NFU v Harrogate Town (NLN)

Vanarama National League North
NFU v Harrogate Town

Saturday 13 February 2016
 Kick-off 3.00 pm

Second-placed Ferriby entertain promotion rivals Harrogate Town at the Eon Visual Media Stadium  on Saturday. If Saturday’s game is anything like the reverse fixture at Harrogate in September, fans will be in for a thriller.

With three minutes of normal time left The Villagers were 2-1 down. Three minutes later goals from Liam King and Danny Emerton had put them ahead. However,  a goal deep in added-time gained Harrogate a draw.

Harrogate are occupying the final play-off spot, three points behind Ferriby and with a game in hand. Defeat will not be the end of world for either side but a win would certainly be a big boost. Solihull lead Ferriby by four points but only five points separate Ferriby and sixth-placed Nuneaton Town. The title and play-off spots now seem to be pretty much a race between the above four clubs plus Boston United and AFC Fylde.

Harrogate had a stunning 6-0 home win over Solihull in January but, to some extent, went from the sublime to the ridiculous in losing 4-3 at FC United of Manchester after leading 3-0. Town have won eight of their 13 away games. Overall, they have scored 50 goals and conceded 34.

The Villagers have the highest-scoring attack in the Vanarama National League with 57 goals in their 27 games. They also have three players in the top scorers list. Liam King is second in the goal-scoring charts with 13 goals, followed by Tom Denton (12 goals) and Curtis Bateson (10 goals). With other players regularly chipping-in with goals, Ferriby are a difficult to defend against.

Ferriby’s defence has also been a keystone of this season’s form with 10 clean sheets in league games. The villagers have the best goal difference and this could be crucial in deciding final positions in such a tight division.

Ferriby Manager Billy Heath comments,

“It was frustrating to have last Saturday’s game (at Stalybridge) postponed.. Everybody wants to play and it is important at this stage of the season to gather some momentum and keep it going.

“Results over recent weeks show that there are no easy games in this division. Very team is perfectly capable of beating any of the others. However, it is what we do that matters. We have to focus on our performances and not worry about how our rivals are doing. We are in a strong position and it is up to us to maintain it.

“We have a small squad but it is an experienced one and the players are deeply committed. They were disappointed with their performance in the last game at Worcester because they know they did not do themselves justice. They will see the Harrogate game as a chance to get back on track.

Heath should have the luxury of a full squad to choose from, including Wayne Brooksby who has signed from Guiseley.

NFU squad: Tom Nicholson, Adam Nicklin, Ben Middleton, Sam Topliss, Josh Wilde, Ash Palmer, Mark Gray, Danny Hone, Liam King, Russ Fry, Adam Bolder, Danny Clarke, Danny Emerton, Tom Denton, Ryan Kendall, Curtis Bateson, Nathan Hotte, Wayne Brooksby

The club’s Academy side will be playing Hull United at South Hunsley School in the East Riding Senior Cup quarter-final. The game kicks-off at 2pm

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