Tamworth v NFU (NLN17-18)

Tamworth v North Ferriby United 
 National League North
Friday 30  March 2018
 Kick-off 7.45pm

After two games against promotion-chasing sides. The Villagers will spend the Easter weekend playing teams trying to avoid relegation. If either Tamworth or Gainsborough feel they could have a comfortable task against Ferriby, they will have realised that Chris Bolder’s team is not going to lie down for anybody after taking four points from Salford and Blyth.

Those two games sum-up both the improved performances in recent weeks and the competitive attitude that permeates the squad.

The Villagers travel to Tamworth on Good Friday for a rare Friday game. Whilst Friday night may not be the best time to play, it does provide an extra day’s rest for the players ahead of Monday’s home game against Gainsborough.

The reverse fixture against Tamworth at the beginning of September saw the sides battle out a goalless draw at The Eon Visual Stadium. Tamworth will be facing a much changed Ferriby side on Friday. The game will be played on Tamworth’s 4G pitch. Many people still do not like artificial pitches but many teams now train on one so most players are used to the type of surface.

Looking at Tamworth’s home form, the pitch seems to give them little advantage. Of their 18 games, they have won six, drawn six and lost six. They have scored 28 goals and conceded 27.

The Lambs are having a difficult season. They are one place and one point above the drop-zone. A win is vital for them as they have played more games than the teams immediately above and below them. Ferriby will go in to the game playing for their pride and, of course, to prove to Bolder that they are the basis for  side that compete in the Northern Premier League next season.

Tamworth’s last home win was on New Year’s Day against Nuneaton. Since then, they have drawn four and lost one. The last game at home was a 0-0 draw with Darlington. Those figures will provide Ferriby with some confidence that they can come back with at least a pint. However, it will not be easy against a side that knows it really must win. The tension that will bring to Tamworth could help Ferriby.

Jordan Cooke’s first goal for The Villagers sealed Saturday’s win against Blyth Spartans and dented the visitors’ promotion challenge. It was an excellent performance from Ferriby. Blyth’s fans were highly complimentary about James Piercey but it was Cooke’s man-of-the-match performance that earned him a place in the National League North team of the day. The young defender had to be very patient last season but he has earned his stripes this year with a string of solid performances and an increased quality and maturity in his play.

The whole team played well against Blyth. The victory saw Ferriby complete the double over the north-east side and it was also The Villagers’ first home win of the season.

Bolder commented after the game,
“This win was fully deserved. We knew we would have to surrender possession and territory at times the game. That’s how it was against Blyth.

“I felt they got a bit desperate at times. They found us hard to break us down because  we defended extremely well.

“Our two centre-backs (James Mail and Jack Piercey) were  phenomenal. They have played against some excellent forwards in the Blyth and Salford games and they’ve handled themselves well.

“Jamie Forrester was outstanding. He put in a brilliant free-kick for the goal.

“The front lads are  working hard. James Nichols  is  an intelligent footballer who is still learning.  He makes good runs both on and off the ball.

“We appreciate with how the fans are getting behind us. It was nice for them to see home victory today. Those who’ve been coming recently will have seen this result and performance coming.”

Looking towards Friday’s game, Bolder has this to say,

 “We’re in good form  given that we are in a  rebuilding process. We’ve got 2 wins, 2 draws, and one  defeat in our last five games.

“We have to take our recent form in to the Tamworth game. They will be looking for all three points to aid their relegation fight. It isn’t quite make or break time for them but their players may be feeling some  tension. If so, we have to play on that.

 “It will be a new experience playing on Friday night  on a4g pitch under floodlights. Teams are now realising that playing us is not a formality. We are difficult to break down now. Tamworth will have to be at at full-tilt to win the game.

“We also owe it to the other sides in the division to give our best right to the end. At the moment, all our remaining games are against sides who are  in need of points for one reason or another.

“The lads are relishing all the challenges that are being thrown at them and they must take huge credit for how they are progressing at the minute. Each player is so determined to improve and work hard for their team-mates which has been evident in recent weeks.

“It’s the same message that Paul and myself will keep delivering from now until the end of the season. We may some little blips on the way but, hopefully, these will be less frequent as we move forward.

“We have a long way to go but hopefully we can keep this group of players together.

In some ways we are now in a long pre-season mode and we can develop the players in preparation for next season.”

Bolder should have virtually all his squad to choose from. Alex Davidson still has a hip injury. Jordan Deacey has left the club.

Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant,  Lewis Exall,  Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Jordon Cooke, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Paul Robson, Adam Bolder, Luke Lofts, AJ George, Lewis Collins, George Harrison, Jamie Forrester, Brett Agnew, James Piercey, Josh Walker, James Nicholls, Alex Bannister


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