Who would have thought twelve months ago that Hereford United would currently be second in Division Two with perhaps the best squad of players seen at Edgar Street for many years?
Well it is true.
And with half this season completed, the Bulls stand a reasonable chance of, at the very least, being in the Division Two play-offs.
How times change.
Later today Hereford United play Notts County at Edgar Street kick-off 3pm. The team deserves a good turnout of supporters. And with reasonable weather expected this afternoon, there's no excuse for not going to Edgar Street.
A happy Hereford United New Year to you all.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Who would have thought twelve months ago that Hereford United would currently be second in Division Two with perhaps the best squad of players seen at Edgar Street for many years?
With just five days to go before the big FA Cup match at Tranmere, many travel organisers are reporting that they are almost full to capacity. The HUMADS double-decker if now fully booked and there are just a handful of places left on the two coaches being run by the FUNBUS. Bulls News also understands that independent coaches are running from Ross, Malvern, Ledbury and The Forest of Dean along with the Eon sponsored National Express coach making probably seven or eight in total. In addition, HUISA will continue taking bookings in Legends prior to the Notts County game on New Years Day. With the club office closed until the 3rd January, fans are encouraged to confirm their bookings at the Notts game. A spokesman for HUISA today told Bulls News "We have four coaches reserved and are well on our way to filling the third. It will be extremely difficult to monitor any late demand after New Years Day so we may stop taking bookings after the game tomorrow". Any independent travel organisers who have spaces may wish to update Bulls News by contacting ExLandlord on 07866 518226 or by Emailing Bulls News in order that fans can be kept informed of any late availability.
It is expected that the number of coaches is eventually likely to number at least twelve.
HUISA – 01432 276666 (Club Office)
FUNBUS – 07812 144831 (Ben)
LEDBURY – 01531 634387 (Jeremy Wolfe)
Winger Simon Johnson has told BBC Hereford and Worcester that the Bulls need to improve their home form to that of their away form.
"Our away form is brilliant. It's got to be one of the best in the League and if we can get the home form going as good as the away form we will have a good chance of being up there at the end of the season," said Johnson.
Johnson has staked a claim for a regular place in the Hereford side with some good performances recently.
"I need a decent run of games to get my fitness and confidence.
"Because we have a good squad of players I need to keep affecting games to keep myself in the team."
In other news Nigel Miller will be the referee for the FA Cup game at Tranmere next Saturday. To date this season in the 20 games he has officiated he has given 38 yellow and 5 red cards.
It's a long time, if ever, since Mr Miller was in charge of a game involving Hereford United.
The board of directors at Bury have warned manager Chris Casper and Director of Football Keith Alexander that results must improve.
In response to supporter unrest after their sixth successive defeat, the board called the pair in for a meeting. A statement reads: "The Board of Bury Football Club met on Saturday after the disappointing result against Dagenham & Redbridge, and again today, Monday 31 January, to discuss the immediate future of Bury Football Club.
The meeting considered the latest results, which have been disappointing and the important fixtures over the next seven days, two of which are important cup games. This morning, Chris Casper & Keith Alexander were invited to meet the board and a passionate and frank discussion took place.
The board has explained to Keith & Chris that the fans and the club expect improvement in future results and they will be monitoring the situation on a game to game basis."
QPR have completed the signing of midfielder Gavin Mahon from Championship rivals Watford.
The 30-year-old, formerly with Hereford United, who has struggled to make the first team at Vicarage Road this season, has initially joined Rangers on loan with a view to completing a permanent transfer.
"It's a very exciting time to be joining this club," Mahon told Rangers' official website. "There were four or five other Championship sides that showed an interest, but once I'd spoken to the chairman, Gianni Paladini, there was never any doubt in my mind I'd be joining Rangers. The ambition and drive of the board and the new investors really impressed me and I'm delighted to be here."
Mahon was in the Vicarage Road stands on Saturday when Rangers beat Watford 4-2 and added: "It was a surreal experience. When QPR went ahead early on I was happy, but at the same time it was a very difficult situation to be in having spent so many years at Watford."
He goes straight into the squad which hosts Leicester tomorrow.
Gillingham have tabled a significant six figure bid for ex-Bull Stuart Fleetwood. Boss Mark Stimson said: "We are interested in signing Stuart and have made a second offer. We'll have to see what develops now.". Forest Green have denied reports linking a second ex-Bull, Mark Beesley, with Cambridge United.
Former Bull Craig Stanley has agreed a new deal at Morecambe. The 24 year old has signed a new deal until 2010 after leaving a one year deal at Edgar Street for the two year deal on offer at Christie Park in the summer of 2006. The Shrimps have also signed goalkeeper Scott Loach on loan from Watford as a replacement for the departing Joe Lewis. Grimsby have given striker Nathan Jarman a new deal into the new year. The former Barnsley man has been on a monthly deal at the club. Leeds have lodged a £150,000 bid for Barnet striker Jason Puncheon.
