Friday, December 31, 2004

We will need to play well says Turner

Graham Turner has told the Exeter Express and Echo that his team will have to significantly raise their performance against what he describes as a "good" Exeter side.

"We didn't play well against Exeter on Boxing Day and we were punished," said the Bulls manager. "The most worrying thing was that we didn't work hard enough. They were a lot more industrious than we were and that is something we can't allow to happen in the re-match.

"We responded in the right way with a win over Leigh RMI which was what I was looking for.

"But we must ensure that we don't undo the good work by performing like we did on Boxing Day. Exeter are a good side so we need to play well."

The paper reports that Turner locked his players in the dressing rooms at St James's Park for almost an hour as he unleashed his post-match rant after the defeat. However the Bulls have only been defeated twice at home so far against promotion rivals Halifax Town and Stevenage Borough and have won their last four home games.

It suggests that if two sides can reproduce last season's cracking contest that was televised live over the festive period then the outcome will be too close to call.

"It was a great game last season," admitted Turner. "This fixture always seems to serve up some drama."

Meanwhile Exeter's loan striker Kezie Ibe, who made his full debut with a goal at Tamworth last Tuesday, is desperate to take the fizz out of Hereford United's New Year celebrations by firing the Grecians to a seasonal double at Edgar Street tomorrow.

Ibe believes his adopted side have a psychological edge ahead of the New Year encounter.

"We have already beaten them once so the lads are full of confidence," he said. "Hereford are a good team but we walked all over them and that bodes well for tomorrow's game."

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bulls seek revenge

Three points for Hereford United against Exeter tomorrow (New Years Day) will be very welcome after the 4-0 defeat at St James Park on Boxing Day. The Hereford players will be out to prove a point to the Exeter side who swept them aside just six days ago so there shouldn't be a lack of motivation for the home side.

Exeter can expect a good following at Edgar Street having won both of their Christmas period games so far, which sees them move from twelth to six in the table, just four points behind the Bulls. On Tuesday the Grecians defeated Tamworth 2-1 thanks to winning goal late on in the game. A victory for manager Alex Inglethorpe is likely to secure him the manager of the month award.

Hereford United have no fresh injury problems but there is some doubt whether Lee Mills will be able to make a come back having missed the last three games due to an ankle injury. However, Danny Williams will miss out once again as he is to have a scan to find out whether the midfielder has broken a bone in his foot.

Jamie Pitman is hopeful of being in the squad after suffering a shoulder problem against Leigh last Tuesday shoulder.

"He dislocated his shoulder, it popped out, in the game against Leigh RMI but the doctor manipulated it back on the pitch into place and he carried on. He has missed training but we expect him to be fit," Graham Turner told BBC H&W.

"Knowing Jamie, he is the sort of player that even with a bit of pain he will play through it."

Barnet launch fund to increase squad

Barnet Football Club has launched a fund with the aim of keeping their promotion challenge going.

The reason for the fund appears to be that Barnet are close to breaking the wage-cap applied by the Conference. The Bees have a squad of 23 players (Hereford United have 19 players in their squad) but are said to be concerned that they are not on a level playing field financially with other promotion or play-off candidates with bigger crowds and more finance to help swell their squad budgets and bring in new or loan players.

Barnet say that current runners-up Carlisle United have more than double the financial resources available to Bees manager Paul Fairclough.

Chairman Tony Kleanthous has explained to supporters that Barnet's playing budget has already been utilised by the arrival of new players in the summer, improved contracts being given to several successful first-team regulars such as skipper Ian Hendon, seventeen-goal Giuliano Grazioli and Simon King and the signings of several promising youngsters for the future.

Meanwhile Barnet fans are being asked to show a "Red card to the council" at half-time in the local derby televised game with Stevenage next Sunday. Tony Kleanthous says that Barnet will cease to exist if the stadium and ground problems are not resolved.

Williams to have X-ray

Danny Williams is to have an X-ray on his injured foot to ascertain whether any bone is broken. The Hereford United midfielder suffered a cut during the Forest Green game on December 7th.

He had several stiches put in his foot after the game but it is understood that he is still being troubled by the injury. Williams has missed the last four Hereford games.

Better news as regards Lee Mills. He is expected to be in with a least a chance of playing some part in this Saturday's Exeter match.

Meanwhile the Shropshire Star is reporting that Shrewsbury players, Trevor Challis and Kevin Street, are likely to move from the Gay Meadow.

Manager Gary Peters confirmed that two Nationwide clubs had been in contact about midfielder Street and one had enquired about left-back Challis. It is unknown whether any of the approachs have been from Hereford United.

Former Telford United man Challis, who struck the winning penalty to seal promotion in the Conference play-offs in May, would have played against Bury on Boxing Day had the game gone ahead but was dropped from the squad on Tuesday.

Street scored against Swansea in Peters' first game in charge but was left out of the squad on Tuesday and had only made the substitutes' bench in the two matches prior to that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Inglethrope likely to be Manager of the Month

It looks as though Exeter manager, Alex Inglethrope, will be the Manager of the Month.

Using the points based table, Confguide are reporting that Inglethrope tops the list followed by Jim Harvey, the manager of Morecambe.

Recently when Graham Turner has won the award, Hereford United have hit a poorer patch of form.

Whether the same fate awaits Inglethrope just in time for Saturday's visit of Exeter to Edgar Street remains to be seen.

Gates down at Edgar Street this season

So far this season gates at Edgar Street, the home of Hereford United, have fallen when compared with last season.

To date the average attendance has been 3080, which is down by 624 per game from the last campaign. This equates to a drop of arond 17%. However the average gate last season of 3704 was exceptional and some drop was to be expected.

However the figures may not be as bad as a 17% drop suggests when each home game is compared with the same fixture last season.

Some 36956 fans have passed through the turnstiles so far compared with 40748 at this time last season. This is a drop of 3792 fans in total. With twelve home games played so far the drop is only 316, somewhat less than the 624 drop mentioned above.

The table below compares the two seasons.

Fixture      2004/5  -  2003/4

Farnborough 3644 - 2630

Stevenage 3616 - 2879

Halifax 3022 - 1875

Scarborough 2874 - 4980

Aldershot 3647 - 4985

Burton 3320 - 3417

Woking 2878 - 2817

Barnet 3645 - 4447

Tamworth 2714 - 2561

Forest Green 2166 - 3195

Gravesend 2416 - 3731

Leigh RMI 3014 - 3231

Total 36956 - 40748

Exeter move up to sixth place

After wins against Hereford last Sunday and Tamworth yesterday, Exeter City have moved up six places to sixth position in the Conference table in the last week.

They are now hoping that a win at Edgar Street on Saturday will push them in the Conference play-off position for the first time this season.

Exeter manager, Alec Inglethorpe, has saluted his players for racking up a festive double after collecting six points from two matches over the seasonal period.

"I am delighted to have followed up our win on Sunday with a victory against Tamworth," he told the Express and Echo.

Exeter's improvement in form suggests that the New Years Day clash between the Bulls and the Grecians could bring the highest gate at Edgar Street this season with a possibility of over 4,000 attending.

So far Hereford's top attendance was against Aldershot back in September when 3647 were counted through the turnstiles.

The game has a 3pm kick-off and is all pay on the gate except, as usual, for Hereford United season ticket holders.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Bulls knock Railwaymen off the tracks

Hereford United swept aside Leigh R.M.I with a convincing 3-0 victory against the side bottom of the table at Edgar Street this afternoon. A clean sheet and a few goals were much needed following the hammering dished out to United by Exeter on Boxing Day, and the result should have been much more than 3-0.

Graham Turner had to make changes to the side following the poor performance on Sunday and made two in order to change the fortunes of his team. David Brown returned in the attack replacing Danny Carey-Bertram who dropped to the bench. Ryan Green, who has just returned from a long injury lay off, was started on the bench and Rob Purdie regained his place in the team.

Hereford underwent a nervey first twenty minutes before opening the scoring and from then onwards dominated the game. Leigh did not start badly when Tamika Mkandawire was forced to head a dangerous cross from Steve Smith over his own bar whilst under pressure from an attacker. Jamie Pitman found himself ahead of the defence thanks to a defence spliting pass by Purdie but Ryan Clarke made a crucial challenge. Chris Simm shot wide after dispossesing Tony James before he forced Craig Mawson to tip his cross-cum-shot over the bar. Michael Warwick then shot straight at Mawson before United began to take control.

