
Alfreton will finish the season in mid-table and have only pride to play for on Saturday. However, they will not be giving Ferriby an easy ride. That’s not the way clubs think in this division.
It is going to be a tense game against a side that has one of the best away records in the division. Alfreton have won eight and drawn seven of their 20 away games. They have score 31 goals and conceded 25 in those games.
Alfreton have won just two of their last ten games both by three goals to two against Harrogate Town and Corby Town. Conversely, Ferriby have lost just two of their last 10 games.
Ferriby won the reverse fixture one-nil back in November and that result would more than satisfy The Villagers on Saturday..
Ferriby will be glad to be at home on Saturday after two long trips in four days. The Villagers bounced back from a disappointing performance at Gloucester City last Saturday to beat Lowestoft Town 3-0 on Tuesday evening.
The Villagers completely out-played Lowestoft from start-to-finish in what was a truly professional display of controlled football. What made it more remarkable was that due to accidents and diversions en-route, the players were sat on the coach for six hours rather than the scheduled four-and-a-half. The game kicked-off 35 minutes late but the delay did not seem to worry Ferriby.
For Ferriby, Saturday is about clinching the coveted runners-up spot. They will not know their semi-final opponents until around 4.45 on Saturday. It will be one from Harrogate, Boston or Nuneaton.
The three clubs are separated by just two points. With a play-off spot at stake it could well come down to which teams react better to the pressure.
Looking ahead to Saturday, Billy Heath comments,
“Taking the runners-up spot is now in our own hands. We have worked hard all season and it would be a great reward for the players if they could clinch it. We know we are going to finish in the top three but we need to put in a good performance ahead of the play-off semi-finals.
“Alfreton will be tough to break down with their away record but we have the best home record in the division so they will know that they also have a job on their hands on Saturday.
“Tuesday night’s game showed the spirit that the players have. They bounced back from the Gloucester game and that awful journey to Lowestoft. We completely outplayed Lowestoft on Tuesday and we could have won by a much bigger margin.
“For now, we concentrate on Saturday’s game and try to put the play-offs to the back of our mind.”
Heath should have a full squad to choose from on Saturday. Liam King and Danny Hone were both on the bench at Lowestoft to give them a little more time to recover from injury.
NFU squad: Adam Nicklin, Ben Middleton, Sam Topliss, Josh Wilde, Ash Palmer, Mark Gray, Danny Hone, Liam King, Russ Fry, Adam Bolder, Danny Clarke, Danny Emerton, Ryan Kendall, Curtis Bateson, Nathan Hotte, Tom Denton, Wayne Brooksby
There will be a bucket collection at the Alfreton game for the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund. All national League Clubs have been asked to collect at their final home game of the season.
Ferriby will be holding a footwear collection again on Saturday. The items collected will be given to Hull Homeless Outreach as the charity looks to create a world record for the most items of footwear in any one place. The attempt will be made at the KC Stadium in early July. Supporters are asked to bring any old or unwanted footwear to the ground. Condition is immaterial.