North Ferriby United 0-3 FC Halifax Town
By Graham Riley
Having subjected FC Halifax Town to their only home defeat of the season back in November, North Ferriby were unable to do the double over the Shaymen as the runaway league leaders helped themselves to three goals at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium. A goal at either end of an evenly contested first half sent the promotion favourites on their way, and a fine individual goal from Jamie Vardy settled matters in the second period, in which Ferriby went a man down in the final minutes after the dismissal of Ben Morley.
Halifax set the tone in the opening seconds, from the kickoff James Dean made himself space on the wing and launched in a cross which Jamie Vardy rose to head home. Ferriby braved this early shock and set off in search of an equaliser, visting keeper Jonathon Hedge having to block from Alex Davidson's shot on the turn, and Russell Fry firing just wide of the far post with a curling effort. Lee Gregory looked set to double the away side's advantage before the half hour, but the striker missed a practically open goal from Dean's centre, and Steve Burton headed Vardy's cross towards his own goal, forcing startled Ferriby keeper Steve Wilson to palm over. Burton nearly netted at the right end soon afterwards, but Hedge was able to push his header over the bar from Russell Fry's corner. Fry himself shot just wide of the post with a low drive, but it would be the Shaymen who ended the half in the ascendancy, when Gregory was given time in the box to turn and fire home from Scott Phelan's low cross.
Gregory nearly put the result beyond doubt with and almost identical effort early in the first half, and the decider arrived on 56 through and incredible solo effort by Vardy, beating two defenders before cooly slotting past Wilson into the bottom corner. Wilson had to acrobatically push the ball over the top to prevent Liam Hogan grabbing a fourth from Simon Garner's corner, and the keeper made another smart diving save to turn Danny Lowe's cross-shot onto the bar shortly afterwards. Ferriby were reduced to ten men on 86 minutes when Ben Morley picked up his second yellow card for a late sliding tackle on Vardy, but Halifax were unable to use their extra man advantage to increase their lead. ‘I've no complaints really' said Ferriby boss John Anderson, ‘they were the better team and they showed why they're top of the league. They're an excellent side and they deserved the points today'.
Man of the Match: Jamie Vardy (Halifax)
Ferriby: Steve Wilson (c), James Williams (Peter Davidson, 65), Ben Turner (Paul Foot, 74), Sam Denton, Steve Burton, Ben Morley, Russell Fry, Chris Bolder, Alex Davidson, Gary Bradshaw, Wayne Brooksby (Chris White, 65) Subs not used: Kevin Larvin, Adam Nicklin
Halifax: Jonathon Hedge, Aaron Hardy, Danny Lowe, Tom Baker, Mark Bower (c), Liam Hogan, Jamie Vardy, Scott Phelan (Richard Marshall, 87), Scott Phelan, Lee Gregory (Danny Holland, 72), Simon Garner Subs not used: Phil Senior, James Riley, Andy Milne