Graham Hyde lifted a pass over the defence for Stansfield, who beat the onrushing 'keeper James Mann to the ball, and just kept the ball in play before crossing for Brown whose shot was blocked. The ball found its way to Simon Travis but his shot was saved and then the ball fell back to Stansfield who saw his shot from no more than two yards out tipped away by Mann. Former Bull Chris Lane was caught in possesion by Craig Stanley around half way as Stanley set off on a run towards goal, picked his spot from twenty five yards, and curled a brilliant right footed effort into the top corner for the opener after twenty five minutes.

Hyde showed some of his Premiership class with a first rate pass inside the left back for Travis, who then delivered a driven cross that somehow went through a crowd of players in the box when a touch would have almost certainly turned the ball in. Stansfield shot side after Jamie Pitman had crossed from the left as the Bulls searched for a second, and they got it five minutes before half time. Hyde played a pass to Brown who then threaded a superbly timed pass into the path of Pitman who had made a darting run and then Pitman notched his third of the season, lifting the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

Hereford should have scored again in the two minutes of injury time but some great saves by Mann kept the scoreline at 2-0. Stansfield had a good run and then tested the 'keeper from twenty yards before Purdie's brilliant pass down the wing to Stansfield allowed the attacker to set up his strike partner, but Brown's dummy for Stanley was read well by a defender. Stansfield then delivered another cross from the right, this time to the near post where Travis hammered a shot towards the roof of the net, but Mann made a fantastic diving save, tipping the ball away.

Hereford started the second half as they had finished the first, raining shots on the Leigh goal. Stansfield collected a long ball from James and won a corner from his shot. Mkandawire bundled the corner just wide. Stansfield won the ball from Lane soon after but couldn't get a shot away although the ball rolled to Stanley who shot wide from inside the box. The eleven Leigh fans knew the game was over for sure with five minutes of the half gone when the Bulls netted their third. David Brown started the move by holding play up in the middle of the park and then layed the ball of to Purdie who played a long ball towards Stansfield. He won the header which fell perfectly for Brown, who had made a run to Stansfield's right, and he hit a great right footed volley into the bottom right corner from around twenty yards.

Purdie set up Hyde for a shot from just inside the box with a low corner but the ball, that had taken a deflection, was turned out for another corner by a defender on the line. A second corner fell to Hyde, who headed to his right where Stanley hit a half volley that was pushed away by Mann and knocked in by Brown, but the linesman deemed him to be offside. Another good move saw Hyde pass to Purdie on the right who delivered a cross to the far post where Brown nodded down for Stanley whose shot was deflected out for a corner. A first sub for United followed shortly with Green replacing Pitman who had been hurt in the first period.

Stansfield shot wide again from a Stanley long ball before Brown flicked on for Stansfield who once again missed the target. After a quieter period for the home side, Andy Tretton was introduced for James and Carey-Bertram replaced man of the match Hyde and played on the left wing. Green and Travis linked up well on the right and the ball, after a touch by Travis, was turned just wide by Carey-Bertram. Mkandawire was unlucky not to see his powerful header from a corner not go in, but it triggered a goal mouth scramble when Mann blocked it. The ball emerged on the right with Carey-Bertram, who passed to Green and won a free kick. Green layed the ball onto Carey-Bertram who took a couple of touches before forcing a low save out of Mann, turning the ball into the side netting.

Stanley had another effort spilt by Mann, who did well to keep out so many shots from his opponents, before Simm had a rare effort for Leigh on the break, forcing Mawson to dive low to his right and tip the ball out for a corner. Chris Lane then rattled the frame of the goal with a thunderous thirty five yard effort that fell to an attacker by Mawson did enough to keep it out the second time, although he did concede a corner. Green had the final effort of the game after good work by Stansfield on the right, but his shot from six yards was saved by Mann.

The result sees Hereford defeat Leigh for the first time in the Conference at Edgar Street and was a much needed three points following the defeat at Exeter. A reasonably good crowd for the festive period, and taking into consideration United's last result, of 3,014 were well entertained with some super football and could well have seen a much higher goal tally had there been some better finishing and if Mann in the Leigh R.M.I goal had not been on such good form.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Travis, James, Mkandawire, Robinson, Stanley, Hyde, Pitman, Purdie, Brown, Stansfield. Subs: Tretton, Smith, Scott, Green, Carey-Bertram.

LRMI Team: Mann, Smith, Lane, Clarke, Peyton, Roscoe, Stoker, Rose, Williams, Warrick, Simm. Subs: Ashmole, Coyne, Tench, Soszynski, Nayim.

Hereford up to third place

The defeat of Leigh RMI this afternoon by three goals to nil has put the Bulls into third place in the Conference table.

The attendance of 3014 was better than expected after last Sunday's defeat at Exeter. Eleven brave souls from Leigh made the trip to Edgar Street.

Jamie Pitman sustained what, at the time, looked like a shoulder or collarbone injury midway through the first half. A stretcher was called for but thankfully was not needed. Ryan Green was announced as a substitute for Pitman.

However as soon as Pitman reached the dugout he clearly felt able to carry on so Green stayed on the bench. The midfielder shyed away from tackles for five or so minutes but then popped up and scored the second Hereford goal. His injury seemed forgotten but he was replaced during the second spell by Ryan Green.

After the game Graham Hyde was interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester. He admitted that the first fifteen minutes had been a bit sticky but improved once Stanley scored.

"Fantastic goal. The first one is so important as it settles people down. He's done brilliantly. He got the ball back on the half-way line and run and finished brilliantly. It was a good goal.

"To be 2-0 up at half-time, it's a good scoreline. Then at 3-0 you like to think its game over."

Credit must be given to the Leigh RMI goalkeeper, James Mann, who had a superb game for the railwaymen. Without him the scoreline might have been several goals higher.

Support the Bulls

With drier weather forecast for this afternoon, what better than to come to Edgar Street and watch Conference Football.

Hereford United are hoping for a reasonable gate despite the visitors Leigh RMI being bottom of the league. Recent games between the two clubs have been closer than their respective position would have suggested beforehand.

Leigh are expected to have at least two ex-Hereford players in their side. Chris Lane and Gareth Stoker are regulars this season for the Railwaymen.

Manager Geoff Lutley is hoping that last Sunday's postponement of Leigh's game will leave his side fresh for today's testing trip to Hereford.

"They are full-time and a very strong side," he said. "Our training has gone well, however, and we will be going there in a positive frame of mind."

Meanwhile this morning's Daily Telegraph is reporting that Lee Mills and Danny Williams return from ankle injuries for Hereford against bottom club Leigh RMI. Whether that information is correct remains to be seen.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Bulls need to stop the rot

Following the embarrasment of the defeat at the hands of Exeter on Boxing Day, Hereford United need to show some bounce-back-ability to maintain their position as promotion contenders this afternoon when Leigh R.M.I are the visitors to Edgar Street. However the game, which looks easy on paper, has proved to be a difficult task for United in previous Conference meetings at Edgar Street.

Mark Drew was set to miss Leigh's Boxing Day fixture through suspension but, because that game was called off, he will now have to serve the ban against Hereford. Striker Karl Rose is still out for the bottom of the league side with an ankle injury. Leigh, who have seven league points and no away victorys, may be looking forward to the trip to Edgar Street having had three wins and two draws there in previous seasons.

Hereford have no fresh injury problems from the Exeter game but neither Lee Mills nor Danny Williams are expected to feature again. Both have ankle injuries and are not likely to have recovered since the Boxing Day game so will once again miss out. Ryan Green came through the match with no reaction to his hamstring.

Graham Turner will have to seriously consider changes to his side following the inept performance against the Grecians. Many supporters have been calling for a change in formation but the changes may be more likely to be in personel. It will be surprising if Jamie Pitman and Graham Hyde both start again in the centre of midfield as United have only scored once in three games with this pairing. David Brown or Rob Purdie could be recalled to the left wing with Craig Stanley returning to his preferred position in the middle.

Tony James hopes that Hereford can put in a good performance and re-install some confidence into the side against Leigh, but he also realises that it might be a tricky game. "Past games against them, at home, have always been tricky. We've just got to get back and start a new run now, forget about this (Exeter) game, erase it from the memory and get back to some good work and play the football we have been doing these last few weeks." He told BBC H&W.

"We could do with a good win against them, a good confidence booster."

The Best and the Worst

Yesterday's Non-League Paper had a feature in which their "Conference experts" picked out the best and worst players that had graced Conference sides. Below is what they said about Hereford United.

Best: Wolves legend Steve Bull and the youngest-ever Wales international Ryan Green, both represented Herefprd.

There have also been Non-League internationals Tony James, Matt Baker, Michael Rose, Steve Guinan and Rob Purdie.

