Oxford City 1 NFU 1 (VCN)

Vanarama Conference North
Wednesday 4th March 2015

Oxford City 1  North Ferriby United  1          Att: 177

A Ferriby side showing a number of changes due to injuries gained a more than deserved point at promotion-chasing Oxford City. Jonathan Hedges, an England C i9nternaional, signed on loan from AFC Telford, made his debut in goal for The Villagers in place of the injured Adam Nicklin.

Ferriby opened brightly wit Tom Denton going close twice in the first six minutes. His first attempt after three minutes was particularly unlucky as his header hit the back of Oxford goalkeeper Salva de la Cruz.

Oxford responded witha a 25-yard shot from Tom Winters that went narrowly wide. Winters was a thorn in Ferriby’s side throughout the first-half in particular with his forays down the left-hand side.

Although the half was end-to-end, Oxford carried the greater threat, no doubt boosted by Sunday’s 7-1 win at Gloucester. That said, Ferriby’s defence played superbly to limit goal-scoring chances. With The Villagers’ midfield pressing hard Oxford were finding it hard to dominate.

Felipe Barcelos, Luke Coulson and W inters all fired shots at Hedge who dealt comfortably with them. Ferriby had a bit of  scare after 32 minutes when a Paul Stonehouse escaoed Hedge’s grasp before being cleared. Immediately afterwards, Oxford had a goal disallowed for off-side.

Ferriby saw a Ryan Kendall parried by de la Cruz and the keeper twice punched crosses away under pressure. Curtis Bateson planted a header in to the keeper’s hands as both sides looked for clear openings.

Ferriby had the better of the second-half. Danny Clarke shot over the bar and Adam Bolder drew a divin save from the keeper.

The Villagers took the lead after 57 minutes. Sam Topliss’s high ball into the area was missed by a defender and this allowed Danny Hone to head home from 10 yards. The goal, to some extent, summed-up Oxford’s performance. They look good going forward but are far less assured when having to defend.

Ferriby’s lead lasted nine minutes. Winter found space on the left and his low cross was met at the far post by Declan Benjamin who had a simple tap-in. Given how well they had d efended, The Villagers will have been rather disappointed with the equaliser.

Hedge had to gather two shots as Oxford pressed forward for a brief period.

The final 10 minutes, plus added time, saw Ferriby go close to clinching all three points. Nathan Jarman fired into the side-netting from a narrow angle. De la Silva made two good saves within 30 seconds of each other to deny Bolder and Denton.

Jarman drew a great save from the keeper who was relieved to see the rebound shot from Russ Fry deflected by  a defender. Ferriby’s last attack saw Jarman hit a free-kick that was held by the keeper.

This was a very good performance victory  Ferriby. After the high emotion of Saturday’s victory over Bath there was always the possibility that The Villagers would, perhaps, not be at their best. However, this was a superb professional performance and there is no doubt that they fully deserved their point.

Manager Billy Heath commented, “It was an excellent performance against a side that is very strong going forward and plays good football. We pressed them in midfield and defended well when they did break through. My players were fully committed. They showed a fantastic attitude and worked hard. The players are competing for places and the performance us what we expected. ”

NFU: Jonathan Hedge, Sam Topliss, Nathan Peat, Adam Bolder, Matt Wilson, Danny Hone, Danny Clarke, Russell Fry, Tom Denton, Ryan Kendall (Nathan Jarman 50), Curtis Bateson(Jon D’Laryea 77).     Subs not used: Tom Nicholson, Louis Bruce,  Mark Gray,

Oxford City: Salva de la Cruz, Luke Coulson,  Paul Stonehouse, Jose Lapoujade, Alejandro Santiago,  Lee Henderson  (Javier Rodriguez  61) Mamadou Fifani, Darren Pond (Declan Benjamin 13),   Adi Yussuf, Felipe Barcelos  (Lewis Wilson 83), Tom Winters. Subs not used: Ander del Alamo, Mark Scott

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