Rovers v North Ferriby United

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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
Still excited by yesterday's performance, so I thought I would get this one going early.

North Ferriby are probably the smallest club we have ever played in a league match, the village having a population of only 3,000. A bit like Rovers running out against Irby or Willaston ! Understandably, they have struggled this season and are currently in a dreadful run of eleven defeats in twelve matches, during which period they have only scored two goals: they have only scored six all season. However, by all accounts they are reasonably well organised defensively, and I am sure they will simply sit deep and try and frustrate the hell out of us, in contrast to Solihull's more positive approach on Saturday. I think we will win this game, but supporters expecting a goalfest might be disappointed.

It will be interesting to see how we set up tactically. Playing with Almond in the number ten role could be effective against a packed defence, but alternatively Micky may think genuine width and a 4-4-2 system is the way to approach the game. Either way, Mellon will have to decide whether to bring Norwood straight back into the side or reward Kirby for his performance at Solihull; my guess is that Jake will start.

After the superb turnout in the Midlands, hopefully our home attendances will start to pick up a bit. I think the gate will break the 4,000 mark but I expect North Ferriby's support to be of Gateshead proportions, perhaps even smaller.
 
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I don't know much about this side, although because my wife was born there I have noticed their progress over the years, having won the FA Vase a couple of times. They are here on merit, having made steady advances over a long period. By chance I actually met a couple of supporters on holiday this year who live 200 yards from their ground. It's a great shame the game is midweek, as it must be the biggest game in the club's history - except perhaps those Wembley games. Even so I'll bet they will bring many more fans than Gateshead.

Under Brabin, I think another Boreham Wood style result would have been possible. However, with Micky in charge, anything less than a comfortable win would be disappointing.
 

Boz

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Some interesting choices for MM after the good result at Solihull. The visitors will set up much more defensively than our last opponents and unlike his predecessor with a one size fits all approach Micky is quite flexible tactically. It may be as RLC hints, that there is an adjustment in formation, introducing the pace of Tollit and Stephenson. Even if we stay with a 4312 there are decisions to be made, although I agree Kirby likely to keep his place, will Norwood start, does Ihiekwe come back in and who will replace Jennings, if his injury was as bad as it looked?

I'm not going to this one, but having paid for a season ticket will be deemed to be in attendance. Think we'll scrape over the 4k mark and most likely scrape a win.
 
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I forgot that Ihiekwe is available again. Personally, I would start with the same back four as Saturday.
 
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Mal

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I hope NF stay up but after a 4-0 defeat to Tranmere. I think Mellon is organising the team better from an attacking perspective. So I expect a comfortable win.
 

Ian

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Agree with Mal. I would expect a pretty much defensive display from North Ferriby but we should be looking to put a few past them nevertheless.
 

Boz

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From Micky's comments today, it sounds like it will be an unchanged team.
I've only seen the summary on the o/s which is along the lines of "North Ferriby will be a different battle and it's good to have options." Does the full interview lead you to that conclusion? That would also mean Jennings has made a speedy recovery.
 
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He said the players who took part on Saturday would not be happy if they were 'rotated' and he (generally) only changes a winning team when he has injuries or suspensions. From seeing the full interview it does sound like Jennings won't play, however.
 
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Ian

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Well, if its unchanged it will be interesting to see how they get on tonight.
 

Boz

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As RLC thought, unchanged apart from Harris replacing the injured Jennings. Thought we might opted for some more pace, but ought to be strong enough
 
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Interesting philosophy - we pick our team and let the opposition worry about us. Under GB it was often the other way round, which would not inspire confidence in the players.
 
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A frustrating evening to say the least, but there is no denying Rovers deserved the three points. Credit to the players for the spirit and composure they showed in the second half, and credit to the manager for the tactical changes that won the game. It is safe to say we would never have won that match under Brabin, cf. Boreham Wood, Welling........

The first half was a non-event. North Ferriby were the most cautious and limited team we have played since we have been in this division, and the 4-3-1-2 formation did not work against their five man defence. There was no space in midfield for Almond to operate in and no width. We began the half reasonably brightly, but the tempo of our game gradually slowed and the quality of our play deteriorated and I can't remember us creating a genuine opportunity in the first forty five minutes.

Credit to Mellon for changing things quickly in the second period. The first five minutes of the second half continued in a similar vein, prompting the manager to switch to 4-4-2, replacing Kirby and Almond and bringing Norwood and Tollitt on. We immediately looked brighter and more dangerous, and I thought we actually played well for the rest of the half, showing plenty of energy and enthusiasm. We created a number of decent chances but did not take them, including McNulty hitting the crossbar, and it seemed it would simply be one of those nights. However, in the 94th minute Ridehalgh whipped in a delicious ball for Cook to power home; I was pleased for Andy as it had not really been his night and he had failed to make the most of a few good opportunities prior to the goal.

As ever with Rovers, our joy at the victory was tempered by a straight red for James Norwood. There seemed to be a 'coming together' with their keeper , followed by a bit of a melee, but I did not honestly see him do anything which merited a straight red. I have no idea how long he will be banned for, but it will be a massive blow to lose him from the Dover and (potentially) Chester matches.

A vital victory for Rovers, with most of the other top sides winning. It is ironic that if it had not been for the time wasting of the visitors, we would never have scored that winning goal. A disappointing end to the night for the thirteen NFU fans, but I have to say that some of the jeers directed at the opposing players at the final whistle were a little harsh: their gamesmanship was not on a par with Dover or Eastleigh, and they have very limited resources.

Man of the match Jeff Hughes, outstanding tonight, particularly when he drove us forward to find a winner in the closing stages.
 

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Agree in the most part RLC. First 45 was a none event and we did start the second half with a bit of tempo. Whilst I agree we did enough to win, we didn't test their keeper enough.

Still think we lack quality to the front men. Vaughan seemed happy to hoof it all night but with a bit of quality from Liam right at the death Cook pops up with an excellent header.

We need more of that quality.

Great to come away with the three points. Referee was a joke, felt it for Norwood at the end, ridiculous red card.
 
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Although we will be without Norwood on Saturday, Ricky Miller picked up his fifth booking of the season tonight and will also miss the game. A massive lift for us, as Miller is such a good player at this level: 16 goals in 12 games I think.
 
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I am still not sure what he is alleged to have done. Rumours that a fist was thrown, but I certainly did not see anything like that.
 

Boz

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It sounds like a good game to miss. Credit to Micky for making the changes, though I'd have preferred to see one of Stephenson or Tollitt in from the start. Given how the other results panned out a crucial win for Rovers.

Seen differing accounts of the Norwood red card. If there was no contact made, hopefully our cameras have captured it clearly enough to appeal. Otherwise up to 3 games without him is not good news.
 
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It sounds like a good game to miss.

I thought we played well in the second half and came away feeling positive. It was a very different attitude and performance to what we saw under Brabin.

I also don't accept the idea that the midfield is not creating. We created a number of chances tonight, but it is very difficult against a team that has no interest in crossing the halfway line. We scored three at Solihull, three against Woking, two against Wrexham, so there are definite signs of improvement in the attacking areas.
 
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