Bradford have signed midfielder Lee Bullock from Hartlepool on a months loan. He had previously been on loan at Bury but rejected a permanent move. The Bantams have also extended the contract of Kyle Nix until the end of the season. Luton's Administrator has extended the deadline for bids by a week. Offers were due by today but, with more than a dozen interested bidders, the deadline has had to be extended until January 7th.
Peterboro have added two more to their oversized squad. Tom Williams joins from Wycombe on an initial loan but with a permanent free transfer deal to be finalised on January 2nd, and Scott Mitchell joins on a one month contract after impressing in trials. Williams played for The Posh 60 times in two spells, and will replace departing loanee Jeff Hughes, while Mitchell is a former Livingstone player who left the club in November after his short term contract expired.
Macclesfield have released two players, but given five new deals. Jimmy McNulty and Mick Jefferies have been released but Izak Reid, Levi Reid, James Jennings have signed deals to the end of the season, with former trainees Matthew Flynn and Andrew Teague agreeing month to month deals.
Chester have offloaded defender Ashley Westwood to Stevenage, but are to sign Hull winger John Welsh on loan. Rochdale have signed goalkeeper Sam Russell to a permanent deal. He has played eight times for the club since joining on non-contract terms.
Notts County manager Ian McParland has admitted that his side are in a relegation battle with just half the season gone.
The pre-season play-off contenders have earned just five points from their last eight games, and McParland has admitted that aspirations of a high finish are beyond his side: "The Christmas fixtures have not been kind to us with Rotherham coming on the back of MK Dons and they were too good for us.
"We're involved in the relegation battle now and although some people expected us to be pushing for a top six place, they have to get real and recognise that we do not have a magic wand."
Veteran goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington, who was credited with keeping the score down against both MK Dons and Rotherham, has spoken of the need to give a better performance at Edgar Street: "We've got to head down to Hereford now and roll the sleeves up; we need to get a result. We owe ourselves a performance to be honest, and we have to do a lot better.
"It is important we get something from Hereford given our recent results, and three points would be tremendous. The fans are disappointed and they are entitled to their opinion, because they pay their hard earned money to watch us - and we must put in some performances for them and get results and climb the table sharpish."
The Magpies have completed the signing of free agent Guy Branston on an initial one month contract. The former Peterboro defender, released earlier in December, is not available for tomorrow's match according to the Magpies.
The Bulls entertain Notts County on New Years Day in a League Two encounter at Edgar Street.
The Bulls are three for three in matches against the Magpies since their return to the League. In October, the Bulls triumphed 3-2 at Meadow Lane with a Steve Guinan brace and a goal from Ben Smith enough to overcome the home side.
Since then they've had a change in management, with Ian 'Charlie' McParland replacing Steve Thompson. However the change has not brought about an improvement in results, with McParland winning only four of 13 games in charge leaving the Magpies just four places off the bottom of the table when they were predicted as play-off contenders pre-season. They have lost their last two matches, against contenders MK Dons and Rotherham, winning only one of the last eight.
The Bulls will be looking for a vast improvement on their last Edgar Street outing. That 3-0 drubbing by Morecambe earned the Shrimps a Performance of the Week award, but it has triggered back-to-back away wins for the Bulls and a good display will be expected by what should be a bumper crowd. Theo Robinson has scored in six of the last seven games, but is yet to score twice in a game for the Bulls.
Hereford United vs Notts County, Edgar Street, Tuesday 1st January, 3.00pm.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Father and Son, Andrew and Liam Beavan from Lilac Grove, Hinton in Hereford have been banned for four years from going anywhere near Edgar Street on home match days for six hours before and four hours after any game.
The soccer ban also stops them going within ten miles of any away match ground.
The case was reported in last week's Hereford Times.
The Beavan's were arrested after taunting Swindon Town supporters on April 7th. The case went to court in September but Hereford magistrates refused to ban the two men. A judge at Worcester Crown Court recently overturned the decision.
Joanne Barker prosecuting said that whilst police were escorting Swindon supporters into Edgar Street, 18 year old Liam Beavan 'began goading them'.
'His father, aged 40, started shouting similar abuse and was finally handcuffed. He had a previous conviction for assault and his son had been involved in five previous football hooligan incidents'
Judge Geddes commented:
"Without hestitation, we are satisfied there are reasonable grounds to impose the ban to prevent future violence or disorder."
With the Bulls about to enter trading on their third January transfer window, it has been a mixed bag for signings in the last two years.
