Rushall Olympic slumped to their first defeat of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division campaign in extremely disappointing fashion following a wholly lacklustre single goal reversal at the Grange Lane home of North Ferriby United.
The encounter commenced in light rain serenaded by rumbles of thunder echoing around the Humber Estuary. Following a promising opening from Rushall on 7 minutes, good work by Chris Morris ended with a vicious 25 yard drive from the left side of the penalty area that flashed across the face of goal and past the far post.
Three minutes later and a long clearance from Chris Gemmell found Luke Edwards through the right channel, who pulled the ball back into the path of Morris, but his strike partner failed to make a positive connection and the home custodian made a claim.
Olympic lived dangerously on 14 minutes as they failed to clear their lines effectively enough, allowing Gary Bradshaw to play a delightful centre to Kevin Larvin who directed a firm header marginally wide of the right hand post.
Rushall responded in the very next minute when Edwards’ deep telling centre from the left by-line was somehow hooked over by Marcus Jackson at the far post from close range.
In the 20th minute Grant Beckett’s corner from the right was lofted into the penalty area where Morris volleyed goalwards, only to see ‘keeper Steve Wilson hold on to the ball low down.
Despite the visitors making all of the early running, the turning point of the contest arrived on 27 minutes when with their very first effort on target North Ferriby forged into a lead that ultimately proved itself to be unassailable. With the attack outnumbering Rushall’s meagre defensive cover by at least three to one, ‘keeper Gemmell made an excellent block to keep out an initial strike but could do little to prevent CHRIS BOLDER from driving the loose ball home unhindered from 10 yards.
Olympic responded five minutes prior to the interval when a good lay off from Morris to Christian Dacres saw the midfielder drill a low effort straight into the waiting arms of ‘keeper Wilson from the edge of the box.
Half-Time: North Ferriby United 1-0 Rushall Olympic
During the first half it was the hosts who moved the ball around more fluently and were also critically able to find their men far more effectively. Unfortunately, the interval failed to endear the Pics to the task in hand and they were woefully slow out of the starting blocks for the commencement of the second period.
Within 15 minutes of the restart Rushall made the bold move of a triple substitution as Matt Lewis, Craig Bannister and Anthony Maguire rapidly replaced Edwards, Morris and Dacres. However, the wholesale changes failed to have the desired effect and on 68 minutes Mitchell Tolley was fortunate to remain on the pitch after taking out Bradshaw on his way through on goal towards the right face of the penalty area.
Five minutes later United threatened again as Larvin shot straight into the arms of Gemmell from 25 yards out after being set up by Wayne Brooksby, who had almost embarrassingly been given far too much time and space within which to play.
On 86 minutes the hosts should have put the game well and truly beyond Olympic as substitute Phil Jackman drove straight into Gemmell’s arms from the edge of the box, while in the very next phase of play full back James Williams found himself clean through in the penalty area but could only fire venomously into the right side netting at close quarters.
With a minute remaining the luck of Rushall’s Tolley finally ran out as Marcus Jackson lost possession, allowing United to probe forward through the left channel. Despite the defender making a sturdy challenge his opponent fell to the ground all too easily and the referee duly dished out a second caution, followed by a red card.
Despite barely deserving anything from the contest Olympic still had the opportunity to claim a share of the spoils when in the third minute of injury time a free-kick from the edge of the box saw Lewis step over the ball and Beckett curl in a superb effort towards the top left corner. However, ‘keeper Wilson was equal to the challenge and brilliantly tipped the effort over to concede a corner. From the resulting flag kick the home custodian again proved himself to be North Ferriby’s hero as he once more denied Beckett single handed by producing yet another top drawer save by tipping over.
Full-Time: North Ferriby United 1-0 Rushall Olympic
North Ferriby United: 1. Steve Wilson, 2. James Williams, 3. Nathan Peat, 4. Mark Greaves, 5. Paul Foot ©, 6. Paul Harsley, 7. Russell Fry, 8. Chris Bolder, 9. Kevin Larvin, 10, Gary Bradshaw, 11. Wayne Brooksby. Subs: 12. Phil Jackman (Larvin 82), 14. Matthew Stirland, 15. John Leonard (Bolder 61), 16. Danny Wright.
Rushall Olympic: 1. Chris Gemmell, 2. Sean Platt, 3. Grant Beckett ©, 4. Mitchell Tolley, 5. Lucan Spittle, 6. Richard Blythe, 7. Christian Dacres, 8. Danny Bragoli, 9. Luke Edwards, 10. Chris Morris, 11. Marcus Jackson. Subs: 12. Matt Lewis (Edwards 59), 14. Craig Bannister (Morris 59), 15. Anthony Maguire (Dacres 59), 16. Louis Keenan, 17. Nick Amos.