A week previous to this match many thought this would be the game that sealed Ferriby’s second successive promotion but sadly it was not to be due to the villagers two nil defeat at Boston on Easter Monday. That defeat along with AFC Telford’s draw at Solihull Moors meant that the villagers trailed Telford by a point going into the game against Brackley. This meant that Ferriby had to win and hope that Gainsborough could beat Telford or hold them to a draw.
Ferriby shot out of the blocks looking to score early to put pressure on Telford because long gone are the days when you had to wait until the final whistle to know another teams result. Liam King had the first half chance for Ferriby when he shot from the edge of the area. His shot was powerful enough but it was too straight and was easily saved. King then set up the next chance when he played the ball through to Ryan Kendall who hammered the ball goalwards but was denied by the Brackley keeper who managed to tip kendall’s drive over the bar.
Ferriby’s next chance fell to an unlikely source, Mark Gray. A corner was crossed in and Gray controlled the ball on his chest before unleashing a brilliant overhead kick that was cleared of the line more by luck than judgement by a Brackley defender. Ferriby were well on top and King and Kendall again combined, this time King crossed the ball into the box and Kendall rose to head the ball back across the goal and wide.
Ferriby finally took the lead after 16 minutes. Another Ferriby cross was launched from midway inside the Brackley half and it evaded everyone apart from Danny Clarke at the back post who stooped to head the ball into the net from 5 yards. 1-0 Could this be Ferriby’s day after all? Well sadly not because less than two minutes later news came through that Telford had opened the scoring against Gainsborough.
Ferriby continued to dominate proceedings and the next player to have a chance was Nathan Jarman who curled a free kick goalwards from 25 yards. His shot was palmed wide by the goalkeeper who then collided with the post. Brackley did eventually start to work their way into the game and had a couple of good chances before half time. The second chance required a brilliant save from Adam Nicklin with his legs. The Brackley striker had a shot but Nicklin got his left leg in the way to deny him. HT 1-0
The second half started slowly and when news filtered through that Telford were two nil up the fans seemed to go flat and this transferred to the players. Ryan Kendall had Ferriby’s best chance of the half when he went on a 30 yard solo run before shooting low towards goal only to be denied by the keeper. Mark Gray and Kendall then both had chances to double the villagers lead. They both had headers from corners that sailed frustratingly wide. Kendall played particularly well for Ferriby and probably deserved a goal that never came.
Similarly to the first half Brackley grew more and more into the game as the half wore on and eventually equalised after 87 minutes. The ball was crossed in low and a goalmouth scramble ensued. The ball was eventually bundled into the net by Ryan Rowe. 1-1 Telford scored their third goal soon after and that spelled the end of the Villagers title hopes. Neither team could create any more chances and the game finished 1-1
Ferriby battled hard and probably deserved to win the game. Ryan Kendall in particular was unlucky on several occasions for the Villagers and on another day he probably would have scored a hat trick. Once news reached the ground that Telford were winning easily the team seemed to go flat and this allowed Brackley back into the game. Billy Heath also made changes with the playoffs in mind to give players such as Josh Wilde a rest. Ferriby now have to dust themselves down after a long title race and prepare for the playoffs. Ferriby face 5th placed Guiseley over two legs and will have home advantage in the playoff final if they can overcome the West Yorkshire side. Guiseley won both regular season matches against Ferriby so I think we owe them one!
Man of the Match: Ryan Kendall
Match Report by Sam Shepherd