In the first season the Bulls were subject to a transfer window, they made only one permanent signing with Stuart Fleetwood arriving in late January 2006 to bolster the forward line. His initial success, three goals in successive games once he had attainted match fitness, faded away and he increasingly became a bit-player with glimpses of brilliance before being released this summer.
Last season, the Bulls brought in Ben Smith and Danny Thomas on contract. Smith's arrival brough fresh optimism, and Graham Turner built the current side around the ball playing midfielder. Thomas was a hit and miss winger, with slightly more misses than hits. Early good performances were overtaken with poor ones, and the fans were still split on his talents when his release was announced.
Four loan signings were also agreed in the window. Last season Steve Guinan followed Ben Smith in a return to Edgar Street and instantly paid dividends. Steven Jennings also arrived from Tranmere, with fans content with his midfield performances.
The previous season, Nicky Nicolau and Daryl Taylor both arrived for the Conference push. Nicolau was solid but no better than those already at the club while Taylor, in his second spell at Edgar Street, was a pale imitation of the player that wowed the fans the season before before a crunching tackle ended his season.
As always Graham Turner will keep his dealings silent until the ink is dry, but movement has been promised and he will have been working on new faces for weeks already.
Graham Turner gave a little advice to Bradford manager Stuart McCall after yesterday's match according to the Bradford Telegraph.
"The only advice I'd give Stuart is that you never stop learning. But if he sticks to his beliefs then he will make a good manager. He's had a good career and worked with some good managers and I'm sure he will be a success," said the Hereford United manager.
"It was a great win for us.
"But we are realistic. We are competing against some big clubs who have had big injections of cash. We have not been able to do that, but it is nice to be up there.
"Our first priority if maintaining our league status. We set a target of 54 points to avoid relegation and that remains our target.
"We must not get drawn into talking about promotion. We have been tested over the last four or five matches with injuries and although we have come through okay we need to sign two players in January."
Bradford have confirmed they have opted not to extend the loan of top scorer Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu from Gillingham til the end of the season. The striker hit six goals in 18 league games for the Bantams, including two at Edgar Street, but played in only three of six games in December.
Morecambe's 3-0 win at Edgar Street has won the Peformance of the Week award. It is awarded by a panel of judges from the League Managers Association. Bury manager Chris Casper has resisted calls to quit after losing the last six games but has given defender Colin Woodthorpe a new deal until the end of the season, and midfielder Paul Scott has signed a new two year deal.
Macclesfield boss Ian Brightwell is another under pressure, with his side surrendering a lead in a match yesterday for the ninth time this season. They have earned only three points from the last 21.
Stockport striker Adam Proudlock is the subject of strong rumours linking him with a £100,000 move to Millwall. The former Wolves trainee has scored nine in 25 appearances this season. Only around 50 Mansfield fans joined yesterday's protest against owner Keith Haslam.
Next Saturday Hereford United travel to Tranmere for the third round FA Cup match and as reported earlier the home side have cut admission prices to encourage a large crowd.
According to Tranmere admission will be £15 for Adults - the lowest price permitted under FA Cup rules.
Seniors and Young Persons will be admitted for just £6 with Juniors only £3.
It is not confirmed but Hereford supporters who are concessions may have to purchase their tickets from the office at Prenton Park next Saturday.
The Upper Kop will be closed in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at the game. Tranmere hope its supporters will gather closer together and generate more noise, a feature of away games this season.
Chief Executive Mick Horton said: "We want to thank our fans for their excellent support on the road in the FA Cup this season by cutting the price for the Hereford game
"We are charging the lowest price possible under competition rules. We saw at the Bradford game the excellent atmosphere our supporters created when they were close together, so we are closing the Upper Kop in a bid to recreate the noise at Prenton Park."
Manager Ronnie Moore added: "We've had two great FA Cup wins away from Prenton Park this season and we'd love to be in the draw for the Fourth Round. Our supporters have already played a massive part in the competition and it would be great to see the ground packed for the Third Round match against Hereford."
Already at least ten coaches are expected to travel from the Hereford area to the game and after yesterday's excellent result from Bradford more supporters may consider going to the game.
Bookings for HUISA's coaches can be made in Legends before Tuesday's 3pm game with Notts County.
HUMADS have five seats remaining on their coaches. Contact Reg on 01684 572945.
And there are a few places left on the FUNBUS. Contact Oxo (Rodders), Young Ben or Tango (Gary Smith).
Although there is no connection, as far as is aware, to Hereford United, the recent story from the Conference about Histon and their website information on their players has raised a few smiles.
Apparantly when Cambridge played Histon recently some of the pen-pics in the match programme weren't very kind to some of the Histon players.
