It’s one of football’s most well known clichés that when you are down at the bottom of the table you don’t get the luck and decisions that the top teams do. This may seem like a bitter attitude to have but the point was illustrated perfectly during the Dover game on Saturday. Ferriby had just gone ahead from a fantastic Curtis Bateson free kick but then the moment of real controversy happened. Dover’s Ross Lafayette went in for a header with Ben Middleton. He smashed Middleton in the face with his elbow in what looked a horrific challenge. The Ferriby players and management were up in arms instantly but the referee Martin Coy only produced a yellow card. Everyone in the ground could see it should have been a red card but somehow the referee thought differently. Lafayette went on to have a hand in both goals for Dover which made the decision even more gutting.
Ferriby were also denied a penalty in the first half when Curtis Bateson was brought down in the area. It looked like a certain penalty but the referee said no so it was safe to say Coy was not a popular man at full time. The opinion of the referee got even worse after the game when Steve Housham revealed that when Ross Armstrong had questioned him on the elbow incident the referee replied “The league table doesn’t lie does it” which clearly implies that he had it set in his mind that Ferriby would get nothing from the game and he wouldn’t be allowing any controversial decisions to go their way. Housham has avoided blaming referees this season after any game but this time was different, he was absolutely fuming and rightly so. Ferriby are already facing an uphill battle to survive so to feel like the referee was against them as well would have felt like a massive kick in the teeth. If it is true that the referee made such comments then quite frankly that is nothing short of disgusting.
On a more positive note the club have been in the limelight more than ever in the past few days. Ironically the five minutes of fame is not due to Ferriby’s exploits but rather the giant killing exploits of their next opponents Lincoln City. On Saturday lunchtime Lincoln travelled to the previously impenetrable Turf Moor to face Burnley in the FA Cup. Their cup run was already beyond any expectations but nobody saw the result at Burnley coming. Lincoln were excellent against an almost full strength Burnley and the scenes at the end when they scored the winner were an inspiration to all non league clubs.
Lincoln’s manager, former PE teacher Danny Cowley has worked wonders at Lincoln and his professionalism has rubbed off on his players. Following the game it would have been expected that his players would have been talking about massive celebrations that night. Instead they gave quite the opposite response. The goal scoring hero for Lincoln, Sean Raggett, said after the game “We have no time for celebrations, we have North Ferriby away on Tuesday”. That comment went viral on twitter and it has put Ferriby in the media spotlight. They were mentioned several times on Match of the Day on Saturday and Steve Housham appeared on the Hawksbee and Jacobs show on TalkSport to look ahead to the game.
They say any publicity is good publicity so this has been welcomed by the club and understandably so. The Eon Visual Media Stadium will be packed to the rafters on Tuesday and hopefully Ferriby can slay the FA Cup giantkillers and that may well prolong their 5 minutes of fame for a few more days.