But the best of all of them has been Paul Parry, whose departure for League One Cardiff City was followed within a month by a call-up for the full Wales squad.

Worst: Wayne Dyer never looked remotely like a player of international quality during his short spell at Edgar Street. Yet in the time since his departure, he has gone on to become not only a regular for, but the captain of, his adopted country Montserrat.

But the dubious honour of worst goes to Robbie Dennison, an unending disappointment who never showed the effort and commitment which made him a Northern Ireland regular.

Out-battled admits James

Tony James, the Hereford United captain, told BBC Hereford and Worcester that his side had no excuses for yesterday's 4-0 defeat at Exeter.

"Out-worked, out-battled, out-played," said James. "It was just one of those days when everything has gone wrong.

"We just looked a shadow of ourselves over the past six weeks. It was a totally different side."

Speaking about Exeter's third goal James continued: "Tamika lost the ball in the sun. It happens. Straight from the second-half start we were not at the races.

"We've not wanted the ball hardly anywhere on the pitch. We really made it difficult for ourselves."

It must have been a difficult interview for James, but to his credit he didn't try to make excuses.

Meanwhile Alex Inglethrope, the Exeter manager, told the Express and Echo how pleased he was with the result.

"I thought we played extremely well against a very good team," he said.

"Hereford were in the top three at the start of the day, but we were worthy winners. To challenge in this league your home form is always going to be important.

"We have managed to give the supporters something to cheer about and the league is incredibly tight at the moment."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Exeter take chances to slaughter Bulls

Hereford United suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, and since April 2003, with a shocking 4-0 loss at the hands of Exeter City at St. James's Park this afternoon. Exeter, who seemed to have most of the luck today, were deserved winners. However, if United had been more clinical infront of goal in the first half the result could have been totally different.

Graham Turner opted to start the same side that finished so well against Gravesend but this failed to pay off as the result shows. Lee Mills, who was expected back, did not travel and was missed in the attack as the Grecians over powered the Bulls. Danny Williams was still out injured and Ryan Green started his first game since injury.

Tamika Mkandawire had the first of many chances after around ten minutes with a spectacular overhead kick that fell just over the bar after Adam Stansfield had nodded Green's cross back into the middle. Danny Carey-Bertram was then felled as he paced towards goal but advantage was played and Jamie Pitman was blocked off by a defender as he attempted to round him, but again the referee gave nothing.

Sean Devine fired a warning shot wide before the first goal in the twelth minute. Les Aful fired a cross in from the right that was touched on to Andy Taylor. He was through on goal but shot against the legs of Craig Mawson, sending the ball into the air above Mawson. The 'keeper lepped up off the ground to punch clear but the ball was sent goalbound and dropped behind the covering Mkandawire, and bounced into the net.

Mark Robinson shot wide from twenty five yards before Carey-Bertram played Green down the right in a Hereford counter attack that ended with Green's cross being headed behind for a corner. Mkandawire then had a super chance to level the scores when he bought Jamie Pitman's free kick down on his chest and then lined up a shot from six yards that was blocked on the line. Green then latched onto Carey-Bertrams touch following a throw in by Travis, and appeared to be tripped in the box but again nothing was given. This was just before half time, but before the whistle was blown for the end of the half Exeter had doubled their advantage.

Aful, challenged by Robinson, layed the ball back to Scott Hiley who delivered a cross that was touched away towards the back post by Mkandawire, but Dean Moxey was well placed to strike the ball left footed across Mawson and into the far bottom corner.

Just five minutes of the second period had passed when Sean Devine wrapped up the victory for the home side. A long ball was played from the Grecian's defence towards Mkandawire who handed the chance to Devine on a plate by mis-kicking and giving the attacker a clear run on goal. He made no mistake in tucking the ball beyond the reach of Mawson for 3-0. Exeter pressed further and it took a goal line clearance by Green to deny the home side a fourth until Tony James made a costly error.

The skipper attemped an aerial pass across his penalty box but it was intercepted by Moxey's head, and he played Devine in behind the defence whose shot across goal was turned in by James, who was rushing back to defend. Hereford made a double sub soon after, but it was clearly too late to get anything from the game. David Brown was introduced for Stansfield and Rob Purdie took to the field in place of Graham Hyde. The changes seemed to improve the performance but Hereford still had no goals to show for it. They have only scored once in their last three games.

Man of the match Green crossed for Stanley, after good football by United, but his shot was deflected over from fifthteen yards. The resulting corner fell to Mkandawire on the ground and he got a shot away that was blocked by Paul Jones in the Exeter goal. Brown tested Jones with a first time effort after Pitman's free kick and then Mkandawire forced a low save out of Jones with a headed effort from Green's free kick. Moxey had Mawson beaten again with a close range effort that he lifted over the advancing 'keeper, but James was on hand to clear before Santos Gaia hammered a full volley from around the half way line, following Robinson's clearance, that dropped just the wrong side of the post.

The three hundred or so Hereford fans in the crowd of 4,280 know that Hereford simply weren't quite good enough today and the result will bring the team back down a peg or two having suffered a big dent to their promotion aspirations. The pairing of Hyde and Pitman in the centre of midfield does not seem to be working. United have only scored one goal from three with this partnership, and if they thought it was assisting them defensivly then today will mean questions are asked. Six points from the next two games are a must for Hereford.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Travis, James, Mkandawire, Robinson, Stanley, Hyde, Pitman, Green, Stansfield, Carey-Bertram. Subs: Tretton, Smith, Scott, Purdie, Brown.

ECFC Team: Jones, Hiley, Sawyer, Gaia, Jeannin, Moxey, Buckel, Aful, Taylor, Edwards, Devine. Subs: Rice, O'Sullivan, Clay, Sheldon, Ibe.

Not Hereford's day

Hereford United were defeated 4-0 by Exeter City this afternoon at St James Park.

The score line slightly flattered the Grecians as three of the goals were fortunate to say the least and the Bulls came more into the game in the second half.

The attendance of 4280 was down on last year's fixture which took place on New Year's Day. That match brought 4943 spectators through the turnstiles. Today 300 Bulls fans made the trip to Exeter, about fifty more than last year. It appears that the call by some Bulls fans to boycott the game had little effect.

Meanwhile reports on the Official Hereford United site that the coach did not arrive at the ground until 12.30pm are totally incorrect. The players arrived at St James at 11.55am and were out on the pitch shortly afterwards.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy Christmas from Bulls News

As Bulls News will not have any updates tomorrow, we would like to wish everyone everywhere a very happy Christmas.

We will be back on Boxing Day with a match report and comment from Exeter.

Captain praises Mkandawire

The Hereford United captain, Tony James, has been telling the Non-League Paper how well Tamika Mkandawire is playing at present.

"Tamika was on loan here last season.He returned earlier this year and although he took a little while to settle back into things he is probably our most consistent player at the moment," said James.

Mkandawire returned the compliment.

"I have really benefitted playing alongside Tony, he leeds by example. Our training has been going well and I'm really enjoying my football.

"We will be disappointed if we don't make the play-offs. We've as good a chance as any side in the top half.

Looking forward to Sunday's game at Exeter, Mkandawire continued: "I haven't played against Exeter before so I don't know what to expect, but I'm sure it will be tough."

And Tony James hopes that Exeter will have their minds more on their FA Cup game with Manchester United than their Conference games.

Exeter sign Ibe from Yeovil

Exter City have signed 21 year-old Kezie Ibe from Yeovil Town in an attempt to "inject some pace" into the team.

"It's a player I have always had an interest in," said Alex Inglethrope, the Exter manager. "He's quick, young and still learning, but it will be interesting to see how we go with having a bit of pace in the side.

"Genuine pace is the one thing that has been missing from the team and it will be interesting to see how we go with that."

It is not yet certain whether Ibe will feature against Hereford United on Boxing Day.

Already Exeter's Glenn Cronin (knee), Kwame Ampadu (groin) and Danny Clay (stomach) and defender Santos Gaia are doubts for the game.

Skipper hopes to finish year well

Tony James, the Hereford United captain, is hoping that his club will finish the year with three wins. The Bulls play Exeter twice and Leigh once.

"We'll be aiming to get maximum points from the three games to finish the year on a high," Tony James told the Western Daily Press.

Meanwhile Graham Turner is exercising a little caution about Exeter.

