Ferriby went into today’s game against Southport on the back of a run of 6 games in which they had only managed to trouble the scorers once. That one goal got them three vital points away at Gateshead but there is no denying that a lack of goals is a problem for Ferriby and unfortunately that proved our undoing again today.
The visitors started brightly and had Ferriby immediately on the back foot. Ryan Higgins was running the show and seemed to have too much time on the ball in midfield. The first chance of the game was created when Higgins crossed for an unmarked James Gray at the back stick. He took his shot first time but dragged it wide of the left hand post with Rory Watson beaten. Higgins then had a half chance himself when he was allowed to ghost forward from midfield before hitting a shot from just outside the area that was easy for Watson to save as it was straight at him. The next chance for the visitors was a big one and they should have scored. Mark O’Brien was unmarked as a corner came in but he put his header well wide.
After a slow start Ferriby began to get their foot on the ball and worked their way into the game. Reece Thompson has looked like a promising acquisition in his first few games especially in the win at Gateshead when he got the winner and he was the man who looked a danger for the Villagers today. His first half chance came when he sprinted to close down the visiting goalkeeper Magnus Norman. Norman sliced his clearance straight into Thompson but unfortunately the ball bounced off him and back into the grasp of Norman before Thompson could pounce. He then began linking up with Taron Hare who was also impressive in the first half. Hare won a free kick on the edge of the area after good build up play involving Thompson. The free kick was poor and came to nothing but soon after Thompson was influencing the game again when he had a couple of shots on target in quick succession.
It probably wasn’t a surprise that Ferriby’s best chance of the half came from Thompson. Ferriby broke from a Southport corner and Simon Russell received the ball out wide before making a beeline for the box. He played an excellent ball through to Thompson who cut back inside to beat his marker before seeing his shot crash against the crossbar and bounce away to safety. The villagers would live to rue this miss late in the first half.
In first half stoppage time Southport opened the scoring. An excellent cross came in from the right wing and Liam Nolan found himself unmarked at the back post to stroke his shot home. This was a sucker punch to say the least and it gave the struggling visitors a real lift going into the break.
HT North Ferriby United 0-1 Southport
Going into today’s game Southport had the worst defence in the National League after shipping 27 goals in 11 games which brought Ferriby’s lack of strike power further into perspective as they never looked like finding an equaliser in the second half.
Ferriby’s only bright moments in the half came from the same source as the first half, Thompson. He saw a header fly over the bar from close range when he probably should have scored and he was then through one on one with the goalkeeper only to be denied by a fantastic tackle from O’Brien. Worryingly Southport seemed extremely comfortable throughout the second half as Ferriby struggled to retain possession. Thompson was subbed bizarrely in my opinion as he was our biggest threat by some distance.
When Ferriby went forward in the first half they looked dangerous against the shaky visiting defence. The second half however couldn’t have been more different as the strikers didn’t get any service and in the last quarter of the game Ferriby resorted to a long ball game that never looked like coming to fruition. Southport held out to claim a vital three points for them to bring them to within one point of the Villagers. Ferriby now face a tough trip to 9th placed Macclesfield and they will need to be far more clinical in front of goal to pick up anything from that game.
FT North Ferriby United 0-1 Southport
Following Ferriby Man of the Match: Reece Thompson
North Ferriby United: Watson, Topliss, Gray, Middleton, Hare, Skelton, Oliver, Russell ©, Fallowfield, Robinson, Thompson. Subs: Kendall, Emerton, Fosu-Mensa, Armstrong, Stamp
Southport: Norman, Higgins, Howe ©, O’Brien, Ashton, Jones, Lussey, Nolan (Goal 45+1), Caton, Gray, Allen. Subs: Mulhearn, Cofie, Weeks, Thompson, Moseley