Following last week’s defeat at Braintree this game had taken on more importance as Ferriby found themselves rooted to the foot of the National League Table. Dover occupied the final playoff spot going into the game so it was going to be tough to get something from the game but with league leaders Lincoln visiting Ferriby on Tuesday this game had to be targeted by Steve Housham and his side.
It was the visitors who started the game on the front foot and Ferriby’s old nemesis Ricky Miller was looking dangerous. Dover won a penalty after just 7 minutes. Ross Lafayette showed good pace to beat Ben Middleton to the ball in the box. Middleton’s tackle was late and he brought Lafayette down for a stonewall penalty. Miller stepped up to take it but his penalty was poor. It was struck slightly to Rory Watson’s right but nowhere near the corner and Watson comfortable saved it.
Less than a minute later Ferriby had a penalty shout turned down at the other end. Curtis Bateson had beaten his marker and he was brought down from behind. It looked a certain penalty but the referee waved it away claiming it was a “shoulder to shoulder” challenge. The Ferriby players and management were incensed and they would be again later in the game….
The rest of the first half consisted of half chances for both teams. Reece Thompson saw a curling shot from 25 yards turned behind for a corner and Rory Watson was winning his battle with Ricky Miller at the other end as he denied the Dover striker three more times before half time. Ferriby played well for much of the half and won a succession of corners but they were unable to create any clear cut chances which was frustrating.
HT North Ferriby United 0-0 Dover Athletic
Ferriby had the perfect start to the second half when they took the lead in the 48th minute. A free kick was awarded on the right hand side of the “D”, 20 yards out. Curtis Bateson stepped up to shoot and instead of going over the wall into the top right hand corner he gave the keeper the eyes and put it across the keeper and into the opposite top corner. It was a brilliant goal and moments of real quality like that have been lacking this season.
Less than a minute after Ferriby took the lead the real controversial moment of the match happened. Ross Lafayette went in for a header against Ben Middleton. Lafayette hit Middleton in the face with his elbow. The challenge looked horrific and there is no doubt Lafayette should have been sent off but the escaped with a yellow card. This decision would prove pivotal in Ferriby’s downfall.
Dover got the equaliser in the 56th minute after Rory Watson miss his punch as he tried to deal with a cross. The ball fell to Joe Healey who had a tap in. Dover then began to dominate as they searched for a winner and that is what they got in the 70th minute. A cross to the back post wasn’t dealt with as Watson decided to come too late and the ball wasn’t cleared. The ball was knocked down to Aswad Thomas who like Healey before him had a tap in to give Dover the lead. It is worth noting that Lafayette was heavily involved in the build up to both goals.
Ferriby tried their best to pick themselves up to find an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and they were once again left deflated after another home defeat. This time was different though because they quite rightly felt aggrieved by the performance of the referee. Steve Housham was incensed as he accused the ref of being a “Dover fan” and he was told by Ross Armstrong that he said “well the league table doesn’t lie does it” when Armstrong questioned why Lafayette wasn’t sent off. If true that is extremely disappointing to hear and puts across the attitude that you might as well not bother if you are near the bottom because certain referees won’t give you a fair game.
FT North Ferriby United 1-2 Dover Athletic
Ferriby have to pick themselves up from this to face FA Cup heroes Lincoln City on Tuesday. Ferriby will be hoping Lincoln still have their victory at Burnley on their minds but this is unlikely as they are a very professional side. With this in mind it will need to be one hell of a performance to get something from the game. One thing is for certain though the Ferriby players will be using their anger from this defeat as motivation and that will ensure they are ready for the challenge Lincoln will give them.
Following Ferriby Man of the Match: Jake Skelton