"They've got some good players there. I'm quite surprised they are in the bottom half of the table," he told BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Exeter first in Christmas fixture list

Hereford United travel to Exeter for the first of three games over the Christmas period on Boxing Day, kick off 1 p.m. Exeter will suply a tough test for United, who will most proabably be content with coming away from St.James'Park with a point. The Bulls faced the Grecians twice over the same period last season and came away with four points in total, and will be hoping to at least match that return.

Exeter, currently twelveth in the table, will be without in form striker Steve Flack who has netted three times in his last four appearances because of suspension. He picked up his fifth booking of the season last Saturday. Hereford will also be hoping that, with their opponents preparing for a glorious cup tie at Old Trafford, they will be at a slight advantage coming into this game.

The Bulls have some good news on the injury front with Lee Mills returning to fitness following an ankle injury. The former Premiership attacker has already notched up nine goals this campaign and will be hoping to continue the rich vein of form he was in before his injury at Scarborough. Ryan Green will be pushing for a place in the starting line up after greatly impressing in his substitute appearance against Gravesend. The only doubt that the Bulls have is over the fitness of Danny Williams. He received a blow to his ankle against Forest Green nearly two weeks ago and is not expected to be fit enough to face Exeter.

Talking to the Hereford Times, manager Graham Turner said that he is not sure that Exeter will provide as sturner test as they did last season. "Exeter is always going to be a tough place to go although I'm not sure that they have quite such a strong squad as they had last season." Following some comments made in the Media regarding Exeter last season, it is expected that Graham Turner will not receive the warmest of receptions by the home crowd.

Hereford currently only trail Barnet in the form tables having not lost in their previous six Conference outings whereas Exeter have won three, drawn once and lost in their last six games. The Grecians will be hoping to defy the form, and league table though and with a good Boxing Day crowd expected will be intending to dent Hereford's play off aspirations and boost their own.

Half season Player by Player review

With half of the current campaign already over, Bulls News reviews each player's season so far.

Craig Mawson - Joined at the start of November and has totally settled an uneasy Hereford defence. Despite not having the same experience of Johnathan Gould, he knows the Conference very well and has impressed on numerous occasions for United. His debut saw him save a penalty in extra time against Doncaster in the LDV Vans Trophy and then saving a further three in penalty shoot-out. He appears to communicate and control his defence very well and this has been of huge benefit to Hereford United.

Johnathan Gould/Ben Scott - Gould put in several superb displays and showed some of his class, single handedly gaining United several points with some first rate saves. However, the defence was leaking far too many goals and Gould did not appear to be commanding his area in the manner that he should have been. His loan spell was cut short in mid October when Preston's first choice 'keeper broke his hand. Ben Scott stepped in for two games and did not do enough to convince the manager that he was worthy or the Number One shirt.

Ryan Green - Injury has restricted the highly rated defender to just eight appearances this season. A huge hit last season, his presence in both attack and defence have been sorely missed this campaign. He scored his only goal of the season away at Northwich back in August. "Greener" returned to the side last weekend and impressed greatly, linking up well with Simon Travis on the right wing, and playing a big part in helping United to the three points.

Simon Travis - His early season displays made him a certain starter for Graham Turner and he became a fans favourite with his excellent performances at wing back. A stunning goal on the first day of the season did a lot to help his run in the starting eleven. He has only missed two games back at the end of August but it has to be wondered whether tiredness is kicking in as he doesn't seem to bomb up the wing, as he was earlier in the season. However, worsened conditions and a change in formation have probably not helped Travis.

Tom Smith - Following his faultless performances in Hereford's running streak at the end of last season, Smith must have been hoping that he had earned himself a regular place in the side. However, with four centre backs on the cards at Edgar Street he has found first team opportunities hard to come by. When he has been included Smith has played very well but still he cannot break through to the starting eleven too often. With the formation changing to 4-4-2 there is only places for two centre backs and Smith seems to be the one missing out.

Andy Tretton - Typical Tretton has been solid for the most part but, following an injury leading to Tamika Mkandawire's inclusion in the team, he now finds himself stuck on the bench. Much like last campaign he has given a cool, more experienced head, in the defence but will have to be patient and work hard to regain his starting place.

Tony James - A disappointing, yet just about adequate, first half of the season for the skipper. Some have said that he seems to be lacking in confidence and has lost a lot of his composure for one reason or another. Manager Graham Turner faces a tough decision if Jamers form doesn't improve because, although he is club captain, he has two more than capable centre backs ready to step into his place.

Tamika Mkandawire - Tam has hardly missed a game that he has been available for and is one of the contenders for player of the season so far. His most recent run in the starting eleven of twelve games has seen him perform brilliantly throughout and has, more often than not, been a contender for man of the match in each of those games. He has also scored two in his last three games. More of the same in the second half of the season from Tam will see him have an excellent season, Graham Turner will be delighted with the purchase of the centre back in the summer.

Mark Robinson - The left back has just got better and better since joining in pre-season. Robbo had his critics in the early stages of the campaign, but was playing in the position of wing back rather than his usual full back but, coinciding with the change of formation to 4-4-2, he has been very consistent of late. A good addition to the squad the squad and a fine replacement for Michael Rose, even if he does not offer as much in attack as Rose did.

Danny Williams - His season started well but has seen some inconsistent form since. He has chipped in with five goals already equaling last seasons total. Williams has been a regular in the midfield throughout the season. His goals from the midfield, should he keep up the scoring record and hit double figures by the end of the season, could be a big factor in the Bulls charge for promotion.

Jamie Pitman - Pitman started the season poorly compared to last season but now seems to be returning to his normal self. He began the season keeping Graham Hyde out of the team but, following an injury against Aldershot, lost his place to the ex-Premiership man and failed to return to the starting side until recently. He has netted twice since his return from injury and has teamed up with Hyde in the centre of midfield in the last two games.

Rob Purdie - The disappointment of the season so far. It has to be wondered if he is carrying an injury, maybe the same one that caused him to miss the second leg of the play offs, as he is nowhere near the level of performance that he showed last season. He has only started seven times this season and has yet to impress. A much better second half of the season needed for Purdie, or he may find himself struggling for a new contract at Edgar Street come the end of the season.

Craig Stanley - The only ever present player for the Whites; that must say something for his performances or at least what the coaching team think of them. As Ben Smith's replacement, he does not get as many goals, but still attacks well and is certainly not afraid to shoot, which has been a suggested problem with some of the side. Stanley started the season well but suffered a little dip in form, however, he seems to have overcome that now. Not the best passer of the goal, he has made up by scoring four goals.

Graham Hyde - Received many critics at the start of the season and a number of fans, including myself, were not happy with the signing of "the crab". Some poor form at the beginning of the season only backed up what many said but it seems as though he was just settling in at that time. Hyde's season started when Pitman was injured against Aldershot and has been one of the consistent performers since then and is a massive influence on the side. When all players return to fitness it will be interesting to see who is left out; if Hyde keeps up his form, it will certainly not be him. A very good signing by Graham Turner.

David Brown - Has failed to generate the sort of partnership he had with Steve Guinan with Adam Stansfield as the two started as the first choice strikers this season. Brown's ability to bring others into the game and create space have helped him in keeping his place for most of the season, but with Mills and Stansfield banging in the goals he may have to settle for the odd game upfront and in the midfield when he is needed. His last goal was against Barnet but he has played on the wing mostly since then.

Adam Stansfield - Top scorer so far with eleven goals in total, ten of those in the league. His current strike rate should see a very successful season for Stansfield who has been criticised of late for missing a few too many chances. Should he cut this out of his game he will become an extremely good signing for United, and may be in with a chance of the top scorer award in the conference.

Lee Mills - Following a successful first month at the club, Mills was rewarded with a contract for the season; and he has repaid Graham Turner's faith in him with nine goals so far and a different option in attack. He has showed some of his Premiership class with several fine performances and his hold up play and flicks to bring others into the game have been sublime. At his current rate Mills could well get 15-20 goals this season. That would be an excellent return for someone who is seen as a "second striker".

Danny Carey-Bertram - Due to being the fourth choice attacker, DCB has been restricted to only three sub appearances this season when he may have been hoping to build on last season. His last two have must have given Turner plenty of food for thought though, as he has impressed greatly in both. He should have scored against Forest Green late on, and had two very good chances against Gravesend, and has a massive influence on that game. He could well put the poor finishing down to lack of match practice and will be pushing for further appearances over the Christmas period.

Andy Williams - The local lad has not played as yet other than in pre-season friendlies, but has been named on the bench for eight games. Looks as though he could develope into a useful striker.

Sam Gwynne - Another local player for the future, has been on the subs bench for two games.

