North Ferriby 0 City 2

A week of warm-up games gone and Stuart McCall suffered his first real setback in management.

When Matt Clarke over-stretched to try and block off Danny Ryan's shot and stayed down, you feared the worst. And almost a year to the day that Eddie Johnson hobbled away from Boston United on crutches, the big defender's game was instantly cut short on a stretcher.

Johnson was rushed back last time to make the opening kick-off, although in hindsight it was probably too soon given his recurring problems for the first half of last season.

The odds on Clarke, who has looked good in pre-season, making the first meaningful match against Macclesfield in just under three weeks are less promising.

His early departure meant that both David Wetherall and Mark Bower had to double their previous week's workload and step up from playing half a match to the full 90 minutes. With Simon Ainge nursing a slight injury and not making the trip, a position that looked well-stocked has suddenly been trimmed to the bone.

It's a big ask to expect Wetherall and Bower, particularly the skipper, to do the same against the Championship strikers of Burnley on Tuesday night.

Donovan Ricketts also played the entire match, looking more comfortable than his jittery night at Farsley, as did Scott Phelan, who surely did enough to convince McCall he is worth the punt of a proper contract.

Phelan, hoping to follow the production line from Everton reserves to City's central midfield, was again a bundle of energy and made his mark with several thundering challenges. Next to him, Eddie Johnson prompted City forward with some Steven Gerrard-esque passing in the first half.

Johnson's primary target was Joe Colbeck who, after a ropy first five minutes, really got the bit between his teeth and was clearly enjoying himself.

Former youth-team pal Luke Richardson, now on trial with North Ferriby, did not look so happy as he vainly tried to keep the flying winger in check.

But this was Colbeck as City fans love him, teasing and taking on the defender - and supplying a good cross at the end of most runs. With Omar Daley in similar mood on the left, Ferriby's back four were run ragged.

McCall had called for more composure from his widemen and was glad to see the message sink in.

"The pace of both Joe and Omar is electric," said the City boss. "We've just got to make sure we deliver when they get in the right position.

"You can be the best player in the world, beating six or seven, but if then shoot over the bar or cross wide then it's no good getting there in the first place. You need that bit of quality in the final area and that's what we've been working on."

The locals, too, seemed impressed.

"This lot look a better side than Hull City did last week," boomed one approving voice from the stand. Don't tell Dean Windass!

The end of the ground that bears his name saw both City goals.

The first, after 12 minutes, came after good work from the productive Colbeck. Although neither Barry Conlon nor Peter Thorne could find themselves a clear shot from the youngster's low cross, the ball broke kindly for Daley to fire across keeper Antoni Pecora and into the bottom corner.

Thorne scooped over the bar and Phelan should have finished a dazzling burst by Daley before Ferriby took matters into their own hands by scoring City's 27th-minute second goal themselves.

Again it was Colbeck causing mayhem after Phelan had picked off Chris Bolder's rushed clearance and though Andy Thompson got to the cross just ahead of Thorne, the right back only succeeded in rifling it beyond his startled goalkeeper.

There were further chances for Colbeck, who forced a good save at the near post after twisting Richardson in two, Thorne and, later on, rookie Luke Medley after the young cavalry came on for the final half hour.

Ferriby, managed by former Guiseley chief Neil Parsley, showed little composure when they managed to get within range of the under-employed Ricketts. But Andy Hayward should have pulled one back four minutes from time after beating Bower to a long hoof over the top but slammed wide with only the Jamaican to beat.

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