Stalybridge Celtic v NFU (NLN)

Vanarama National League North
Stalybridge Celtic v  NFU

Tuesday 12 April 2016
 Kick-off 7.45 pm

Ferriby travel to Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday for a rearranged fixture.  The game has been postponed twice due to a waterlogged pitch. This will be the fourth  meeting between the sides this season. The two games were in the FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying and both ended in draws. Ferriby were denied a win in the first game at Stalybridge by an equaliser deep in to added time. The replay saw The Villagers go out in a penalty shoot-out. The reverse league fixture at the Eon Visual media Stadium ended in a narrow 1-0 win for The Villagers.

Stalybridge seemed to be heading for mid-table security but have been drawn back in to the relegation fight. They will, obviously, be looking for three points on Tuesday.  They go in to Tuesday’s game on the back of two successive home games against two of Ferriby’s play-off challengers.

Last Tuesday they drew with AFC Fylde but suffered a 5-2 defeat to Nuneaton Town on Saturday. They have scored 55 goals but their defensive record of 69 conceded is one of the worst in the division. That said. The Villagers have found it difficult to break them down in their three meetings this season.

 The Villagers have the second- highest-scoring attack in the Vanarama National League with 75 goals in their 37 games. They also have the sec0nd-best defensive record with 42 goals against.  Ferriby go in to the game with a six game unbeaten run behind them. The five wins and a single draw have propelled them back up to second place after Saturday’s impressive win at AFC Fylde.

Manager illy Heath was absolutely delighted with the win and the performance,

“That was a magnificent display from start to finish.  The first half was as good an away display as we have produced all season.  The lads were tremendous and worked extremely hard to score three goals against a very good side”.

That victory saw Ferriby leap-frog The Coasters back in to second-spot. They may not be in second spot by Tuesday evening though. Fylde play Bradford Park Avenue at home on Tuesday and a win would see them go one point ahead of Ferriby. However, The Villagers will have two games in hand.

The promotion race remains pretty much a six-horse race. Ferriby are the only side that can deny Solihull the title but to do so requires Solihull to lose their remaining three games and Ferriby to win all theirs. Nobody sees Solihull losing all their games. One win will guarantee Ferriby’s play-off spot but the real battle now is for position so as to get maximum home advantage in the play-off semi-finals.

 Harrogate’s defeat on Saturday leaves them three points behind Ferriby in fourth place with Boston a further three points behind in fifth.  Nuneaton are the only other play-off contender, They are four points behind Boston but have two games in hand and a much better goal-difference.

 Manager Billy Heath comments,

“It’s always a difficult game at Stalybridge. Our games with them are usually tight affairs and it’s not likely to be any different on  Tuesday. They are a physically strong side and it’s going to be a very tough game.

“They have been pulled back in to the relegation battle and will be desperate to get at least a
“We need another performance like Saturday’s (at AFC Fylde). We have played ourselves in to a very strong position and we now need to try and clinch second place.

“The players have done magnificently this season but, to some extent, you are only as good as your next game.”

Heath should have a full squad to choose from on Tuesday.

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

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