Craig, you're a real gent

Many Hereford United will have already heard about Craig Mawson's recent kindness to a young supporter. For those who haven't this letter appears in this morning's Hereford Times.

I write to thank Hereford United's present goalkeeper Craig Mawson.

Prior to Hereford's recent LDV cup match v Blackpool, Craig had been having a conversation with a Hereford supporter. During this chat it was mentioned that a young supporter of the club was in Neville Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, having his appendix removed.

The following day Craig and his wife arrived at the hospital with a signed football. Unfortunately they had missed the young supporter by a couple of hours as he had been allowed to return home. However, he did receive his signed football.

It's so satisfying and reassuring that the better side of football still exists as so many are quick to highlight the immoral points associated with this fanastic game.

Many thanks Craig for your kindness as I'm sure you've put a glow of hapiness n that young supporters heart. All the best for the remainder of the season. Craig you're a gent.

The letter was written by Clive Pritchard fron Brecon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Remember Kettering

Below is an article by Nicholas Harding from this morning's Daily Telegraph.

The fate of Kettering 13 years ago is a stark reminder to Barnet, who look down on the rest of the Nationwide Conference 10 points clear. Their advantage a week ago was 13 points.

Kettering, who suffered only their second loss of the 1990-91 season on Jan 19, had gone into the new year leading by 11 points but eventually finished fourth, seven points behind the champions, who were.....Barnet.

Twice, in the Nineties, Kettering were runners-up. The good times have long since passed. Peter Morris, the manager who also took them to an FA Trophy final in his second spell at Rockingham Road, is scouting for Manchester City. And Kettering are in the Conference North, challenging for promotion with joint leaders Alfreton.

Barnet, who have looked vulnerable at home against lowly sides, losing to Burton and Tamworth in the league and South League Bath City in the FA Cup, are invincible on their travels.

"We came back after the Bath defeat and we will respond again," manager Paul Fairclough promised after the upset against Tamworth last week.

Although his club face three games in seven days over the holidays - two of them against Stevenage, his former club - Fairclough has allowed veteran defender Danny Maddix to leave Underhill. The 37-year-old former Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday player, who made 38 starts last season, has not figured this time.

While Barnet enjoy the benefits of local derbies, spare a thought for Scarborough, who visit them on Dec 28, and Aldershot, who make the even longer trek to Carlisle the same day.

"I'd like to thank the fixtures secretary," Terry Brown, the Aldershot manager, said with undisguised sarcasm. "That must have taken great geographical awareness when you think of the local derbies we could have had against Woking, Farnborough or Crawley. He has probably cost us between £10,000 and £15,000 in gate money."

The return of striker Jonny Dixon for another month on loan from Wycombe Wanderers is, though, a bonus for Brown. Dixon has scored five goals in six games for the Shots who continue, nevertheless, to look a shadow of the team that reached the play-off final last season.

Nor have Hereford, Aldershot's victims in the play-off semi-finals, hit the heights of last season. But Graham Turner's men, who lag a further four points behind second-placed Carlisle, are over their slump and well placed to answer the critics who say the best route into the League via Edgar Street is to play on the wing and join another club. Michael McIndoe, Paul Parry and Gavin Williams have all followed that particular path.

Carlisle are best placed to capitalise should Barnet fade, especially now that top scorer Karl Hawley and midfielder Chris Lumsdon have signed extended contracts, keeping them at Brunton Park until June 2007.

Down at the bottom, Leigh RMI, who have taken one point from the last 39, are seemingly destined for the drop along with Northwich Victoria, who may not recover from the 10-point penalty they incurred for going into administration

Exeter fan does police work

Recent problems with money going missing at Exeter City Football Club do not appear to have been taken very seriously by the Devon Police.

A bucket collection for the club of around £700 was recently stolen from the club and it has taken hours of reviewing CCTV tapes by an Exeter club supporter to pick out a possible suspect. It is understood that the police were not prepared to look through around 300 hours of tapes.

This robbery comes after it was alledged that some £4,000 may have been stolen from the bars at the club.

The forum on carries most of the details of the robbery even including where the burgler may have left his prints.

It seems that when overtime is available, such as on Boxing Day, plenty of police will be all round the football club, but when a robbery takes place they don't really want to know.

Exeter City supporters have had a lot to put up with lately. A good turnout of Hereford United fans for the game next Sunday would show some solidarity (it isn't the Exeter fans fault that the game kicks off at 1pm) and at the same time back Graham Turner and his squad.

LDV date confirmed

The semi-final of the Northern Section for the LDV Vans Trophy will take place on January 25th as previously reported.

Hereford United will entertain Wrexham on that evening with a 7.45pm start. The other semi is between Oldham and Tranmere.

The referee at Edgar Street will be Brian Curson from Leicestershire. His assistants, John Flynn and Brendan Malone, are both from Wiltshire.

It is still not certain when the Conference Cup game between Burton and Hereford, originally set for that date, will take place. The following Tuesday seems most likely.

Meanwhile Wrexham are in trouble with neighbours Chester City.

The Welsh club went into administration three days after meeting City in the LDV Vans Trophy quarter-final, and they subsequently failed to pass on approximately £20,000 that was owed to Chester from their sale of tickets. The monies are now in the hands of the administrator Begbies Traynor, and Chester are now one of a number of football creditors who are owed money by the Racecourse outfit.

Last season Chester were very slow to pay Hereford United for tickets to watch the last Conference game at Edgar Street.

Still time to buy tickets

There is still time to buy tickets to watch Hereford United at Exeter on Boxing Day.

It is thought around 200 tickets have been sold so far for the 1pm game and the Hereford office is able to take bookings until it closes tomorrow (Thursday).

Meanwhile former Hereford United player Dixie McNeil is to become manager of Welsh Premier side Newi Cefn Druids.

McNeil, a prolific striker at Edgar Street and the Racecourse, has been handed the task of trying to revive fortunes at Plas Kynaston. He has experience of the Welsh Premier, having been manager of both Flint Town United and Caernarfon Town.

The Druids will be hoping the experienced campaigner can keep the club clear of relegation danger, which became an increasing possibility following last Saturday's 7-0 drubbing at Caersws.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bookies favour Bees

Barnet have taken over from Carlisle as the bookies choice to win the Conference title. A month ago Carlisle were about 5-4 and Barnet about 7-4. But Totesport now has the Bees as low as 2-5, although some firms quote a little higher at 4-7. Carlisle can be found at 5-2 but average just over 2-1.

Hereford United can now be found as high as 11-1 to win the Conference title. This price comes from vc bet.

However there is quite a lot of variation in the odds quoted for the Bulls with William Hill only offering 13-2. The average is about 17-2 which is little changed from a month ago.

As regards the LDV Vans Trophy, Hereford United are quoted at 6-1 to win with Bet 365, but 10-1 to win with Skybet.

Adam Stansfield is at 12-1 to be top Conference scorer along with Carlisle's Karl Hawley. Both Lee Mills and David Brown are now at 40-1. Barnet's Grazioli is the bookie's favourite at 8-11.

Meanwhile, some bookies are already giving prices for the Boxing Day clash between Exeter and Hereford. Skybet makes the Bulls just favourites to win the game. They are offering 11-8 for a Hereford win, 13-8 for an Exeter win and 11-5 for a draw.

Flack to miss Hereford game

Steve Flack, the Exeter forward, is to miss the Boxing Day clash with Hereford United after receiving a yellow card last weekend reports the Exeter Express and Echo.

The former Cambridge United and Cardiff City striker is set to miss the Conference game with the Bulls after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign against Scarborough at the weekend.

Although disappointed to have landed a one-match suspension, the 33-year-old is breathing a sigh of relief that he won't miss the FA Cup game against Manchester United.

"I wasn't aware that I had racked up five yellow cards and it will be a blow to miss the Boxing Day game," he added.

"Of course no one wants to miss the Manchester United match as it is going to be fantastic for everybody at the club."

Flack has scored four goals in his last three games for the Grecians.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Tamworth fined three points

Tamworth have had three points deducted from them for fielding an ineligible player. They will drop two places down the Conference table to 14th position.

The club used the player in their game against Leigh RMI last month.

The Tamworth official website has reported the news as below:

Tamworth FC today lost it's appeal against a 3 point deduction and £250 fine for fielding an illegible player at Leigh RMI on 6th November 2004.

The Registraton document of James Francis got delayed in the post and was not received in time for him to qualify to play in the fixture.

