NFU v Kidderminster Harriers (NLN 17-18)

North Ferriby United v Kidderminster Harriers
 National League North
Saturday 21 April 2018
 Kick-off 3.00 pm

Ferriby play their final home league fixture in the National League on Saturday. It has been an interesting five year journey and it is hoped there will be large crowd to see this landmark game. There had been concerns that this would be the club’s final game in Ferriby. However, following a meeting with supporters on Monday evening, owner Jamie Waltham confirmed that next season’s Evostik Premier Division games will be played at The Eon Visual Media Stadium.

The game on Saturday marks the start of a busy end to the season for The Villagers with three games in eight days. After the Kidderminster match, Ferriby travel to Spennymoor on Thursday and bring the season to a close at FC United of Manchester next Saturday.

Saturday’s visitors are Kidderminster Harriers who have claimed  a play-off spot. They look likely to claim third or fourth place. Harriers will be keen to take all three points to cement a  high a finish as possible and to keep their momentum going into the play-offs.

The reverse fixture at Kidderminster at in November saw Ferriby lose 0-4 with all the goals coming in a disastrous first-half. Looking at Kidderminster’s away form they have won six, drawn seven and lost seven games. They have scored 23 goals and conceded 24.

Kidderminster’s last game was a 1-1 draw with Spennymoor on Tuesday. They are unbeaten in nine games, losing just one of them and drawing two.

Ferriby go in to the game after a 0-1 home defeat to Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night. It was a disappointing result in a game where The Villagers did very little that was wrong. Unfortunately, it was one of those games where the ball did not run for Ferriby.

The players could not be faulted for their effort and commitment. The game itself was rather scrappy, largely due to Gainsborough knowing they had to win to stand a chance of avoiding relegation.

Ferriby had the better of the game but had little luck around the Gainsborough goal. The Villagers twice hit the bar and saw another couple of efforts cleared off the line.

Despite the result, it was the type of performance that manager Chris Bolder expects to see from his players.

Bolder commented after the game,

“I think we were very unlucky not to take something from the Gainsborough Trinity game having hit the bar on two occasions and had plenty of goal-scoring opportunities. On another day, James’s effort early in the game goes in and then it would have really tested the nerve of the Gainsborough players and fans.

“On the balance of play, the chances created and shots on target we certainly deserved something from the game.

“We had few words at half time because we were not completely happy with way we performed in certain aspects of the game during the first-half.

“I don’t know how we didn’t score in second-half. We were not necessarily too creative but we put lot of pressure on. The pleasing thing is that we did have opportunities in and around their penalty area and, positionally, we are understanding our roles much better.

“Their staff said that the best team didn’t win on the night. They certainly know they’d been in a game.

“It’s difficult to be too critical of the players. They’ve worked hard and created more chances than in most games recently.
Looking towards Saturday, Bolder has this to say.

“Having spoken to a lot of other people in and around the division they feel that Kidderminster Harriers are one of the best footballing sides in the league, so Saturday will be another really big test for the lads. On Tuesday, Gainsborough were very direct, so today will present lots of new problems to deal with. Kidderminster find themselves in a strong position, firmly in the play-offs, and will be looking to go into them on the back of victories, so I’m sure they will be ensuring there is no complacency on their part.

“Again we play another team who have a strong goal threat with Joe Ironside going well this season, so we will have to ensure we limit any gifts to players of his calibre.

“It will be another really tough game for us against a full-time outfit. We know they play really good football and we know what they are about.

“We had a squad of 18 on Tuesday and it is important that we utilise as many of them as we can to gain an extra look at them. That was the idea behind playing Josh Walker and getting Ben Clappison back involved with us. We know Ben is a very good player but he’s struggled with a number of niggling injuries. Technically he is a very good player and we need to get him as fit as possible.”

“Charlie Dunkerley will be used again in the next two games but he’s had a few games for us and we know what he can do. We have to be preparing for next season so we have to see the players in action. Everybody in the squad understands that.”

Reflecting on his first few months in charge, and also casting an eye to the future, Bolder has this to say,
It has been another challenging season for the club and one that has ended in disappointment in the fact we have been relegated from the National League North.

However, through the events that have taken place, it has allowed a lot of young, local players to gain invaluable experience at a very good level that will benefit each and every one of them moving forward.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as first-team manager and Paul and myself feel we have made progress with the current group of players, which we will continue working towards next season. The lads have taken all aspects on board and they have shown that they can be very competitive with some outstanding teams and players in this division.

There have been a few highlights since I took over, the performance levels of some of the players that have never experienced this kind of level before have been pleasing, as well as the progress that each player has made and seeing them take on board technical and tactical advice which they have implemented in games.

I think the first win away at Bradford Park Avenue was a particularly good day due to how we applied ourselves and the togetherness that the full club showed. A lot of the players took great confidence from that and that gave them a lot more belief in their own capabilities.

I am looking forward to next season and having the opportunity for Paul and myself to work with the players for a full pre-season and really implement our philosophies. I am hopeful that a lot of the players will remain and appreciate the progress that has been made and are excited by the challenge of being competitive in the next league.

The final message goes to the supporters of the club. Again you have been fantastic and appreciative of all the hard work and effort that has gone in both on and off the pitch and hope to see you all again here next season.

Bolder should have virtually all his squad to choose from for Saturday’s game.

Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant,  Lewis Exall,  Jack Smith, Kojo Kyei, Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Jordon Cooke, James Piercey, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Paul Robson, Luke Lofts, Jamie Forrester, Josh Walker, James Nicholls, Alex Bannister


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