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Kendal Town a whisker away from major upset against league leaders
North Ferriby United 3
Kendal Town 2
Evo-Stik Premier Division
KENDAL Town almost made table-topping North Ferriby United pay for their complacency by rallying late on to provide an exciting finish in East Yorkshire.
It was another defeat for Steve Edmondson, and with Stocksbridge Park Steels coming from behind to beat bottom of the table Eastwood Town 2-1, it means Kendal are now in the relegation zone as they moved down to second from bottom.
But Edmondson can be heartened by his side's second half performance to restrict the league leaders to just a one-goal win.
The match was a one-sided affair, with Town scoring from their only two real chances of the game.
The first half was all North Ferriby as the Grange Lane side came firing out of the blocks.
Anthony Wilson had a chance for the home side as early as the fourth minute and debutante Ryan Robinson, in for the injured Craig Dootson, made a good save in the ninth minute to deny Ryan Kendall.
A good clearance in the six-yard box stopped a Dean Lisles header from going into the net as well.
But North Ferriby deserved their goal when they broke the deadlock on 19 minutes. Kendall had a shot which was blocked by Black and Whites skipper Kevin Brown, but the ball fell perfectly for Gregg Anderson, who rifled his shot past Robinson to put the Yorkshire side 1-0 up.
The goal seemed to spring Kendal into a bit of life as they started to come into the game, but Alex Salmon and Mike Rushton struggled against a strong North Ferriby backline, and the home side's offside trap worked to great effect as Town players continually strayed offside.
Paul Alexander made a crunching tackle on Anderson when the home side counter-attacked in the 25th minute, while Ryan Williams couldn't get onto the end of a dangerous ball into the box seven minutes later as North Ferriby continued to batter Kendal with possession and chances.
In the 35th minute, North Ferriby doubled their advantage and threatened to run amok after Williams put in a tremendous cross for Kendall, who had got past his man to tuck the ball home deep inside the box.
Williams was playing well on the left hand side for the home side, and his shot with four minutes left of the half only just went over the bar.
Edmondson said he gave his players 'a rollicking' at half time but North Ferriby continued where they left off after the interval.
Despite some dreadful set pieces by the home side, Robinson was forced into two very good saves around the hour mark. Firstly he had to back-pedal when a Williams shot nearly went in, performing superbly to tip the ball over the bar, before getting a crucial touch on a Liam King 20-foot rasper which hit the bar thanks to the debutant's intervention.
Martin Grundy was forced to head the ball off his own line as the North Ferriby pressure continued, while Wilson's charged down shot almost squirmed into the net off Brown but luckily for the stand-in skipper, the ball went wide.
But a touch of complacency began to enter North Ferriby's game when Williams, through one-on-one with Robinson, tried a ridiculous chip over the keeper when he would have been better shooting normally.
And Kendal reminded North Ferriby that their work wasn't done when Mike Rushton scored with his first chance of the game. A sensational ball was played to Zach Clark, who cut inside the full back and rolled the ball along the box for Rushton to score an easy tap-in.
With 16 minutes left, Kendal were in with a chance of causing a major upset and when home goalkeeper Adam Nicklin dropped the ball from a routine free kick, Town had a great chance to equalise but the Yorkshire side recovered the ball.
While Town's substitutions had given them a lift, North Ferriby's seemed to take the wind out of their sails and a touch of anxiety crept into the home side's play.
So with five minutes left, they were relieved when they were awarded a rather fortuitous penalty. Brown was harshly adjudged by the referee to be holding back Wilson in the box, and Williams took a superb penalty to restore the league leaders' two-goal cushion.
But once again, Kendal showed their spirit when Clark was fouled just inside the box by Chris Bolder two minutes later, and Rushton sent the keeper the wrong way to provide a spark of hope for the Parkside Road outfit.
But with four minutes of injury time, Kendal were unable to fashion another chance, and they dropped into the bottom two of the Evo-Stik Premier League.
North Ferriby United
Nicklin, Lisles, Peat, King (Fry 76), Anderson, Foot (c), Clarke (Ridley 45), Bolder, Wilson, Kendall (Bradshaw 65), Williams.
Subs not used: Gray, Pecora
Yellow cards: None
Ryan Robinson, Danny McGahon, Tom Berwick, Ben Fishwick, Kevin Brown (c), Paul Alexander, Martin Grundy, Stuart McDonald, Alex Salmon, Mike Rushton, Zach Clark.
Substitutes: Jack Cook for McDonald (65), Aaron Helliwell for Alexander (71), Max Rothwell for Salmon (82).
Subs not used: Jamie Hastings, Nick Hayton
Yellow cards: Stuart McDonald
Key man: Ryan Robinson - Made an excellent debut in goal with some fine second half saves, and looks set to provide some excellent competition to Craig Dootson for the number one goalkeeper's jersey.