It is common knowledge in any sport that a long time to dwell on defeats is never a good thing so a game on New Year’s Day could be the perfect tonic for Steve Housham and his side following their 1-0 defeat at home to York on Boxing Day. What makes this fixture even more ideal is the fact that it is against the same opponents that inflicted the defeat less than a week ago. Ferriby will now travel to Bootham Crescent as clear underdogs, a tag which hasn’t been too much of a burden this season. Whilst they will be expected to lose again Ferriby should travel to York with nothing to fear. The Minstermen got a scrappy goal in the first half which was enough for the win but they certainly weren’t spectacular and Ferriby created enough chances in the second half to have earned at least a point.
Having spoken to the management duo Steve Housham and Darryn Stamp this week the message they have put across to the players is clear, York are not to be feared. The aim will be to quieten the large home crowd and make them restless because despite beating Ferriby on Boxing Day they are still in the relegation zone and their fans will have expected them to be much higher than that at the start of the season. If Ferriby can start the game well the atmosphere may well turn tense which will hopefully affect the York players and allow the Ferriby players to grow in confidence.
Results didn’t go Steve Housham’s way on Boxing Day. Guiseley won at home to high flying Lincoln, this combined with York’s victory over Ferriby dropped The Villagers to the bottom of the National League. They will be determined not to stay there and a revenge win tomorrow would be the perfect start to 2017 for everyone involved with North Ferriby United.
Tactical Analysis: How can Ferriby reverse the result?
When the teams first stepped onto the pitch on Boxing Day the size difference between the two sides was clear to see. York are a much bigger side man for man than Ferriby and their increased physical stature was evident in the game especially in the first half. Housham felt Ferriby lacked their usual spirit in the first half and this may be due to the imposing figures they were facing. They gave York too much respect and time on the ball and appeared to think twice before putting a tackle in or going for a 50/50 ball. This is perhaps not surprising with the young Ferriby players coming up against the likes of Jon Parkin who has struck fear into defenders throughout the football league with his huge frame. The simple fact is though this cannot happen again if Ferriby hope to get the three points tomorrow. They must be braver and not be scared to stick a foot in every now and again even if it means getting clattered. To their credit Ferriby’s largely young squad have acquitted themselves very well against physical sides this season and they are learning all the time so one off day can be forgiven. This season is a huge learning curve and hopefully they will have learnt a lesson from Boxing Day. Housham will no doubt encourage his players not to be bullied and to instead impose themselves on the game. If they can do that and get under the York players’ skins it may well be a different story at Bootham Crescent tomorrow.
It’s also fair to say the wind played a huge factor in the reverse fixture. It suited York’s players because it meant the ball was up in the air a lot and their taller players were able to win headers for fun. Hopefully the conditions will be less severe tomorrow and this will allow Ferriby to get the ball down and play. If this is the case the pace of former York player Reece Thompson will certainly be a worry for York and he would love nothing more than to score the winner at the home of his old club.
Player Focus: Ben Middleton
Under the previous regime Ben Middleton didn’t get much of a look in and often found himself on the bench. As has been the case with several players this season though he has been given a regular first team spot and he has grasped his chance with both hands. He has playing above himself throughout this season and he was rewarded for that on Boxing Day. Injuries to Simon Russell and Stephen Brogan had left Steve Housham without a Captain. He chose to give the armband to young Middleton on Boxing Day for his consistently excellent performances.
Housham commented that Middleton was surprised and taken aback by the decision but he grasped the chance with both hands and despite the defeat he barely put a foot wrong again especially when having to deal with Jon Parkin. The experience will have been great for him and he will be looking to continue leading the young squad by example tomorrow.
A decent following is expected from The Villagers faithful who will be keen to cheer the boys onto victory. One thing is for certain the fans are 100% behind the team and Steve Housham and they would love to continue their New Year celebrations with three points tomorrow.
Up The Villagers!
(Photo Credits: Mark Leighton)