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 two loses from their opening four games. The Club returned to league action at the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium, after a thrilling three-all draw on the road at Ollerton Town. This time around, FC Humber hosted landlords Selby Town, in what perhaps felt an odd situation for The Robins; being the away team at the ground they call home. 

Ahead of the tie with Selby Town, 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, James Warwick-Atkins, Szymon Czubik, Jack Gascoigne, Louis Blackwell, Eddie Wileman and Brandon Burke. Owen Fletcher, Mason Spencer, Dan Murrie, Andy Leech and Oly Barton occupied the substitutes bench for the hosts. 

In a first for the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium, Selby Town played an away fixture at the ground they call home. And what a game it was, an open endeavour from the off and more importantly, plenty of goals in what was a fantastic experience of non-league football for the neutral. The game began as perhaps any game would, a sometimes physical opening few minutes as FC Humber and Landlords Selby battled for early supremacy. 

However, Selby appeared dangerous from the set piece and it wasn’t long before the games first goal was scored. In their attempts to play the ball through on goal, Selby won a free-kick twenty-five yards out and dead centre on goal; Liam Flanagan stepped up, besting the wall with a wonderfully taken free-kick, beating Aiden Smith to his left. 

With the opening goal now in the bag, 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, FC Humber won their first corner and very nearly levelled the tie; Jamie Phillips’ thunderous header rattled the crossbar from an excellent ball in. However, the crossbar wasn’t the only thing that had perhaps been rattled; hard chasing and harrying from Louis Blackwell caused miscommunication and uncertainty in the Selby defence. The end result saw Louis latch onto the defensive error and level the game for FC Humber. 

Selby restored their lead from another set piece, just nineteen minutes into the tie; Liam Flanagan whipped in a fierce corner from the right, finding Ryan Gothard who headed past Aiden Smith at his near post. It had certainly become clear that we were in for an entertaining game with twenty minutes on the clock. 

FC Humber made attempts to restore a level score line, yet it was Selby who scored again to extend their lead to three-one; Flynn McNaughton’s tidy work down on the ball turned Liam Mulligan inside out as he cut in from the right wing, his left footed pile driver found the net. Selby almost made it four moments later; a fierce Liam Flanagan effort was beaten away by Aiden Smith in the FC Humber goal, after a decent run from Harry Clapham in the build up. 

Aiden was again on hand shortly after, making a point blank save from Liam Flanagan, who had been played in behind the FC Humber defence. Selby did have the ball in the net a fourth time, however their effort was chalked off after an offside decision in the build up. Opportunity continued as the game entered it’s dying minutes of the first half however, despite Selby perhaps having the better opportunity it was FC Humber who profited;  Louis Blackwell  pounced on a defensive error and pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time. 

HT: FCHU 2-3 Selby Town

FC Humber came out for the second half battling after receiving a late Louis Blackwell boost, in the first forty five. A slick passing move from the hosts sliced open the Selby Town defence putting Louis in on goal, however, Dylan Parkins attempt to collect the ball from the feet of an on rushing Blackwell resulted in the referee pointing to the spot. Up stepped Louis Blackwell who confidently fired straight down the middle, to not only level the game for FC Humber but secure his second hat-trick in two games. 

FC Humber very nearly took the lead for the first time in the game; Ryan Cooper blocked a goal bound shot on the line, however all shouts for handball were waved away by the referee. Despite FC Humber being on the front foot for the opening minutes of the second half, it was Selby Town took the lead; a dangerous, Flynn McNaughton cut across the face of goal before unleashing a shot from outside the area, hitting the inside of the post before nestling in the bottom corner. 

Opportunity remained in the ever present entertainment, Flynn McNaughton saw yet another effort scrambled away however, it was FC Humber whom continued an ascendancy about their game; Dylan Parkin was forced into a good save from Eddie Wileman and Szymon Czubik saw an effort fire narrowly over the bar. For all their efforts, FC Humber did get their fourth and pulled the game level once more; further miscommunication and uncertainty from the Selby defence saw Brandon Burke capitalize, scoring the eighth goal of the afternoon. 

The fixture may have perhaps aimed for a four-all draw come full-time however, as seen in previous FC Humber fixture, the smallest error and lapse in concentration perhaps ended all hopes of a massive point against the table toppers. Selby Town were awarded a penalty in the eighty-fifth minute, a perhaps unfortunate handball decision was awarded in Selby’s favour; Liam Flanagan stepped up and sent Selby into a five-four lead with minutes to go. 

With their confidence having taken a knock from the penalty decision, Selby found the net for a sixth time with the game coming to a close; another dangerous run out wide from the impressive Flynn McNaughton saw his pinpoint cross find Gracjan Klimczak at the far post, in front of an open goal he was never going to miss as he sealed the win for Selby Town. 

A result that perhaps FC Humber were perhaps unfortunate not to get anything from, however they did not disgrace themselves, it was a spirited display that continued on from their away trip at Ollerton Town. The squad will go to North Ferriby Tuesday night in high spirits knowing they can compete with the league’s best. 

