After another 2 home defeats in quick succession the situation at the bottom was beginning to look bleak for Steve Housham and his side. They were 7 points from safety with games running out and yesterday they faced arguably the toughest away trip in the National League to face Guiseley. Guiseley had been down at the bottom scrapping with Ferriby all season but they had recently picked up some form and were unbeaten in 12 home league games so even though this was a relegation 6 pointer all the money would have been going on Guiseley before the match.
As you may expect the start of the game was pretty cagey with both teams trying to work each other out. Ferriby had the first half chance when Robbie Tinkler kept the ball in at the by line and crossed it into the danger area but somehow it was cleared. Then Guiseley broke and Rory Watson watched a shot sail over his crossbar. Guiseley took the lead with their first real chance after 13 minutes. A corner was partially cleared but it fell to Will Hatfield who cut inside and curled a shot through a sea of bodies in the box and past Rory Watson into the corner. An exquisite finish from Hatfield and a big early blow to Ferriby.
Despite going behind Ferriby slowly started to work their way back into the game. Mark Gray couldn’t quite jump high enough for a free header at a corner and Matty Dixon failed to connect with the ball after Gray had missed it. Dixon then had another half chance just before half time when he hit a low drive from almost 30 yards out that went just wide of the post. Rory Watson had to be on hand at the other end in first half stoppage time to keep Ferriby in the game. He dived to his right to tip a shot over the bar. A 2-0 Guiseley lead would have been a mountain to climb for Ferriby.
HT Guiseley 1-0 North Ferriby United
Steve Housham must have given one hell of a half time team talk because Ferriby flew out of the blocks in the second half. They played with pace and energy and soon began creating chances. Reece Thompson was very unlucky not to score when he beat the left back for pace before putting a cross/shot in that deflected off a Guiseley defender and onto the inside of the post. Somehow It rebounded away and Ferriby were denied an equaliser.
This chance was the first of many as Ferriby began to dominate. Thompson saw another cross which was deflected and could have gone anywhere before Curtis Bateson had a shot which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Guiseley goalkeeper. When Ferriby have had periods of pressure like this before this season they have sometimes failed to score but not this time. Reece Thompson equalised midway through the second half with a mixture of skill and luck. He picked up the ball on halfway and drove towards the box. The ball just bobbled up in front of him as he took his shot and that along with the strong wind resulted in the ball looping over the goalkeeper’s head and into the empty net. This was no less than Ferriby deserved after a brilliant start to the second half.
Things got even better for Ferriby when Guiseley Captain Danny Lowe was sent off. He was battling for the ball with Reece Thompson. Thompson went down under his challenge and a free kick was given. Lowe then appeared to grab the back of Thompson’s neck while he was on the floor and pushed on it. The referee had a word with his linesman before brandishing the Red Card. This was now a massive opportunity for Ferriby to get the win.
As often happens in football when a team goes down to ten men they look harder to beat and in the next 15 minutes of the game Guiseley were the better side and created several chances. Rory Watson had to make a one on one save from a narrow angle before a cross that only needed a touch past Watson was met by the Guiseley striker who could only tap it straight into Watson’s arms.
Just as it looked like the game would be heading for a slightly frustrating draw Ferriby found a winner. They won a free kick close to halfway in the 87th minute. Sam Topliss launched the ball into the area, Taron Hare headed it down and it fell to the feet of Jake Skelton. Skelton swivelled and smashed a shot into the bottom corner to spark jubilant celebrations amongst the players and the travelling Ferriby supporters. It was a finish any striker would have been proud of from the big centre back and as Steve Housham pointed out after the game it was the least Skelton deserves after being magnificent in recent weeks.
Skelton’s goal was not the end of the story as the home side missed a huge chance to equalise in the 94th minute. The ball was cannoning around in the Ferriby box and somehow they couldn’t clear it. It looked like the ball had been eventually scrambled home but the offside flag was up and Ferriby held on for a massive three points!
FT Guiseley 1-2 North Ferriby United
Following Ferriby Man of the Match: Reece Thompson