First Team vs. North Ferriby United (3 : 6)
Sheffield’s Doodson Cup adventure ended in an entertaining defeat at the hands of the reigning holders and Premier Division leaders, writes Stuart James, as a threadbare Club side ran out of steam against an extremely strong looking North Ferriby side. Having conceded home advantage to clear the fixture from the backlog, Ian Whitehorne could only muster a bare eleven squad, given injuries, cup-tied players and work commitments, yet they were far from disgraced.
It was Gary Bradshaw who led the way with four goals in the 6-3 win, with ex-Clubbie Oliver Banks adding one, and substitute Chris Bolder the other. For Sheffield Nathan Forbes-Swindells finally showed what he was made of, adding a brace of goals, whilst Steve Woolley added Club’s third.
Sheffield started the brightest and were the first to cause any find of issues, as Shaq McKenzie put a rasper of a low cross along the face of the goal, with Steve Ridley having to be at his best to hook the ball for a corner. From the corner Antonio Pecora had to pull off a decent stop, as Warren Burrell rose above the defence to head a bullet header on target.
Sadly, Ferriby are a side bristling with confidence, and with just five minutes gone and with their first attack they opened the scoring. Anthony Wilson exposed a gap on the left, and launched a ball across into the box, and BANKS had no problems to head home from ten yards out.
To their credit, Club didn’t allow their heads to drop, and what followed was an end-to-end contest that saw chances coming thick and fast. Danny Clarke saw an effort deflected, forcing a good save from Liam Flynn, and moments later Clarke saw a header hooked off the line. At the other end Ben Turner’s break set up Matt Roney for a run, with the veteran winger putting in a killer cross, one that was inches away from being converted by McKenzie.
McKenzie also produced Club’s best effort of the half, as yet again Roney turned provider with another great ball, with Pecora making a fantastic stop to deny the young forward. From the corner, Jordan Eagers hit a great volley, one that was only inches off target. For the hosts Danny Clarke, Gary Bradshaw and Russell Fry also went close in a breathless ending to the half, but nothing could prepare the 65 hardy souls to what would happen in the second period.
Sheffield were forced to replace the injured Andy Gascoigne at half-time, bringing on 17-year-old Jack Woolley for his debut, having being hurriedly promoted from the Under 19s earlier in the day. Woolley Junior repaid this faith with in the first minute of his bow onto the scene, as he broke down the left to produce an excellent cross, and rising to head home powerfully from ten yards out was FORBES-SWINDELLS for his first goal for the Club.
If anything this stung Ferriby into action, and less than sixty seconds after Sheffield had the temerity to equalise, BRADSHAW latched onto a through ball to clinically slot the ball past Flynn. Yet this advantage lasted all of three minutes, as Steve Woolley beat an offside call and run fully thirty yards, with WOOLLEY coolly slotting past Pecora (left).
Once more Ferriby responded, with Oliver Banks hitting a shot that should have easily been held by Flynn, however the goalkeeper spilled the ball into the path of BRADSHAW who really doesn’t miss that kind of chance. The hosts started to turn the screw and on the hour it was 4-2, as a free-kick into the box was spilled by Flynn under pressure from a very noisy goalmouth, and BOLDER hooked the ball over his shoulder into the empty net.
Club weren’t done though, and yet again the spirit of this performance shone through, as a low cross was turned into the net by a combination of Mark Gray and FORBES-SWINDELLS to give a glimmer of hope (below). That hope should have seen a leveller, but for some glorious missed chances, with Warren Burrell unlucky not to connect from a yard out and Shaq McKenzie seeing his volley go close.
Ferriby all but killed the game in the 78th minute, as Ryan Williams’ corner was headed on by Banks, and BRADSHAW reacted quickly to nod in from two yards out to complete his hat-trick. The scoring was completed in the dying minutes, when a shot from the edge of the area trickled through a crowd of players, with BRADSHAW adding a final touch on the goal-line to get his fourth and the Villagers’ sixth to complete an amazing half of football.
Despite the defeat, manager Ian Whitehorne was glowing in his praise for the performance: "We have played better tonight than we have in our last six games. We scored three good goals, but we’ve gifted them four goals, and it’s not the back four - I thought they played great - it was goalkeeping errors and silly little mistakes that cost us. Then there were the chances we’ve missed, Shaq missed a sitter, Roons has missed two, Woolley’s missed one, Warren’s missed one from a yard out. We convert those chances and cut out the silly mistakes, there wasn’t that much in that game, and overall that was quite pleasing. Again, performance-wise building on the back of Saturday, even though it was a defeat, it was another step forward."
Debutant Jack Woolley was also the focus of praise from the boss: “He’s come on and has been very positive, he’s got the ball, and he played a big part in the equaliser straight after half time. He’s not done himself any harm at all there, and if we keep climbing the table, we’ve got to start looking at some of these Under 19s in games towards the end of the season. That’s what the Club is about, that’s what they are there for, so Jack will definitely get another chance.”
Ben Webster's photos from the game can be viewed here.
North Ferriby United: Pecora, Robson, Ridley (Peat), Banks, Gray, Bruce, Clarke (Bolder), Fry (King), Wilson, Bradshaw, Williams. Subs Not Used: Gardner, Nicklin.
Sheffield FC: Flynn, Turner, Waddle, Burrell, Hadfield, Eagers, Roney (Powell), Gascoigne (J.Woolley), McKenzie, Forbes-Swindells, S.Woolley.