We are well and truly down to the business end of the season. Before kick off Ferriby had three games remaining and they knew that barring a huge overhaul in goal difference victory in all three matches would be enough to secure the title for the villagers. Harrogate Town were the first of Ferriby’s three opponents and this was set up to be a tricky game. Harrogate could not make the playoffs meaning they were under no pressure and they are known for being a good footballing side. They demolished Ferriby 5-0 earlier in the season so Billy Heath’s side couldn’t afford to underestimate them.
Ferriby started the game well and didn’t look like a team shackled with nerves. They had the first chance early on when Jamie Yates curled a free kick from 25 yards. The shot was heading into the net but for a great save by Craig McGillvray. Yates was involved in the next chance for Ferriby when he delivered a delicious cross that was headed wide by Liam King.
Ferriby took the lead a few minutes later. The ball was looped over the top. Anthony Wilson was too quick for McGillvray and reached the ball first. The Harrogate goalkeeper brought down Wilson as he tried to go round him and a penalty was given. The ever reliable Nathan Jarman stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, 1-0
This seemed to spark the Visitors and Harrogate quickly equalised through Ashley Worsfold who hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area. 1-1. Harrogate continued to press and soon took the lead much to the dismay of the home crowd. Anton Brown picked up the ball in midfield and unleashed a pile driver from 35 yards. Adam Nicklin got a hand to it but couldn’t stop the ball hitting the top left hand corner of the net. 1-2
This was the final incident of the first half and Harrogate managed to preserve their lead until the break. HT 1-2
Harrogate picked up where they had left of in the first half and had the first chance of the second half. Liam Hardy was sent clean through on goal but he could only shoot wide. This was a huge let off for Ferriby. Ferriby finally sparked into life again and had the next chance when Danny Clarke crossed towards the back post and Jamie Yates met the cross but could only head straight at the goalkeeper. Jamie Yates was stretchered off soon after with an ankle ligament injury which was a real shame because he was playing exceptionally well and has had his season cut short.
Ferriby equalised in the 64th minute through Mark Gray. Ferriby won a free kick on the left hand side of the pitch. Russell Fry crossed the ball in and Gray rose highest to head home from close range. 2-2. Just five minutes later Ferriby took the lead. The ball was crossed to Nathan Jarman who held the ball up well and chested the ball down to Anthony Wilson who took a touch and smashed the ball into the net from close range to the delight of the home crowd. It felt like a special and important goal and the ground was bouncing! 3-2
The final 20 minutes of the game turned into the Adam Nicklin show with the Ferriby keeper saving the villagers on numerous occasions in a nervy final period of the match. Harrogate hit Ferriby several times on the break as the villagers tried to find an elusive fourth goal. The best chance for Harrogate came just before stoppage time when Nicklin dived low to stop a shot that was destined for the back of the net after the Harrogate striker had been clean through, Adam Nicklin wasn’t the only hero for Ferriby though. Danny Hone also pulled of a fantastic last ditch tackle in the box that could have gone wrong and resulted in a penalty. Luckily for Ferriby they managed to avoid conceding again and held on for a vital three points. FT 3-2
This felt like a huge win for Ferriby and the villagers had to work extremely hard for the three points, Telford also won so the situation hasn’t changed. Ferriby are still top on goal difference (at the time of writing) A large crowd of 663 watched the game and the extra support could be felt around the ground, especially when the third goal went in. I hope a similarly large crowd will be present on the final day against Brackley to cheer on the villagers and see them hopefully win the league title.
Man of the Match: Adam Nicklin
Match Report by Sam Shepherd.