NFU v Tamworth (NLN)

Vanarama National League North
NFU v Tamworth

Saturday 19 December  2015
 Kick-off 3.00 pm

Ferriby return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday when Tamworth visit the Eon Visual Media Stadium.

After the game there will be a presentation to the ever-popular Russell Fry who has recently completed 400 games for the club. The club is also marking the achievement with a special programme to mark Russ’s achievement.

 The Villagers have had a fortnight break since their stunning win at Chorley on 5 December. The rest may have come at a good time for Manager Billy heath’s small squad. The Tamworth game marks the start of the Christmas/New Year games. The Villagers will play four times in the next fortnight.

They travel to Gainsborough on Boxing Day, entertain Bradford on the 28th and play the reverse fixture with Gainsborough on 2nd January. It is a testing period for part-time players.

A good set of results should see The Villagers consolidate their place in the promotion race.

Tamworth won the reverse fixture one-nil on the opening day of the season and will be looking to complete the double. The Lambs are
currently 6th in the division and are one of the promotion contenders. They are three points behind Ferriby but have a game in hand.

They go in to Saturday’s game on the back of a 5-0 defeat at Halifax in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night. They will certainly be looking for a positive response to that defeat on Saturday.

The Lambs have won eight, lost one and drawn ten of their games so far. Away it has been a case of three wins, five draws and that one defeat. Overall, they have scored 27 goals and conceded just 14 which is the joint-best defensive record along with Solihull Moors.

Ferriby are the National League North’s leading scorers and have one of the meaner defences. They are in third place but it is so tight at the top that, depending on results on Saturday, they could finish the afternoon anywhere between second and sixth.

Ferriby’s performance against Chorley was very good, especially considering the atrocious conditions. The Villagers looked out of the game when they trailed 2-0 at half-time. Ryan Kendall, a half-time substitute, pulled a goal back but with time running out it still seemed as though Ferriby were heading for defeat. However an 89th minute equaliser by Liam King stunned Chorley and Curtis Bateson sealed a remarkable victory with the winner in the dying moments of added time.

Heath comments,
“Having a break can be a blessing in disguise. We obviously wanted to play last Saturday to try to build on the Chorley result. However, the weather would have meant we would have not played anyway. What we did avoid was a difficult midweek game this week.

“The break also allows players to rest those niggling injuries, aches and pains that players often carry from one game to another.

“The Chorley result showed the character and determination that these players have. At half-time in awful conditions some players would have given up for the day, but not these lads. Their professional pride is amazing. They know they can play with the top teams and they always want to prove themselves.

“Tamworth are very well organised defensively as their record this season shows. We will probably have to be patient and attempt to break them down slowly. They are a threat going forward and I expect them to be in the promotion mix at the end of the season.

“The Christmas/New Year period is always testing but a good set of results will achieve two things. It will give us the points that ensure we are in this division, at least, next season, and keep us in the promotion battle.

“Some people think it’s odd when I say the first target is 46 points but that is what is usually needed to avoid a relegation battle. The sooner you have those points, the sooner you can concentrate on looking at promotion.

“This division is so difficult to predict because everybody is capable of beating everybody else. As always, one or two clubs will see their form greatly improve or dip and that will make for interesting changes in the table.”

It is hoped that both Adam Nicklin and Danny Hone will finally have recovered from injuries and be back in the squad. If so, it will leave Heath with some interesting choices as the team has performed well in their absence.

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

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