Rushall Olympic: 1. Chris Gemmell, 2. James Skedgel, 3. Lucan Spittle ©, 4. Mitchell Tolley, 5. Alex Melbourne, 6. Nick Amos, 7. Decio Gomes, 8. Luke Bottomer, 9. Kyle Brady, 10. Craig Bannister, 11. Louis Keenan. Subs: 12. Jonny Haynes, 14. Ahmed Obeng (Brady 64), 15. Danny Campbell, 16. Grant Beckett, 17. Alex Forde.
North Ferriby United: 1. Adam Nicklin, 2. Dean Lisles, 3. Nathan Peat, 4. Danny Clarke, 5. Gregg Anderson, 6. Paul Foot ©, 7. Wayne Brooksby, 8. Russell Fry, 9. Lee Morris, 10. Chris Bolder, 11. Ben Hunter. Subs: 12. James Williams, 14. Sam Belcher (Lisles 73), 15. Sam Denton (Foot 70), 16. Tim Taylor (Brooksby 85), 17. Steve Wilson (GK).
Referee: Mr. M. Bingham (Leamington Spa)
Rushall Olympic returned to the familiar surroundings of Dales Lane following a disappointing three-match road trip, but were forced to come back from a goal down to claim a welcome point against North Ferriby United in what was effectively a warm-up for the Doodson Sport Cup Final that will be competed for between the two rivals in three weeks time.
Following a lacklustre shock defeat at the hands of out of form Ashton United in midweek, the Pics opted to ring the changes in a bid to obtain a positive response from their players as no less than six of the squad returned to the starting line-up.
The hosts were first to threaten in the 7th minute when Kyle Brady played the ball in for Alex Melbourne to run on to just inside the periphery of the penalty area , but his effort lacked the necessary power to trouble ‘keeper Adam Nicklin who gathered safely in his waiting arms.
Four minutes later and Rushall threatened again as Brady turned sharply and fired in low from 16 yards towards Nicklin who again made a relatively simple claim.
The Villagers were on the offensive on 17 minutes when Chris Bolder got beyond his marker through the right channel and produced a dangerous centre from the by-line that the home defence were convinced had gone beyond the by-line. Fortunately for Olympic as play continued a close range header from Lee Morris at the far post went just shy of the top corner under pressure from a defender.
Rushall were rocked on 22 minutes when North Ferriby surged into the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when the hosts defence were caught extremely short in a dangerous position after failing dismally to clear their lines. After an initial strike had been superbly kept at bay with an acrobatic one-handed save low down by Chris Gemmell, his colleagues were again far too slow to respond and BOLDER was afforded the time and space to pick his spot and clinically converted the follow up.
Despite the setback Olympic were quickly back on the offensive and within seven minutes of falling behind they deservedly restored parity thanks to a stunning goal from MELBOURNE. With United attempting to clear, Craig Bannister made a timely interception and quickly set his colleague free through the right channel. As the wide man sprinted goalwards he cut inside and from 25 yards out unleashed a venomous pile driver on the run that rocketed into the far side of goal beyond the despairing dive of ‘keeper Nicklin.
Just after the half hour mark and North Ferriby responded when a free-kick from distance by Russell Fry probed its way through the defensive wall, taking a deflection on its way through as Gemmell was forced to push the ball around his left hand upright to concede a corner.
Half-Time: Rushall Olympic 1-1 North Ferriby United
The hosts began the second period in positive fashion and six minutes following the restart a great effort by Luke Bottomer saw the midfielder cut dangerously into the left face of the box and send a pacey drive just shy of the far post.
Two minutes prior to the hour mark and Olympic countered through Brady who broke clear of the visitor’s last man, but as the front runner neared the periphery of the penalty area his weak effort was easily held by Nicklin after advancing off his line to narrow the angle.
Rushall went extremely close to taking the initiative in the 66th minute when the Villagers custodian was pressurised by substitute Ahmed Obeng and could only clear the ball through to the right channel. With Nicklin frantically back-tracking towards his own goal, Louis Keenan took up possession and delivered an excellent looping effort towards the far post that had to be headed off the line by Nathan Peat to concede a corner.
Six minutes later and as Bannister squared the ball to Decio Gomes just outside the box the makeshift midfielder flashed a first time effort well wide of the North Ferriby left hand upright.
With 14 minutes remaining a long ball over the top of the visitors defence was extremely well anticipated by Obeng who latched on to it with a rapid burst of pace, however as he entered the box his finish lacked power and Nicklin easily gathered.
On 88 minutes some superb work by Bottomer through the right flank saw him round his marker before delivering a deep centre that was met by the head of Obeng under pressure from the United custodian, but the ball dropped shy of the far post from 12 yards out.
Full-Time: Rushall Olympic 1-1 North Ferriby United