NFU v Fores Green Rovers (NL)

National League

North Ferriby United v Forest Green Rovers

Saturday 8th  October 2016

 Kick-off: 3.00 pm

Ferriby entertain Vanarama National League leaders Forest Green Rovers at The Eon Visual Media Stadium on Saturday. Given Ferriby’s current form it will be a tough task.

The Villagers go in to the game with four successive defeats in which they have failed to score. The scorelines have been narrow in what is a very unforgiving league. To be fair to Ferriby’s defence, they are actually playing well on the whole but such is the quality of strikers at this level tend to be punished.

At the moment, Ferriby’s major weakness is scoring goals. They have score just six goals in their 14 games and have failed to score in ten of them. The team is creating chances but they have got to start putting them away. Another six goals would probably have made a massive difference to The Villagers’ points total given how close most of their defeats have been.

The lack of goals is more of a frustration than a worry for manager Steve Housham. Speaking after Tuesday’s home defeat to Chester he commented,

“We did everything but put the ball in the net, Again, we’ve performed well. I honestly believe that the right result is around the corner. We won’t make excuses because we had chances to win.”

Just as at Macclesfield last Saturday, Ferriby created more chances than their opponents against Chester. They hit the woodwork twice on Tuesday night and had a goal disallowed. To some extent the lack of goals is down to luck but the players also need a little more steadiness in front of goal. Sometimes you have to shoot on the half-chance and hope the ball finds a way through or takes a deflection that goes in or drops to another player for a second chance. This is not happening for The Villagers at the moment.

Housham was critical of the referee’s performance on Tuesday.
“Ben [Middleton] apologised for his red cars. I told him that he shouldn’t have been sent off; I’ve watched the replays. It was too early in the game for [the first booking]. Things like that are going against us.”

Houshame has sympathy for his defenders,

“There was barely any threat [from Chester] and one error kills us. The defenders may wonder how many chances our strikers need. The defenders can’t always be blamed for defeats.”

The Villagers certainly seem to be having some harsh decisions against them. Middleton’s red card was harsh on Tuesday, especially when similar challenges to those he made received no more than a free-kick. Teams want consistency from referees and that is not happening. Ferriby were equally frustrated with the penalty awarded at Macclesfield for what seemed a perfectly good tackle by Mark Gray. At the other end Ferriby are being awarded free-kicks on the edge of the area; it is difficult to believe that defenders are that good at timing the foul.

Despite their recent run, The Villagers will go in to the game against Forest Green with some confidence after their last two performances. Results only tell one part of the story and Ferriby have put in some good performances against the top sides.

Forest Green Rovers have lost two of their 14 games, both away, and have scored 26 goals and conceded 11 in their games so far. Their goals have been shared between 11 players with Rhys Murphy top-scoring with six. It will be far from easy against a side with one of the best scoring and defensive records so far this season. They had a good 4-0 win at Aldershot on Tuesday.

Housham is still quite upbeat,

 “We’ve got big hearts – priceless. So we’re hoping the right result comes sooner rather than later.”

Housham was full of praise for Ferriby’s fans,
“We can’t emphasise the love for the fans even after the defeat. Their reaction really lifted the lads at the end of the game. It’s a massive game on Saturday so we’ll need the same from you again.”

Housham has some selection issues for the game. Curtis Bateson and Steve Brogan  are unavailable through injury. Middleton sits out the game with a one match suspension following Tuesday’s red card. Suspensions at this level begin with the next game and not after seven days. The Villagers are a bit short with regard to defensive cover. The other issue is the striking partnership. Kyle Wootton and Reece Thompson have been a real threat in the last two games as they develop their partnership. Both have been unlucky not to score so one would expect Housham to start with them.

Ferriby from: Rory Watson, Sam Topliss, Connor Oliver, Mark Gray,  Danny Emerton, Danny Clarke, Connor Robinson, Ryan Kendall, Simon Russell, Taron Hare, Ryan Fallowfield, Darryn Stamp, Ross Armstrong, Jake Skelton, Vinny Mukendi, Alfons Fosu-Mensah, Reece Thompson, Kyle Wootton



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