Tamworth FC General Manager Russell Moore said "This is a very harsh punishment to take for a genuine error. I would like to thank everyone for their support during a very long six weeks"

Manager Mark Cooper said "We will use the situation to challenge the squad to kick on yet again and maintain our current excellent form. It's a hard decision to take, but yet again things have been thrown up as obstacles to the club. I will ensure the players stay focussed and that the whole club remains united. We will continue to push the club forward and will have to wait and see how far we can go."

Tamworth defeated league leaders Barnet 3-0 at Underhill last Saturday.

Meanwhile the Hereford United under 18 side defeated Cirencester 2-0 last Saturday. This was their first win for sometime.

Exeter respond to criticism

An Exeter fan has responded to criticism on the official forum about the timing and cost of the Boxing Day game at Exeter.

There is a post on there from a guy saying he's "boycotting" our game on boxing day because WE brought the KO forward and are charging AWAY fans £1 more.

Both actions are the result of the police - they "advised" (ie told us) to bring the KO forward and we cannot afford the increased costs of policing that we have to take because you are Hereford (Devon and Cornwall police don't have a clue how to handle games - I don't know how they're coping with Argyle playing teams like Leeds!).

The most important point that I need to make though, is that its not just away fans being charged £1 more - ALL prices have been raised by £1 to cover the increased policing costs. We are making a loss every week as it is, and the Man U game doesn't change that (this decision was taken months before the draw was made). As for it being all ticket for away fans - I'm not toally sure, but I would expect that being down to police "advice" again.

If someone could add that to your board Id be most grateful. I thought this had been discussed when the decision was initially made, but it seems some didn't see the explanation and so there is some confusion.

Meanwhile there is still time to obtain tickets for the Exeter away game on Boxing Day (Sunday 26th) as they can be purchased from the club until close of business on this coming Thursday. Bookings for the Supporters Coach can also be made with the club.

Tickets cost £11 or £6 for concessions. Travel on the coach is £13.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Three points were vital

Graham Turner thought that Gravesend were very competent against Hereford United yesterday.

"They came with a game plan and you could see how, early in the season, they were right up at the top of the table. I thought they made life very difficult for us and have got some half-decent players in their team.

"I thought it was an excellent result and a game we might well have lost last year.

"We dug in and showed some resilience and the three points were vital," Turner told the Non-League Paper.

Andy Ford, the Gravesend manager, was disappointed that his sides' poor run continues.

"I thought we might have started another little run today but their goal changed everything.

"Hereford are a good footballing side."

Meanwhile Graham Turner has put Barnet on his Christmas wish list hoping they will slump at Underhill.

"Barnet were going very well until yesterday. And over the course of the season you would expect every team to have a slump, hopefully they will be no different."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Bulls capitalise as Bees slip up

Barnet finally slipped up against Tamworth at Underhill as Hereford United managed to close the gap between themselves and the leaders with a 1-0 home victory against Gravesend and Northfleet. The Bees were reduced to ten men after twenty two minutes and succumbed to a 3-0 defeat, only their second loss of the season. Hereford shaded their encounter with Gravesend, just, and scored after seventy three minutes through Jamie Pitman

Graham Turner had Lee Mills on the sidelines with an ankle injury so David Brown deputised in the only change to the starting line up. Andy Williams was named on the subs bench as was Ryan Green, who has now recovered from a hamstring injury. Ex Hereford United attacker Nick Harrhy was named amongst the Gravesend's subs.

The first half, which was a poor one by United's standards, was fairly uneventful and rarely excited the pre-Christmas crowd of 2,416. The impressive Adam Drury swung a cross that travelled across the face of the goal and was an inch or so from connecting with Chris Moore's outstretched foot at the far post. A similar effort by Adam Stansfield in United's first real attack of the game saw the ex Yeovil striker flick the ball just wide. Roy Essandoh headed against the post for Gravesend following a cross from the right as Gravesend looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Stansfield perhaps should have done better when Hyde found him with a pass beyond the defence but Stansfield lifted the ball just over the bar when through on goal. Mark Robinson's free kick was met by a towering header by Tamika Mkandawire but the ball flew just over. Drury then set up his team mate Jay Saunders but his effort was wide as the half came to a close.

Drury, by far the visitors most dangerous player, troubled Craig Mawson soon after the restart with a drive from twenty five yards that required the 'keeper to tip the ball over. Mkandwire should have done better with a second headed effort, this time he was free in the box following Pitman's chipped free kick. Goalkeeper James Pullen caught the effort at the second attempt. Rob Purdie then set Pitman away on the right and he ran on down the flank before firing in a cross-cum-shot that dropped onto the top of the bar. Craig Stanley received the ball just inside the box after good passing by and Stansfield but his deflected effort fell an inch the wrong side of the post.

At the other end, in a rare attack, Craig McAlister got goalside of the defence and looked set to get a shot away but Simon Travis made a crucial tackle. McAlister got into a good position again a minute later, but this time Robinson made a brilliant block as the striker shot. With this spell, Graham Turner saw the need for change and made a double substitution, that arguably changed the game. The ineffective Purdie was replaced by Green on the right and Brown was sacrificed for Danny Carey-Bertram. Carey-Bertram was immediatly involved when he latched onto a Mkandawire clearance, taking the ball in his stride with a brilliant touch, but his powerful effort when one on one hit the 'keeper and clipped the upright.

United's next attack resulted in the only goal of the game, and it was a deserved one as the Bulls began to dominate. Travis found Stansfield in the middle of the park and he set away on a run, skinning his marker and crossing, from the right, to the far post where the onrushing Pitman had the simple task of tapping the ball over the line.

Robinson then set Stansfield in on goal again with a good pass from the left, but he could not beat Pullen, who diverted the shot out for a corner with his legs. Green then split the defence with a neat left footed ball for Carey-Bertram to run onto but the young attacker got to the edge of the box and then overhit a cross. Green, who impressed after a spell out with injury, crossed for Stansfield who somehow managed to flick the ball towards the bottom corner with his back to goal, forcing a save out of the goalie and winning a coner for United.

Travis was fortunantly placed to touch a cross from the right out for a corner with two opponents ready to pounce. Soon after, the thirty six away supporters did see their side get the ball in Hereford's goal, but Essandoh's far post header supplied by a cross from sub Moussa Sidebe was ruled offside by the assistant. Carey-Bertram should have wrapped the game up in injury time when Green cut the ball back to Stanley, who played the ball to his left where the youngster was placed just six yards out, but he managed to fire high over the bar when unmarked.

The Bulls shaded the game, but only just though, and the result could well have gone either way. Hereford kept another clean sheet, which is an area that the manager has made it clear he wanted to improve in so the result will please Turner greatly. The win, which sees the Whites close the gap at the top and move up one place in the table, sets them up nicely for the Christmas period that sees three outings in six days for Hereford.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Travis, James, Mkandawire, Robinson, Purdie, Hyde, Pitman, Stanley, Brown, Stansfield. Subs: Tretton, Green, Scott, Carey-Bertram, A Williams.

GNFC: Pullen, McArthy, Moore, Lovell, Drury, McKimm, Saunders, Jackson, Gledhill, Essandoh, McAlister. Subs: Wilkerson, Protheroe, Pinnock, Harrhy, Sidebe.

Pitman's goal enough against Fleet

Hereford United leap above Halifax Town into third place in the Nationwide Conference after today's 1-0 win over Gravesend & Northfleet.

United had the best of the game, but it took a Jamie Pitman strike eighteen minutes from time to beat their Kentish visitors.

The shock result came at Tamworth, where league leaders Barnet were hammered 3-0, while two late goals for Carlisle United saw them beat Woking 2-1. Halifax Town drop to fourth after a goalless draw at Forest Green Rovers.

Speaking after Hereford's win today, scorer Pitman told BBC Hereford & Worcester that Gravesend had made it difficult for the Bulls.

"They worked really hard to shut us down so we just had to persevere. Luckily for me I was the one who scored the goal at the end.

"I saw Adam pick it up wide and luckily for me it came across the box and I just managed to get something on it.

"After that we had a few even better chances. Sooner or later we are going to score more goals.

"At the end of the day it was a difficult game. They came and frustrated us but it's the result that matters."

Difficult for Bulls to win title

David Brown has admitted to the Evening News that Hereford United can not afford to drop any points if they are to have any chance of winning the Conference title.

The Bulls are 17 points behind Barnet, but with only one point from last weekend's draw at Scarborough the gap is increasing.

"I think with the way Barnet are going, if we've got any aspirations of winning the league then we are going to have to win every game and hopefully they will slip up somewhere along the line," said Brown.

"We've had a little dip in form and we are now hoping they have one too. But we cannot worry too much about it. We have got to do our best and get enough points to be in the play-offs at the very least.