FT: FCHU 4-6 Selby Town

As It Happened

A thrilling game

It’s never a dull moment when FC Humber are in town and their recent fixture against Landlords, Selby Town certainly proved that. The latest fixture for the newly rebranded FC Humber United personified non-league football, offering the neutral entertainment from start to finish. As is the FC Humber way, there are always goals when we play and today showcased this, in a ten goal thriller. 

A turning point

With FC Humber’s game presence ever growing, are we perhaps witnessing a turning point in the Club’s fortune. Despite perhaps feeling a little unfortunate with end results, FC Humber are showing massive improvement with each game that passes. The little things are becoming ever more noticeable on the field of play; the squads desire to keep pushing, keep battling and solve problems on the pitch is becoming ever more prominent. The squad are beginning to gel and are trusting each other’s style and how each player goes about their game. 

Man of the Match

In a game that saw an FC Humber side continue their sublime efforts from an away trip to Ollerton, possibility for man of the match was plenty. However, one perhaps stood out for the hosting FC Humber; Louis Blackwell pushed on from his man of the match performance against Ollerton Town, and oh my did he continue with a bang. 

FC Humber initially succumbed to an early two-nil deficit, Louis as with his FC Humber brethren responded and rose to the challenge. Louis led the way with a first-half brace, [first goal]. On the stroke of half-time, Louis battled well and stole the ball away from Dylan Parkin in the Selby Goal, giving the host a massive boost into the break. Louis then completed his hat-trick shortly after the break; scoring from the penalty spot. 

Post-Match Thoughts

Speaking after the game in a post-match interview, Mark Maspero offered an honest assessment of an exciting, 4-6 defeat at home to Landlords, Selby Town: “On the back of a good performance against Ollerton, we demanded the same resilience and intensity. We knew we wouldn’t have the ball much and would have to work hard defensively. I feel we did that well in spells. At times playing the better football out of the 2 sides. Unfortunately, Selby’s quality told in the end. But for 84 minutes I felt we matched them. Again, we are our own worst enemies, conceding penalties at vital times in games.”

Furthermore, to the fair assessment of a decent showing from FC Humber, we then conversed on the final moments of the game and despite two late goals from Selby, the squad gave a decent account of themselves. Mark added comment on the matter and how the club aims to move forward:

“They acquitted themselves well. These 2 good performances aren’t a coincidence, I feel bringing in an experienced head in James Warwick-Atkins. That performance now has to be the standard from here on in. If we play like that week in week out, we will be a good NCEL team. But we must cut out the soft penalties and soft goals.”

“Our focus has been the same for a few weeks now, we play good football in and out of possession, we’ve tweaked our game model slightly but need to focus more on the psychological side of the game. Cutting out mistakes and those costly early goals.”

In continuation from an away fixture at Ollerton Town, the squad showcased a never give up attitude against a decent Selby Town side. Mark declared his delight on the improvement show from his squad:

“Yes, really pleased. But we have to make sure we don’t drop below this standard. That’s 2 games on the bounce we have been competitive. To come back to 4-4 against potentially the league champions is very pleasing.

In conversing with Mark on the squad’s uplift in form, we turned our attention to the Club’s number nine Louis Blackwell, who gave the team an unbelievable boost on the stroke of half-time, and again, shortly after the break. Mark commented:

“Louis is in a great vein of form and will no doubt be attracting attention from more established teams struggling for goals. It’s great to see, he is the focal point for our attack and the lads are starting to see what he can do with the right service.”

Concluding discussions with Mark on a truly delightful effort from FC Humber, the final focal point was again on, Louis Blackwell, who has now found the net six times in two outings. Mark added his final comments, outlining his pleasure on Louis’ efforts:

“He has worked incredibly hard on his fitness since preseason. He was probably carrying too much weight even coming into the season. But he has slimmed down now and that has coincided with this scoring form. What are the chances of a hat-trick of hat-tricks? Louis will rightly get the plaudits, but I thought Eddie Wileman ran himself into the ground and deserved a goal too.”

In continuation, Goalkeeper Aiden Smith added comment on the squad’s performance, from an on-field perspective: “For me the team did exceptionally well today. We held our shape really well and caused them massive problems with Louis leading from the front, we showed great resilience to get ourselves back in the game which will carry us far this season. Things are looking good for FC Humber.”

Man of the Match Louis Blackwell, also added his assessment of an excellent effort: “I think it was a very well-disciplined performance and the game plan almost paid off. I think losing James Warwick-Atkins in the second half changed the game. I think for people to see we are starting to understand how we all play is a boost; it was going to take time but now we are starting to play good positive football.”

Aiden then added a comment on his own personal performance: “For me, I’m buzzing with myself and despite the score line I’d say, myself and the team did very well. All I can do is try my best to organise the team and make the saves I can, which I feel is coming together nicely these last couple of games. I’m loving my football at the minute and learning something new every single game which is down to the great backroom staff we have at Humber.”

Louis Blackwell closed out the post-match discussions with an assessment of his performance against Selby: “Over the moon to have scored a second hat trick in a week, but I can’t take all the credit, it’s more down to the players getting the ball to me and I’ve got very good attackers playing behind me that are creating the opening for me to score. I’m enjoying my football again which is a big thing for me, so let’s hope for three more on Tuesday and a win this time.”

Tom Devereux | Media Executive | FC Humber United

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August 22, 2021