Life in the Northern Counties East League Division One, has offered variety to the newly rebranded FC Humber United, collecting one win, a draw and three defeats from their opening five league games. The Club returned to league action at the Dransfield Stadium after a thrilling six-four defeat at home against Landlords, Selby Town. This time around, FC Humber visited North Ferriby, in another Derby game for the Club. 

Ahead of the tie with North Ferriby, Mark Maspero announced a familiar FC Humber squad for the game; the starting XI consisted of, Aiden Smith, Tom Phillips, Liam Mulligan, Jamie Phillips, Cam Davies, Craig Allen, Szymon Czubik, Jack Gascoigne, Louis Blackwell, Eddie Wileman and Brandon Burke. Owen Fletcher, Mason Spencer, Dan Murrie, Harry Watson and Oly Barton occupied the substitutes bench for the visitors. 

FC Humber United visited the Dransfield Stadium in great spirit after an mammoth encounter against landlords, Selby Town. This time however, they faced yet another ‘league giant’ in North Ferriby FC who will certainly be aiming for promotion this season after seeing previous attempts halted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The game began as perhaps any game would, a sometimes-physical opening few minutes as FC Humber and North Ferriby battled for early supremacy. 

With the score line lacking goals in the opening minutes, the tie began to open up into somewhat of an attractive affair with opportunity beginning to flow for the 22 two combatants. With the tie perhaps offering early hints of an end-to-end affair, the first major opportunity for the visitors came in the sixth minute; Louis Blackwell pounced on a wonderful through ball and found himself unlucky, not to open the scoring as Jordan Douglas got down well to claim the ball at Louis’ feet.

Eddie Wileman found a pocket of space and surged toward the Ferriby backline, playing Szymon Czubik down the right flank whom fired a decent cross into the area; Jordan Douglas was having none of it, claiming the ball a beating Eddie whom had continued his driving run on goal. In the meantime, Ferriby had a couple of chances themselves but to no avail as the score line remained level. 

Perhaps the best chance of the half came in the twenty-seventh minute; after drawing a foul from the Ferriby defence in the build up, Humber were awarded a dangerous free-kick twenty yards out, slightly to Jordan Douglas’ left. Jack Gascoigne stepped up for set piece and was denied by Jordan Douglas; a sensational left footed strike beat the wall and was palmed away from the top bin. 

However, the first forty-five remained a reasonably decent affair for the footballing neutral, despite a lack of goals, opportunity remained for both sides. Ferriby were perhaps unlucky not to take the lead as the game approached half-time; a central free-kick from Ferriby was attacked and found its way into the net, however, the referee pulled back play for a foul on Craig Allen in the build up. However, the half ended all square

HT: North Ferriby 0-0 FCHU

After another decent encounter in the first half against top opposition for FC Humber, the second forty-five saw Ferriby up their tempo. Unfortunately, a five-minute window early in the second half saw a lapse in concentration and shape from FC Humber, as Ferriby’s quality speared through the heart of their opposition; Joel Shortland opened the scoring from twenty yards, beating Aiden Smith at his far post however, the debate still rages as to whether his effort was a shot or cross. 

Danny East would extend North Ferriby lead two minutes later; a speedy attack from the hosts saw Danny Buttle let loose down the left flank, Danny’s quality ball into the area found Danny East at the back post, who’s diving header beat Aiden Smith. 

Despite orchestrating their own downfall, FC Humber were able to regain their shape yet were never really able to threaten Ferriby on the same level that had been seen in the first half. North Ferriby had confidence about them after a quick-fire double prior to the hour mark, their attacking qualities and sound game management became more prominent as the game wore on. 

Ferriby had an opportunity to seal the game in the later stages of the tie; Jamie Forrester saw a long-range effort fire narrowly wide of the post and Tom Corner surged through on goal, only for the ball to be taken from his toes as he was about to strike. FC Humber were by no means disgraced in the second forty-five; ultimately Ferriby’s quality shone through when it mattered and a five minute lapse in concentration perhaps tarnished an otherwise decent performance from Maspero’s men. 

FT: North Ferriby 2-0 FCHU

As It Happened

Building as a team

As each game passes, it is becoming ever more noticeable of FC Humber’s abilities as a team. Solidarity and Togetherness in beginning to reign supreme through the FC Humber camp. It is becoming more evident that the squad are not only listening to but following the game plans. It is refreshing to see the lad’s gel and move forward as one. Showing how much the club has come over these last months. 

Master’s of our own downfall

FC Humber’s Achilles heel is perhaps their ability to shoot themselves in the foot. We saw it in pre-season, we saw in earlier league fixtures; a lapse in concentration, losing a man or even a drop in confidence has led to the club’s downfall in games up until recently. However, it would be a fair assessment that the tide is perhaps turning and improving, looking forward. 

