North Ferriby v Nostell Miners Welfare, Saturday 27th November 2021, 3pm

This weekend didn’t quite work out as planned, mainly due to Storm Arwen. Jen and I spent a couple of nights in Scarborough, primarily to see From The Jam at the Spa, but also with good intentions to finish off the Cleveland Way in Filey. Neither of those events happened with the gig being cancelled an hour or so before the doors opened due to high waves outside the venue and the weather making hiking a dismal prospect.

The storm messed with my football options too with the Scarborough Amateur League game in Filey being called off. I wasn’t too disappointed as that one looked to be in a field with no cover. My alternative choice took me to North Ferriby for a tenth tier Northern Counties East League Division One game. It was a seventy-five-minute drive which might seem a little excessive but the alternative was just cabining up in a bed and breakfast and that had minimal appeal.

North Ferriby is right on the Humber River. I could see it as I was driving into town. The water looked to have been a higher level than usual and was a brown colour. I’ve no idea if it was due to mud from the banks or from tory sanctioned sewage. Maybe both.

I parked up and walked past some allotments. There was a church just along from the ground and to the far side the Humber Bridge was visible. With a railway line running along one side of the Dransfield Stadium there was something for everyone to look at if the football was on the dull side.

It was a fiver to get in and another couple of quid for a programme. I was given a team sheet and bought a raffle ticket for a signed away strip. I commented that I hoped it was at least XL only to be told that it was in a frame. I resolved to give it back if I won.

I started off behind one of the goals, mainly to take some photos. There was steady drizzle though and I quickly moved into the covered stand on the railway side of the ground. I reckon that it probably held around four hundred in the central seated area with a standing section tagged on to each end.

It was absolutely freezing. My top half was ok as I had two coats on, a woolly North Ferriby hat that I’d picked up at the club shop, some gloves and my hood up. My legs were covered by nothing more than a single layer of denim and I spent most of the first half trying to keep the circulation going by rubbing my thighs Vic Reeves-style.

The temperature was 2 degrees, but apparently it was supposed to feel as if it was minus 3. I wasn’t going to argue with that. It took me back to the Torpedo Moscow game a year earlier where I’d squeezed in one last match before the Russian winter shutdown and almost done myself a permanent mischief.

North Ferriby were in green and white with visitors Nostell Miners Welfare in yellow and black. The fans around me were expecting the top of the table hosts to take the points in a game where the conditions meant that the floodlights were on before kick-off. North Ferriby were responsible for most of the chances in the first half, including one that they created at their own end with a wellied back pass to almost beat their own keeper. At the proper end they hit the bar and went close in some frantic goalmouth scrambles. Nostell held on though and it was still level at the break.

North Ferriby finally clinched the points twenty minutes from time after some six yard box pinball following a corner. It was a relief to the majority of the 276 crowd who, like me, had braved the conditions to avoid an afternoon cabined up.

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