JOHNSON BOWS OUT AT CHAMPIONS
Report by Andy Finnigan, Pictures courtesy of Jez Sayle
The last game of the season was billed as Danny Johnson's last hurrah for the Robin's boss before he heads to Cheshire and Nantwich Town and not as a last promotion push for play-of places as the early season Ashton form suggested. North Ferriby Utd naturally wanted to provide their own headlines and become Champions of the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division.
In fact it was Ashton who came closest to opening the scoring when Chris Amadi took the ball to the by-line brought it inside his defender and fired in a cross come shot to trouble the home keeper, who just got fingers to the effort to send the ball wide for a corner. A couple of minutes later the ball found its way to Ryan Kendal on the edge of the Ashton goal area and he calmly steered the ball past the well beaten Philips to give the Champions elect a one nil lead. Ashton however still put some pressure on the Villagers back line and should have levelled when again Amadi found space on the left and sent in a cross to Matty Kosylo, eight yards out in front of goal, for him to fire the ball wide.
Ferriby began to see a period of possession and the game became scrappy with misplaced passes, long balls being over hit in the blustery conditions. On 39 mins Lambert had a free kick saved at the second attempt by the home keeper Nicklin after the ball bobbled up at him. On 43 minutes Ferriby put arms in the air appealing for a penalty that referee Ian Johnstone waived away, and there was still time for Ferriby's centre half Gregg Anderson to rattle Phillo's bar with a fine header, just before the break.
The second half seemed a more subdued affair and did not really kick into any kind of spark. Amadi suffered a knock on 46mins which took a while to run off. Sherriff and Riley were replaced by Caldecott and Ben Smith on 63 mins and this gave Ashton a bit more vigour. Shortly after Ashton were awarded a free kick right side of the area from which Danny Lambert fizzed in a left foot near post cross that King headed for another corner. This was sent over and cleared for another chance to put the Ferriby back line under more pressure to try and get something out of the game. Following a period of scrappy play from both teams, with long balls and wayward passing, the ball was played up to Anthony Wilson just inside central of the penalty area; his first touch gave him the time to pick his spot left of Phillips for a two nil lead.
The Villagers from Ferriby began to take control as they had the belief the Trophy was in their grasp and it did not matter what rivals Hednesford were doing in their game their efforts boosted by a large contingent of Hull supporters, who had just seen their team secure a place in the Premiership, Ferriby looked for a third until Ashton Man of the Season, Paul 'the Cat Phillips produced a fine one handed instinctive save to deny Ferriby a third. As the final whistle came naturally there were scenes of joy and Champagne corks flying, the 600 or so home supporters singing and the Ferriby gaffer jumping for joy 'Mourinho' stylie down the touchline.
Ashton Utd Team
PHILIPS, FROST, LAMBERT, BURKE, ROBINSON (C), McCARTNEY, KOSYLO, BAGULEY, SHERRIFF(CALDECOTT 63mins), RILEY(SMITH 63mins),AMADI. Subs not used, Burns, T Smith, Barlow: Booked Sherriff 24 mins.