Play-off Final: North Ferriby 3-2 Harrogate Railway
North Ferriby FC will be playing in the NCEL Premier division next season. Chris Bolder’s side overcame Harrogate Railway 3-2, in a pulsating, tense afternoon at the Dransfield Stadium. Goals from Oli Donald, Danny Clarke and Niall Tilsley see the Villagers promoted in their third but first full season. The game was attended by 1442 people. This is the league’s highest attendance this season and breaks the previous NCEL record set by Garforth in 2004.
Chris Bolder made one change from last weekend’s semi-final win over Rossington, with Jordan Douglas returning to the side in place of Lewis Exall.
The game got off to a blistering start with the Villagers taking an early lead. Ferriby had a throw-in deep in Harrogate’s half. Josh Dennett launched the ball into the area and up rose Oli Donald. Donald saw his initial effort saved by Harrogate goalkeeper Joseph Wilton. The ball came back to Donald who poked the ball past Wilton.
The Villagers went in search of a second goal. Good play between Danny East and Louis Kirk gave Josh Whiteley a chance, but his effort went over the bar. The visitors thought they had equalised when a headed attempt went into the Ferriby goal. However, the goal was ruled out due to a push on Jordan Douglas.
The Villagers had a couple of chances to double their lead early in the second half. Tom Corner broke through the defensive line, but his shot went wide of the goal. Corner had another effort, but he couldn’t generate enough power to trouble Wilton.
Harrogate would find an equaliser moments later. A ball pumped forward was caught by the wind. The direction of the ball changed and caught out Oli Donald, who was already in the air. A Harrogate attacker played a little flick onto Marcus Day who put the ball past Jordan Douglas.
The Villagers would retake the lead through Danny Clarke. After a mini scramble in and around the box, Louis Kirk fired the ball in the goals direction but was blocked by a Harrogate defender. The ball then found its way to Clarke who had got behind the Harrogate defence. Clarke then finished expertly to put the ball into the goal.
Straight from kick off the visitors were level. Fatlum Ibrahimi took the ball from the kickoff and advanced through the Ferriby defence. At the edge of the area, he took a shot that went into the bottom corner of the goal and out of the reach of Jordan Douglas.
The Villagers retook the lead on the 84th minute. An Adam Bolder corner was swung in and at the back post, up rose captain Niall Tilsley to jump higher than three Harrogate defenders to head the ball into the roof of the net and send the Dransfield stadium into raptures.
The Villagers hung on and held onto their lead after a tense eight additional minutes. Manager Chris Bolder and Paul Robson shared their thoughts after the game, “We are absolutely delighted, when you look at the course of the season, over the last three seasons really, our form has been excellent. When you finish a season on 96 points, I think the right team has joined Hallam in the Premier Division next season. We implemented our game plan to a tee today. We frustrated them, we respected what they would bring, and they are good footballing side. Massive congratulations to Harrogate for what they brought to the league this season. Ultimately over the course of the 40 games, we deserved to go up and we look forward to moving the club forward next season”.
North Ferriby FC: 1) Douglas, 2) Dennett 3) Start 4) Bolder 5) Tilsley 6) Donald 7) Emerton 8) Kirk 9) Corner (16. Buttle) 10) East (15. Clarke) 11) Whiteley.
Subs not used: 12. Forrester, 13. Zand 14. Medcalf
Report kindly provided by North Ferriby