November had started so well for North Ferriby United as they went three games unbeaten including a home win over Sutton. Unfortunately two tough away games meant the month ended on a sour note as Ferriby were beaten by Solihull and Chester without troubling the scorers. Today’s game was the first in the always busy festive period and Steve Housham will have been hoping to get December underway with a bang. The visitors were Gateshead who Ferriby defeated in the reverse fixture in September. This was the chance for Ferriby to create another slice of history by defeating a team twice in a season at this level for the first time. With lofty playoff ambitions still very much achievable for Gateshead they will have had other ideas.
Ferriby began the day bottom of the table and have had well documented problems in front of goal but as they have in the last few home games they looked very dangerous from the start. Reece Thompson was back in the starting 11 and his pace gave the Gateshead defenders immediate problems. He seems to have struck up a decent partnership with loanee Kyle Wootton who has a great ability to hold the ball up and distribute it effectively. Both of the Ferriby strikers had shots saved early on as Dan Hanford in the Gateshead net was alert to the danger.
Despite the positive start from Ferriby Gateshead should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when their top scorer Danny Johnson was through one on one with Rory Watson but the extremely talented young goalkeeper was on hand to deny him. Paddy McLaughlin was the next to have a chance but he pulled his shot well wide when he was well positioned.
Having weathered the storm slightly Ferriby then began to dominate the midfield area as Ross Armstrong and Ryan Fallowfield buzzed around like terriers and broke up Gateshead attacks with ease. The opening goal of the game came in the 31st minute. Taron Hare hit a beautiful cross into the box and Reece Thompson timed his run to perfection to get a toe to the ball to prod it past the advancing goalkeeper and into the net. It was Thompson who got the winner in the away fixture and the Gateshead defence will certainly have been sick of the sight of him.
Both sides had a chance before half time. The first fell the way of the visitors. A cross from the right was met by Johnson but his header came crashing back off the bar and was cleared. Ryan Fallowfield then almost doubled Ferriby’s lead on the stroke of half time but his shot was well saved by a diving Hanford.
HT North Ferriby United 1-0 Gateshead
The second half was played in the Ferriby half of the pitch for the majority. The visitors obviously came out of the dressing room with Neil Aspin’s words ringing in their ears because they started the half with much more energy. Wes York came on at half time and he had a big influence on the game.
Gateshead began to pepper the Ferriby goal and Johnson will have been the most frustrated of all their attacking players as he saw a shot hit the post whilst a combination of Watson and his defenders were on hand on several other occasions to deny him. The Ferriby supporters will have had no fingernails left by the end of the game as time after time the ball was pinging around in the Ferriby penalty area like a pinball machine on overdrive. Somehow with a combination of luck and sheer tenacity they managed to keep the ball out of the net.
They did manage a couple of chances themselves. Sam Topliss got the ball on the right hand side of the box, Kyle Wootton had a clear shot on goal if he passed but he tried a shot and he was denied by Hanford. A defensive mix up then almost gave Wootton another chance to double the lead but Hanford was alert enough to dive on the ball just in time.
The game had a bitter sweet ending as Ryan Fallowfield had to be stretchered off with a groin injury after giving absolutely everything as usual. He will have been smiling through gritted teeth a couple of minutes later as the final whistle went and he and his teammates could celebrate another vital home win.
Ferriby certainly rode their luck in this match as the visitors had plenty of chances but the effort level from every player in a green and white shirt was immense and they earnt that luck. Reece Thompson will be delighted to score the winner for the second time this season against Gateshead who travel back to the North East with the unwanted record of being the only team Ferriby have done the double over so far this season.
FT North Ferriby United 1-0 Gateshead
Following Ferriby Man of the Match: Mark Gray
Official Man of the Match: Kyle Wootton
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