Southport v NFU (NLN 17-18)

Southport  v North Ferriby United  
 Vanarama National League North
Saturday 4 November  2017
 Kick-off 3.00pm

Ferriby travel to Southport on Saturday for a Vanarama National League North fixture. Southport were one of the sides relegated alongside Ferriby last season. The Sandgrounders  are currently 17th in the league table with 19 points.

Southport started the season well but have won only once in their last nine league games and have slipped down the table. Their last game was an away draw at AFC Telford United.

 The Lancashire side have won two, drawn three and lost three of  their eight home games. Steve Housham’s team really need to have the confidence that they can return home with at least a point.

Ferriby remain rooted to the bottom of the table. It is obvious that goals and points are needed quickly. Neither happened at Leamington last Saturday. The Leamington game was a poor advert for National League North football. The game was devoid of atmosphere both on and off the pitch; it was almost like a training game. Neither side really looked like creating scoring chances as is evidenced by Leamington’s opener coming from a defensive mistake and the other two from needless penalties.

The introduction of Darnelle Bailey-King gave The villagers some impetus in the final 15 minutes and they could have given some respectability to the scoreline, if not the result, with a bit of luck,.

Manager Steve Housham comments,

“Last Saturday’s performance was not good enough against a side that looked to be quite poor. We could have taken something from the game with a more positive performance. We started well but then conceded an early goal. Unfortunately, heads went down and we struggled to make  any kind of impact until the final 15 minutes.

“By then it was too late as we were three down. All the goals were poor from our point of view. We didn’t clear the throw-in for the first goal and the two penalties could have been avoided with slightly cooler defending.

“Many of the players are young and at the moment they seem scared to make a mistake. However, ‘playing safe’ is not always the best choice. Players have to take risks at times and do the unexpected to create chances and make the  other side think.

“Stampy and myself are trying to make training fun and are looking to put smiles back on the players faces. To be fair to the players, they work hard in training and display plenty of skill. So it’s frustrating when they can’t bring it in to a game . We have to give them that confidence and they have to recognise that they are good enough to play at this level.

“We will continue to take it one game at a time and look for consistency of performance. Southport are not in a great run of form and we have to try and capitalise on that. We need to look at their record and realise that it is possible for a change of fortune. They started well and have now dropped down the table. We have to believe that we can get a  good run of results and start heading upwards.

With Darnelle Bailey-King, Joel Ambalu and Kuda Muskwe, Housham has two players who have the pace to tear defences apart. However, they need to be prepared to chase the ball more regularly. At this level, it is not going to get played in to their feet too often. The midfield needs to be trying to get probing balls past the back-four for the strikers to chase. Hopeful long balls from the back or midfield are not playing to the strikers’ strengths. Defensively, there needs to be more concentration in the penalty area because opponents must be made to work harder for goals.

A good result on Saturday could provide the confidence the side needs and lead to some consistent performances in coming weeks.

Housham will be without Danny Emerton and Joe Pugh who have a long-term injuries. Bobby Johnson is doubtful due to illness. Mason Warren returns after a one-game suspension.

Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant, Lewis Exall, Jordon Cooke, Jake Picton, Mark Gray, Jake Skelton, Kojo Kyei, Ross Barrows, Simon Russell, Callum Rzonca, Bobby Johnson, Russ Fry,  Jack Barlow, Joel Ambalu, Curtis Bateson, Kuda Muskwe,  Yannick Gomes, Darnelle-Bailey-King



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