"We are looking at winning all our home games and trying to pick up at least a point in away games. We are on a good run and we hope it continues.

"It was a fair result at Scarborough. We possibly edged it on chances but it's just good to keep a clean sheet because it's a tough place to get a result. We were expected to win but they have got a good record at home. A goalless draw is better than defeat."

Brown hasn't featured on the score-sheet many times this season.

"I've been playing on the left wing for the last five or six games. I've played in midfield before for Hull for the majority of one season.

"You have to do what you can to win games and I'm just glad to be contributing. Unfortunately, during that time I've not had many chances to score, but that could change."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Turner wants better quality players

Graham Turner has told the Evening News that he would like to strengthen his squad probably early in the new year.

"We've said before that we are looking to strengthen the side but we've got to bring in a better quality of player than what we already have," said the Hereford United manager.

"That's not easy because we are coming into a busy period, other clubs have a number of injuries, and they don't want their players to go. That's one of the problems we've found, clubs are hanging onto them.

"There's three areas that we are looking to strengthen in but I'm not looking to go into detail. We will have to see what unfolds early in the New Year."

As regards tomorrow's match Turner continued: "Gravesend are struggling a little bit and have fallen into the bottom half of the table. They can be dangerous, though, and have a lot of ability, so we are going to be a bit guarded.

"We are looking to improve our home record. It's not what I would expect from a team that has got promotion aspirations. You always want to win your home games and we want this place to be fortress, but there is no easy formula doing that other than working hard."

Baker moves from Wrexham

Ex-United goalkeeper Matt Baker has moved on from Wrexham after spending no more than five months at the Racecourse. Baker is the second signing that the new MK Dons manager has made since taking charge recently. The ex-English Semi Pro international, who spent four seasons at Edgar Street making 124 appearances, turns twenty five tomorrow.

"Danny (Wilson) has offered Matt the chance of first-team football with Milton Keynes," Wrexham boss Denis Smith told the BBC.

"Matt has proved a more than capable deputy for the injured Dibbs but was only on a one-year deal. So with his contract up this summer anyway, I do think this was best for all parties concerned. He has played well for us and I thank him for his efforts on our behalf," added Smith.

Baker left Edgar Street in hope of furthering his career, but his move to Wrexham turned out not to be as successful as he would have hoped; he was second choice to Andy Dibble there. His new club may turn out to be better for him, but MK Dons are by no means safe in League One, they lie in the relegation zone with just eighteen points from twenty one games.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bulls ready for the Fleet

Gravesend and Northfleet are the visitors to Edgar Street tomorrow afternoon. They hope to gain some revenge from the game ealier in the season that saw United defeat Gravesend 2-1 at Stonebridge Road. A repeat performance of their last visit to Hereford, which saw six goals shared equally among both side, would satisfy the Fleet who haven't won in their last ten outings.

Gravesend enjoyed a good start to the season that saw them well placed in the play offs at one stage, but their unbeaten streak was ended when the two sides met last September. Now, on the end of a long run without victory, Gravesend are placed in fifthteenth posistion with twenty six points.

Gravesend have a few injuries and suspensions that may hamper their team but the signing of attacker Craig McAllister from Stevenage will aid manager Andy Ford's selection problems. Emmanuel Omoyinmi is a doubt along with Ben Surey and Justin Skinner is missing due to suspension. Steve Portway may be in with a chance with playing and Mark Munday faces a late fitness test.

United have no suspensions, but do have a couple of doubts over the fitness of two or three players. Ryan Green has completed his rehabilitation course at Lilleshall but is unlikely to be fit enough to play the whole game so is a candidate for the bench. Lee Mills was injured at Scarborough with what it suspected to be slight ligament damage in his ankle so may not be risked by Graham Turner before the busy festive season. Tamika Mkandawire is expected to have recovered from the flu in time for the game, but Danny Williams is still struggling with a gash to his ankle that required stitches.

Three points will set the Bulls up nicely for a potentially crucial part of the season. Graham Turner will have to be careful, though, not to over play any of his squad as they face three games in six days over the Christmas period including two difficult ties against Exeter.

Halifax could get cash injection

Halifax, who have a Wimbledon-based president in chartered surveyor Robert Holmes, have, through him, delved even deeper into the Surrey stockbroker belt to find their latest benefactors reports the Daily Telegraph.

Philip Pride, a businessman from Hindhead involved in sports promotion, is heading a consortium eager to invest £500,000 in the Yorkshire club. Talks between Pride, the club and The Shay Stadium Trust are at an advanced stage.

Holmes said: "We have many people talking about investing money after a drink in the boardroom but these people seem sincere." The investment would help Halifax complete renovations to their east stand.

With the Pride package, the club would then be entitled to another £300,000 from the Football Foundation. "We can't get that money until we provide some of our own," Holmes explained.

Gates down at Edgar Street

There are less supporters attending games at Edgar Street this season when compared with the last campaign.

Although Hereford United are currently in fourth place in the Conference and so in line for a place off place, they are some 17 points behind leaders Barnet.

To this stage last season gates had averaged 3564, but have dropped to 3153 this season. This equates to a drop of 12% in a season.

Whilst it is difficult to put a figure on the loss of income, the drop so far this season must be approaching £30,000. If it continues then the money received from the Gavin Williams deal will about cancel out the fall in gate receipts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Farnborough play on

Farnborough Town will be able to continue playing in the Conference after agreement was reached with the Inland Revenue over an unpaid bill.

The winding up petition, which was issued recently against the club, has been dismissed this afternoon.

Meanwhile injury problems at Gravesend for Ryan Peters. He is likely to miss the trip to Hereford on Saturday with a hamstring injury.

The 17-year-old from Brentford only made his debut in Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Barnet.

The Fleet have a further injury concern ahead of the match as Manny Omoyinmi, one of the better performers at the weekend, is doubtful with a hamstring strain of his own.

Turner wants to strength squad

Graham Turner has said that the money received from the transfer of Gavin Williams, the former Hereford United player, from Yeovil to West Ham will be spent wisely.

"The money from Gavin Williams will be spent wisely. What we've got to do is put a firm financial base down and stick to that," Turner told the Hereford Journal.

"As a manager I would like to spend money that the club hasn't got. But by being Chairman as well, I've got to look at both the club and the team, and then safeguard that business acumen.

"I would like to strengthen the team, I have made no secret of that, but finding one or two players is a bit more difficult than saying it."

Meanwhile Ryan Green is reported to have returned to full training after a fortnight away at Lilleshall, but there are still doubts about both Lee Mills and Danny Williams for next Saturday's game against Gravesend.

Yeading survive with average gate of 137

Yeading Football Club pay their players around £310 per match according to an article in today's Daily Telegraph.

The article, which is mainly about how much the club will earn fron their FA Cup third round tie with Newcastle United, gives an insight into finances at the club.

Their average attendance is said to be 137, yet their annual budget is around £330,000. The club runs 19 teams and are hoping to have a ladies' team in the near future.

They are expected to earn £350,000 from the Cup tie.

Contrast the figures with Hereford United whose gates are around 3,000 and have a budget of about £600,000.

It suggests that there is someone at Yeading putting in a lot of money to keep that club going, as the income from gate receipts are unlikely to reach £1,000 per home game.

Meanwhile Stevenage Borough has announced that they are having to make cuts in the number of players at the club.

"Unfortunately, we suffered from an exceptional injury list during the early part of the season, we had to carry a big squad to cope with it and it has cost us a lot of money. We are now dangerously close to our wage cap and we can't allow even the remotest possibility of a three-point deduction," said manager Graham Westley as reported on

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Gravesend add to squad

Gravesend and Northfleet, who visit Edgar Street next Saturday, have agreed with Stevenage Borough to take striker Craig McAllister on-loan for a month. The signing increases their squad to 23 players.

McAllister, 24, joined Stevenage from Basingstoke Town in the summer but has been restricted to just a handful of appearances for Graham Westley's side. He was one of the Rymans League's leading scorers last season.

After a strong start to the season, Gravesend have slipped down the Conference table and now lie in 15th position. They have only picked up two points in their last six games.

Last Saturday they were defeated 3-1 by Barnet at home. Reports suggested that more composure in front of goal would have resulted in a second or even third goal for the Gravesend team. That could point to one reason why manager Andy Ford has signed Craig McAllister.

Meanwhile there doesn't appear to be much interest from Gravesend fans in coming to Edgar Street next Saturday. Only 15 have put their names down for supporters travel so far. Hereford United took 244 fans to the Gravesend game last September.

