Evostik Northern Premier League Premier Division
Stafford Rangers 0 North Ferriby United 2
Ferriby kept their five point lead at the top of the Evostik Premier Division with a deserved victory at Stafford Rangers. The Villagers gave a thoroughly professional performance on a difficult playing surface that made it difficult to play passing football.
Stafford put Ferriby under pressure in the first 20 minutes with winger Courtney Pitt prominent in most of their attacks. However, Ferriby's defence dealt competently with the crosses that were fired in and limited the home side to just one clear opportunity. This came after 12 minutes when Steve Gardner cleared Danny Quinn's shot off the line.
Ferriby took the lead after 22 minutes. Nathan Peat's beautifully flighted free-kick found Liam King unmarked at the far post. The midfielder's header clipped the inside of the post and rebounded across the goal area where Russ Fry pounced to fire home from close-range.
The goal was against the run-of-play but it seemed to take the steam out of Stafford. Ferriby's midfield gradually took control with King and Chris Bolder prompting Fry and Ryan Williams forward.
Jack Muldoon and Ryan Kendall gave the home defenders a torrid afternoon as they struggled to deal with the pace, movement and control of the two strikers.
Despite their pressure, Ferriby only once went close to a second goal. Fry's free-kick found Williams on the right and his cross was headed just wide by Mark Gray.
Ferriby's dominance continued throughout the second-half. The back four of Peat Gray, Gregg Anderson and Gardner were magnificent. They dealt with high balls magnificently and stood their ground when Stafford tried to play on the ground. Keeper Adam Nicklin had a faultless afternoon and handled well under pressure from Stafford's attackers at set pieces. Ferriby were so dominant in midfield and defence that Nicklin was not forced in to saving a shot all afternoon.
Ferriby should perhaps have doubled their lead after 54 minutes. Williams' pass played in Kendall but his lob over the advancing keeper Adam Alcock went wide.
Williams and Kendall combined again but Alcock did well to turn Kendall's shot for a corner. Alcock then somehow managed to stretch himself enough to turn King's chip away for corner.
Kendall finally got the goal he and Ferriby deserved in added time. A Stafford clearance was met by Gray whose thumping header went back past the defence giving Kendall the chance to run-on the ball and place the ball past Alcock.
Manager Billy Heath was delighted with his team's display, "It was a gutsy, gritty, determined and professional performance. We played them out of the game after the first 20 minutes."
NFU: Adam Nicklin, Steve Gardner, Nathan Peat, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Mark Gray, Russell Fry, Chris Bolder (Steve Ridley 71), Jack Muldoon (Danny Clarke 71), Ryan Kendall Ryan Williams, Non-playing subs: Ben Hunter, Dean Lisles, Antoni Pecora
Stafford Rangers:Adam Alcock, Jimmy Turner, Oliver Davies, Liam Walshe, Ryan Dicker, Michael Carr, Levi Reid, Lee Downes, Simin Everall (Dean Oliver59), Danny Quinn, Courtney Pitt (Fabrice Kasiama 61). Non-playing subs:, Luke George, Ryan Brown, , Jordan Wood