It’s strange to think that it’s almost 2 years since Ferriby made history by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley. Even as a non-league game the 2015 FA Trophy final is remembered as one of the best matches to be played at the New Wembley and the semi-final win that earned Ferriby a place in the final was just as dramatic. It’s 2 years to the day since Ferriby welcomed Bath City to the Eon Visual Media Stadium for the second leg of their FA Trophy Semi-Final. Ferriby had thrown away a two goal lead in the first leg so it was all to play for going into the home leg. Our tiny ground was packed to the rafters and a buzz of nervous energy and excitement could be felt around the ground.
The Wembley dream looked like it could have died for Ferriby as early as the second minute when Nick McCootie opened the scoring for Bath. A large contingent of their supporters had travelled north for the game and they were overjoyed with the early goal while a sense of nervousness and disbelief gripped the Ferriby supporters. There was a long way to go but Bath had now turned around the 2-0 deficit completely and held all the aces in the tie. Ferriby couldn’t find an equaliser in the first half and as the second half started the tension grew around the ground. It was beginning to look like the dream was over but they were gifted a golden chance in the 64th minute. Tom Denton was dragged down in the box and Ferriby were awarded a penalty. Liam King took responsibility as he had done in the previous round against Ebsfleet and he buried the spot kick to send the Green and White army into raptures. The Wembley arch was back in sight now they had to find a way to get there.
Neither team found a winner in normal time so an agonising 30 minutes of extra time ensued. In the dying minutes of the second period of extra time Bath should have broken Ferriby’s hearts. They had a glorious chance to win it when David Pratt was through on goal. He put his shot across Adam Nicklin and the net should have bulged but somehow he dragged it inches wide of the post. A huge sigh of relief could be heard around the ground but we couldn’t dwell on that for long because the ultimate test was yet to come. The penalty shoot out.
Ferriby had a pretty good record that season in terms of converting penalties and they had some confident penalty takers in their side so we had reason to be confident. Liam King never looked like missing a penalty that season but you can’t take anything for granted in shoot out situations because the pressure can do strange things to players. It’s happened to great players down the years, especially Englishmen, so none of us were counting our chickens.
Bath were first up in the shoot-out and having just missed a great chance to win the game for them it was perhaps not surprising that Pratt’s penalty was a poor one that Nicklin saved easily. Liam King went first for Ferriby and pulled out his trademark shot into the top left hand corner that we would of course see again at Wembley. We couldn’t believe our luck when Nicklin saved Ross Stearn’s penalty and when Nathan Jarman made it 2-0 to Ferriby we were almost ready to book our Wembley tickets. Adam Bolder scored his penalty in between two Bath successes from the spot so it was Jason St Juste who stepped up to win it for The Villagers. He sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and sparked a mass pitch invasion. Ferriby had done it! They had reached their second Wembley final after a gut wrenching yet exhilarating semi-final that will stay with Ferriby fans forever. The scenes on the pitch at the end were truly special and that day will go down as one of my favourite memories in football in years to come.
This all stemmed from Adam Nicklin’s penalty save against Boston and every player had played their part. This was a fantastic Ferriby team and they deserved their place in the final. Little did we know the final would be even more memorable and historic. 2 years on and much has changed at the Eon Visual Media Stadium but the 28th February 2015 is a day fans of my generation will tell their grand kids about in years to come.