Injury and Flu worries at Edgar Street

Lee Mills has joined Ryan Green and Danny Williams as doubts for next Saturday's game with Gravesend according to the Shropshire Star.

Mills limped off the field in the 35th minute against Scarborough on Saturday to be replaced by another former Telford striker, David Brown. The former £1m man joins Danny Williams and Ryan Green on Hereford's injured list, more worries for chief Graham Turner.

Meanwhile it is also reported that Tamika Mkandawire is suffering from flu. It is unknown whether he will recover in time for Saturday's match.

Under 18's at Westfields

The 9-0 defeat by Cambridge of the Hereford United under 18's side last Saturday must make some supporters wonder if the youth team is just having a bad run or whether there is a lack of talent locally.

The side plays in the Football League Youth Alliance South Central Conference league and are currently propping up the table.

Cambridge were leading 4-0 at half-time and then made several substitutions with the intention of resting three of their best players. One of the substitutes was only 14 years old.

The visitors went on to win the game 9-0 which included two penalties.

Tomorrow the under 18's visit the allpay park to play Westfields in the HFA Giantkillers Cup second round, kick-off 7.30pm.

It would be a good chance for a few local Bulls fans to go and support the Hereford United team.

Monday, December 13, 2004

For the love of the game

This morning The Daily Telegraph has an interesting article written by Ricky George about Barnet and its chairman.

It contrasts the gap between Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd and Tony Kleanthous and illustrates how the wait for promotion will be worthwhile should Barnet achieve their aim.

Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous has a simple explanation as to why he has spent the last 10 years of his life and nearly £3 million of his own money devoted to the survival of a tiny football club in North London: "For the love of the game."

Kleanthous has had to endure worry, frustration and heartache over the years and pay a small fortune for the privilege. Now there is light at the end of a tunnel that for years must have seemed longer than the Northern line.

This morning, Barnet sit proudly at the top of the Nationwide Conference, 13 points clear of second-placed Carlisle United, undefeated away from home, and with a goal difference of plus 39 -not even Chelsea can get within a mile of that.

Relegation from the Football League in 2001, expensive High Court cases battling against an unhelpful Barnet Council, a play-off defeat last season, ongoing stadium issues and failed planning applications have contrived to turn the 38-year-old chairman's hair grey.

But whatever the present colour of his 'Barnet', Kleanthous is not getting it cut. "As soon as we went top of the league in September," he explained, "I vowed not to have a haircut while we remained in first place. If I look like Ozzie Osbourne in May I'll be a very happy man."

Barnet's young side, managed by former Stevenage boss Paul Fairclough, show no signs of not wishing to turn their chairman into a hippie and the bookies now have the Bees priced as near certainties at 4-9 to be Conference champions. The emphatic 3-1 win at Gravesend on Saturday was achieved in style, after a difficult first half during which `Fleet' held sway and the lead at half-time.

"I've seen players at Barnet over the years who thought they were men," Kleanthous said after the game, "but these boys are truly men." Former Tottenham and Orient defender Ian Hendon, 32, captains a squad of which nine players are under 21, including midfielder Dean Sinclair who started his career at Norwich City.

Non-League football is littered with former Premiership and Football League scholarship players and young pros that didn't make it - a point that should not be lost on the rest of football and those who seek to run it. Men like Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd, who, as opposed to the Tony Kleanthous's of this world, is paid handsomely (salary and benefits package amounted to £591,639 in 2002-03) for running the club he says he serves "for the love of it".

Shepherd's recent crass dismissal of the rest of football outside the Premiership provoked a furious response in non-League circles: "Where do people like Shepherd think that kids like Sinclair end up?" said Kleanthous. "What is football supposed to do, just drop them off the edge? Why shouldn't they have the dream, why shouldn't we have the dream? It's a very selfish point of view."

Other non-League chairmen were equally succinct, like Accrington Stanley's Eric Whalley, whose club went full-time again this season after 42 years in the wilderness. "Don't tell me Shepherd gets paid for making those stupid comments", he said. "He should go and get a proper job. It shows what level of football he's been brought up with; if he'd done the rounds he'd be able to comment. I've strong views on football, and I hate people who try to decry the commitment at this level. He doesn't know what he's talking about."

Ben Robinson, chairman of Burton Albion, who are about to move to a new stadium, said: "The game as a whole needs the little clubs. Is Shepherd saying forget about the FA Cup as well? Sky call the tune at the moment, but what happens when the money runs out? It's elitism at its worst. The whole spectrum of football is at risk from people like Shepherd, the money should filter its way down to development in schools, not continually be thrown at players."

Nationwide Conference chief executive, John Moules said: "This is the second time in 12 months that a leading figure in the Premiership has made a similar comment. Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon predicted only 40 full-time clubs in the near future and now Shepherd says the Premier League will run football. When attendances at that level are dropping, how does that equate with the fact that The Conference attracted over a million fans last season?"

Kleanthous concluded: "I think Freddy wants to take his ball away so we can't play with it". Tell that to the Barnet supporters.

Halifax hunt racial abusers

Both Halifax and Tamworth were accused at the weekend of not controling racial abuse from their supporters. But Halifax have vowed to try and ban those involved.

According to the Halifax Town Mad Site, the Shay Stadium manager Geoff Butler is today looking through the CCTV footage to identify the culpits of the racist abuse from Saturdays game.

Officials of Canvey Island, the match officials have lodged official complaints about the abuse and the majority of Halifax Town fans will be sickened that the good name of the club will be tarnished because of a few mindless ediots.

Butler told the Evening Courier, "The referee, advised by his linesman, and the Canvey Island club, have indicated there was racial chanting against some of their players. I was in the West Stand and saw and heard it. I will be looking at the CCTV footage today and hopefully I will be able to identify the main individuals. They should be warned that if we don't get them this time, they will be targeted in subsequent matches. There is no way we are going to tolerate racial abuse. Some Halifax Town supporters have complained about it as well and they were sickened by the nature of the abuse. There is nothing wrong with chanting for your team and getting involved in that way. But when it sinks to this, we do not want it at the Shay."

Club Director Chris Haddock also condemned the abuse and has vowed once caught that the perpertrators will not be watching Halifax Town again.

Many on this site's messageboard and over on the official site have united in the fact that what happened was disgusting and shouldn't have happened.

Geoff Butler was stood in the Skircoat and witnessed for himself what happened and the CCTV footage will hopefully show the culprits doing the abuse and the club should enforce a ban on this people. If we don't do this, then the football club will be seen to condoning a tiny majoritys view and will be tarnished for a very long time.

At Tamworth it is alledged that abuse was directed at Andy Preece, the Carlisle striker.

BBC Sport has reported that Tamworth intend to crack down on any repeated racist behaviour after a Carlisle player was allegedly abused in Saturday's Conference game.

Tamworth say a 'serious racial comment' was made from behind the away dug-out when Carlisle made a substitution.

Club safety officer Tony Reeves said: "Tamworth FC has a solid reputation for being a friendly hospitable club.

"And, for not tolerating the kind of comments made by these two so called Tamworth fans."

Stanley has played in every game.

Craig Stanley is the only Hereford United player who has started in every Conference and Cup game for the Bulls this season to date.

The young midfielder, signed by Graham Turner after losing his place at Telford, has usually started in the middle of the park either partnering Jamie Pitman or more recently Graham Hyde.

However he has played on the left when both Pitman and Hyde have been in the team as at Scarborough last Saturday.

He has scored four goals for the Bulls to date. Two of those were in Conference games, firstly against Gravesend back in September and secondly against Forest Green last Tuesday.

The goal at Gravesend came from "Mills who set man of the match Stanley through on goal in the seventy eigth minute for Hereford's winner. Stanley made a run from midfield and calmly slotted the ball through the legs of Wilkerson for 2-1."

Against Forest Green "Stanley smashed a stunning volley into the bottom corner" just after a Pitman free-kick.

Stanley scored late in the Boston FA Cup match. His twenty yard shot took a deflection but the goal was credited to him. However his best effort so far came in the LDV game against Scunthorpe at the end of September.

Our report on the game described the goal: "Stanley broke the deadlock after thirty five minutes with a magnificent solo effort. The midfielder picked up the ball around the half-way line, ran at the defence and cracked a great effort from twenty five yards that left the 'keeper helpless as it flew into the top corner."

He may not be the most skillful player in the squad, but no-one can doubt his determination on the pitch. All his four goals have come from relatively long range efforts and in a season when, as yet, the Bulls appear to failing to convert enough chances close to goal, maybe Stanley should be encouraged to get forward more often.