To have a chance of winning silverware in any sense is a special occasion. But to have the chance to do it with a backdrop of Wembley Stadium is even more special. Especially for teams like North Ferriby United, a small village club in East Yorkshire.
Getting the bus in the early hours knowing your final destination is a cup final at Wembley against higher league opposition. It fills you with a fair amount of adrenaline. Because whatever the result. It is a huge acheivment to get to this stage as a National League North side. After a very long drive including a fair amount of sleep (for me anyway) we arrived to the sight of the famous arch and our club logo and name broadcasted on the big screens. This just fuelled the excitement of everybody.
A few pubs visited and a few pints later… we entered the ground. Even though Wembley only opened the lower tier of the stadium for this match, it was still an amazing feeling to be there supporting my local club. With Wrexham being the opposition on the other hand, it could well of been a very long 90 minutes. Maybe even more.
With 3,000+ supporters wearing green and white, the players entered the hallowed turf to massive applause. Dreams of non league players were becoming a reality and dreams of the fans were also becoming a reality.
The game kicked off and with Wrexham on the front foot from the start, it was little surprise. 11 minutes in it was 1-0 to Wrexham. Dangerman Louis Moult finishing neatly past a half fit Adam Nicklin. My hopes about a recovery were still optimistic. At the end of the day it was only 1-0. The second goal was abit more difficult to take though. With Jay Harris only just returning to the field after going down injured, he was in total open space to slot the Dragons 2-0 ahead with only half an hour left of the game.
This goal really dishearted me, because i thought it was all over.. How wrong was I.
A lifeline was granted with 15 minutes to go. Danny Clarke brought down in the area by the Wrexham keeper earned us a penalty. A booking was given for the challenge which is completely bonkers. Straight red all day long. Micheal Oliver is supposed to be a top Premier League referee?! The penalty was the best i have ever seen. Liam King, Top bins, 2-1.
Then 5 minutes to go… Absolute elation. Ryan Kendall gives us the equaliser. An unlikely source going off recent form. Unbelievable. It is what dreams are made of. The game ended 2-2. A thrilling 90 minutes, but extra time was to come.
Extra Time was even more tense. I didn’t want to see us get to this stage and lose. The Villagers struck first. Ryan Kendall again. I was in dreamland. I reckon Ryan wasn’t far off cloud nine himself. It was a shame Louis Moult had to spoil the party right at the death. An unstoppable shot. No chance for Nicklin. Crank up the pressure. Penalties it was…
I hardly looked at some of our penalties. I don’t think i will ever be so nervous for a penalty shoot out in my life. It was horrendous. Especially with the likes of Denton and St Juste missing there penalties. We somehow managed to take it to sudden death. I made sure i peaked for the final Wrexham penalty though. Tomasson took it. Saved by Nicklin. We had won the cup. Pure emotion. I couldn’t believe what we had just done. 2-0 down to 3-2 up. Ended up with penalties and we won it. The classic cup final. Ferriby’s finest hour.
It is a day i will never forget. 5 years of supporting the team with my best mates. I would of never thought that one day we would be playing at a stadium of this magnitude and to win the way we did. It will live long in the memory of the fans, players, staff and the club itself. We may reach Wembley again one day. But if we don’t, i don’t mind ending on this story line.