Man of the Match 

In a game that saw an FC Humber side continue their sublime efforts on the pitch, initiated at their away trip at Ollerton Town, possibility for man of the match was plenty. However, one perhaps stood out for the visiting FC Humber. It has been coming over these last weeks and the Talk Tonight – Selby CIC man of the match went to Aidan Smith. 

It has become more noticeable over the last week or two of the growing presence Aidan has on the field, his organisation is second to none. Recent games have seen a plethora of big saves pulled out of the Smith arsenal; it has been a pleasure to watch. 

Post-Match Thoughts

Speaking after the game in a post-match interview, Mark Maspero offered an honest assessment of an exciting, 2-0 defeat away to North Ferriby FC: “First half, fantastic. We played to the game plan and frustrated them. We felt that Ferriby ran out of ideas, they couldn’t play the ball over the top and they couldn’t play through us. We did everything and occasionally caught them on the counter, so everything we asked them to do, they did. We went into half-time and thought, we can win this, as long as we do the same things and we would get a goal. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite happen. We let them have more possession, in deeper areas, we went to sleep. We said at half-time, the only way they’re going to beat us is a bit of luck, if we let them, if we give away too many corners, too many free-kicks, too many throw-ins. They will get a bit of luck or someone won’t do a job, they will score and they got that bit of luck. And unfortunately we lost our shape for five minutes, after dealing with that, we didn’t deal with the goal very well and they scored again; Don’t get me wrong, they had three or four good chances after that but again, we were trying to push a little bit higher and try and get a goal back, so that’s to be expected.  

Furthermore, to the fair assessment on a decent showing from FC Humber, we conversed on going toe-to-toe with another of the league’s stronger team’s : “We’ve just said at the end of the game, they have to trust the process, the process works and we’ve proved it against Selby and against Ferriby. Given we’ve conceded eight goals in two games, but, penalties, a lucky goal, free-kicks that could have been avoided, corners or someone’s lost a man, we make our own mistakes. We have competed, we’re just disappointed for both of them games, for eighty-six minutes at Selby, we were level with them. For forty-five minutes we competed with Ferriby and could’ve gone on and done better, so we know we can compete against the top teams, we just have to translate it into the other games. 

Concluding discussions with Mark, the final focal point was on the abundance of positives to take from the game despite walking away from a 2-0 defeat, Mark commented: “We were saying, as coaches that in the early games in preseason, when we’re still learning that would have ended five or six-nil. We’re starting to see results, not point’s on the board, but, we’re starting to see better performances, better displays, we’ll get there in the end. But were competing which is good, lots of positives despite the two-nil lose.”

In continuation, Liam Mulligan added comment on the squad’s performance, from an on-field perspective: “To be honest, it was a great first half. I thought we played well, I thought we matched them, especially defensively. I thought that on the ball, it lacked composure which was unfortunate because we gave it away in key areas. Once you give one goal away, we’re pushing on. We’re trying, we’re out of position and that’s when they got the chances. Other than that, I thought we matched them. 

Cam Davies added his assessment on the squad’s performance: “I think in the first half, everyone battled, the shape was great, you could see Ferriby getting frustrated. Second Half, we wanted to chase that goal, we were on a high, in the changing rooms we thought we’d have them. They came out strong and quick, got a lucky goal and pounced on it straight after. We did well not to crumble after the two goals scored. It’s just a case of building on the first-half, what we did there, if we do that against team’s around us, we will be fine. It’s a case of, holding it out for ninety minutes, which is the big thing and what was said in the changing room. 

Liam Mulligan then added a comment on his own personal performance: “It’s a funny one with my performance, I tend to defend very well but on the ball it’s lacking or I’m very good on the ball and defensively I’m lacking. Tonight was a good night defensively but on the ball, not so good and perhaps at fault for their second goal. But again, defensively I’ve done well and on the ball, a few loose passes; you know, when you look up, you’re looking for options, it’s tough out there sometimes. Personally, I’m not overly happy with it but I’m not too disappointed either.  

Liam added further comment on the changes in the squad: “There’s definitely stuff to move on from, if we’d have played these three or four weeks ago, we weren’t battling like we were tonight. We’ve put in tackles for each other, there were hurt bodies out there that wanted to stay on and that’s the difference from a few weeks ago. We’re fighting for each other now. We carry that into future games, we’re going to get results.”

Cam Davies closed out the post-match discussions with an assessment of his own performance: “My distribution in the second-half wasn’t as good as in the first-half. But, it’s to build on this, it’s to look forward. Look, a Tuesday night at Ferriby, it’s always going to be backs against the wall and I think that in the first half, we proved we can play at this level and against higher opponents. I think it’s just making sure, we keep together, keep the positives, learn from our mistakes and go again Saturday. 

Tom Devereux | Media Executive | FC Humber United

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August 26, 2021