Match Details: North Ferriby United 4 – Frickley Athletic 0 (NPL Prem)
As already mentioned, due to lack of spare time I will only be doing occasional new reports on here this season. On August Bank Holiday Monday I was at North Ferriby United though, to watch their game against Frickley Athletic. So here is a review of what took place on a rather dank grey afternoon in the shades of the river Humber.
Destination: Grange Lane, North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, HU14 3AB
Competition: ‘Evo-Stik’ Northern Premier League, Premier Division
Kick Off: 3pm
Off The Pitch: North Ferriby are known as The Villagers, and the two notable landmarks in the locality would appear to be a big church spire and acres of vegetable allotments. On entering the ground we were encouraged to buy half-time draw tickets, where I imagine the prize was an empty carrier bag and the chance to do your own allotment dash out the back. I travelled by car to this one, and although there is only a small club car park, there is ample street parking on the side-roads close to the ground. The nearest railway station is Ferriby, which is on the Leeds/Doncaster to Hull line, and is conveniently situated around five minutes walk from the ground. My spies tell me there is a decent pub in the vicinity if you’re coming by train too.
Inside, the layout of the ground sees a small amount of uncovered flat hardstanding behind each goal, and the ‘developed stuff’ down each side of the pitch. On the far side across from the entrance, is the structure pictured above and below, which covers the entire length of the pitch. It has stepped terracing at each end, and a couple of seated sections in the centre near the halfway line. It’s impressively sized, with the only drawback being that the seating is all very low down, so any passing spectators tend to obscure your view of the pitch when they’re walking past, no matter where you sit.
At the opposite side are the dugouts, with various club and social rooms behind them, and a small amount of covered terracing as pictured below. There is also uncovered hardstanding running the length of this side, and at one end it is raised a few feet above pitch level, giving a nice elevated view of proceedings if the weather is fine. North Ferriby also have a small club shop, with a cupboard containing programmes and the like, and a table out the front selling the largest selection of pin badges from various other clubs that I’ve ever come across, apart from dedicated badge dealers.
On The Pitch: North Ferriby were really lucky to win this game – really lucky, in that they were up against a Frickley team which performed utter bobbins today, and so were given an ideal opportunity for a confidence-building comfortable home victory. The new formation that manager Karl Rose has been trying so far this season at Frickley uses three central defenders plus two ‘wing backs’, and doesn’t seem to be gelling yet. On this evidence, it’s puzzling not only to the fans, but some of the players as well.
At times when there were three defenders with only one forward to mark, valuable seconds were wasted while the Frickley men looked at each other to see who was going to do what. Usually, this meant one dropping out wide to right-back, or one stepping forward to join the midfield. But then Ferriby seemed to simply send former-Frickley favourite Danny Clarke forward down the right wing, which led to left wing-back Indi Aujla (surely better as a creative midfielder anyway?) puffing up and down the near touchline like a steam engine, and having to track back so frequently that he was commonly to be found futher back than the recognised ‘defence’ was.
It all looked a bit shapeless, and with Danny Clarke towering over his erstwhile marker, no surprise that Frickley looked at sixes and sevens so often round their own goal. What was slightly more puzzling was that with three central defenders, why were they also struggling to win anything in the air at set plays between them?
Meanwhile Frickley played Danny South as a lone centre-forward, also expecting him to win every throw-in and free-kick that was launched hopefully in his direction. And though he performed admirably in the cause, Ferriby just doubled up on him before too long, and henceforth Frickley’s attacks kept going down a blind alley.
And at the business end of proceedings though, the homesters took full advantage of their opponents’ disarray. First, a close call came when Jack Muldoon headed against the crossbar on 20 minutes. Then, barely a minute later, Gregg Anderson rose unmarked to power his header on target and out of reach of both Frickley keeper Tom Woodhead and man-on-the-line-covering-the-post, Indi Aujla. A minute before half time, Ferriby doubled their lead when Liam King hit a shot from the edge of the box into the far corner, having been given far too much time to pick his spot.
The away side were able to apply a bit of pressure after the break, but any hopes of a Frickley revivial were extinguished on the hour, when Ferriby sub Gary Bradshaw had his initial shot blocked, but managed to hook home the rebound whilst lying on the ground. The words ‘salt’, ‘wounds’ and ‘rubbing’ then came to mind when two ex-Frickley players, Lee Morris and Danny Clarke, then combined to produce the fourth goal, with the former putting the latter clear on goal and Clarke showing he hasn’t lost his goalscoring touch. The 4-0 scoreline certainly didn’t flatter the home side, in fact Frickley got off rather lightly at only conceeding 4, when it could easily have been 6 or 7 for the homesters. Whether boss Karl Rose now goes back to the drawing board and asopts the more traditional 4-4-2, or persists with the 3-5-2 remains to be seen, but on this evidence it’ll be a while before the continental formation comes to fruition in South Elmsall unless Mister Messi changes his mind about that free pie and peas deal he was offered.