Here's a selection:
Chris Dillon: joined from Hitchin Town in March and scored on his debut in August, though it wasn't enough to prevent Histon losing 2-1 to Stevenage. Has maintained an impressive record of one goal every three games, mainly because he's only played two more and didn't score in either.
Antonio Murray: cost a mint (geddit?) when joining from Hibernian last season (out of interest just how do you get to join Histon from Hibernian?) According to the club, former Ipswich trainee Antonio has demonstrated he has great potential to become one of the League's outstanding goalscorers. That'll be with his 3 goals in 20 games then!
Mark Webster: has been at the club for five years and played a leading role in last year's reserve side as captain. Intriguingly, according to Histon's website Mark's height is still "unknown". How do you manage to keep something like that unknown for 5 seasons? Platform soles of varying measurements? An extendable neck? Or does John Beck stretch him on a rack after each training session? It's pretty impressive whichever.
Gareth Gwillim: joined Histon in the summer after captaining Bishops Stortford last term. According the their website, his delivery is as good as anyone's and indeed he recently beat Parcelforce and DHL in the annual Christmas showdown before losing to Domino's Pizza in the final.
Mathew Mitchel-King: has been on the books of Cambridge United, Cambridge City and Histon. Make your mind up Matt, there's a good chap. Six bookings and one sending-off this season means he's got more cards that Hallmarks.
Roscoe Hipperson: is actually known as 'The German' for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Well not clear in the slightest in fact, but he does hold an unique position in the English game, being the only player to be called Hipperson. Or Roscoe for that matter, apart from some bloke at Accrington.
Robbie Nightingale: is in his fifth season at the Glassworld and during this time has always been an influential player within the team. Robbie is another to suffer from Unknown Height Syndrome, so if you want to pick him out during the game, work out the height of his team mates and whoever's left, well that's Robbie.
Anwar Uddin, who spent time on loan at Hereford United and is now captain of Dagenham and Redbridge, has been telling the Times of his appreciation of being given a chance in football and how it fits in with his beliefs.
Uddin has Bangladeshi roots and is the League's first Asian/English captain. He recently met Prince Charles.
“Whether I like it or not, I’m an ambassador for the Asian community. Racially, this country has changed so much for the better in the past five years and football is at the forefront of it. I’m the captain of a great club and I’m in the spotlight, so it’s up to me to be shown in a good light and counter the minority who have stereotypical or racist or biased views. It was beautiful to see Charles recognising the Asian contribution to British society.
“I’m back home in the Football League and I’m not going anywhere. I love it and it makes me feel alive. When the chips are down, you’ve got to stand up: if one of my teammates scores an own goal, I score an own goal; if they make a mistake I make a mistake. We’re all level-headed, we’ve all got our feet on the ground because we’re not on great money, we haven’t got flashy cars and beautiful houses. We’re just ordinary people given a great chance and we’re going to make the most of it. Whatever gets thrown at us, we’ll deal with it.”
Next Saturday Uddin takes his side to Southend for a Third Round FA Cup-tie.
“For us, Southend are the next best thing to a Premier League side, but for them it’s the worst draw imaginable. The bookies will have them as favourites, but on our day we can turn massive teams over.”
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Hereford United captain, Ben Smith, spoke to BBC Hereford and Worcester after the Bulls 3-1 win at Bradford City.
"A great win, fully deserved I think.
"We looked comfortable in control. Us getting a third just on half-time killed it off and I thought we were comfortable in the second half.
"If anyone was going to score again it was probably going to be us."
Meanwhile Bulls manager Graham Turner commented:
"I thought we dominated for large periods and deserved the win.
"We scored some good goals and that eased the pressure on us. We won't be getting carried away because our first target was to avoid relegation and that remains the case."
And Bradford's manager Stuart McCall said:
"We were unlucky in the first half because we played some good stuff but the third goal was a massive blow to us."
Former Bull Andy Williams has received rare praise from current manager Paul Trollope after his stunning goal in their win over Carlisle.
Trollope admitted his charge was slow to start his Pirates' career, but he was convinced that he would move further up the ladder: "Andy form is getting better, and it was a magical finish for the third goal. We've got full belief in him and what he's capable of, he's missed a few chances but he's a young lad and he has a lot of attributes that we know can hurt teams.
"His pace and his touch are exceptional, and hopefully this can be the start of something for him now. He's looked very lively over the games leading up to today, and the challenge for him now is to see that form continue."
Willo has scored just four times in 26 appearances, 14 of which were from the bench, and failed to score in 16 successive games since his £100,000 move from Edgar Street.
Tranmere have been dealt a blow ahead of the Bulls' visit to Prenton Park with the news that winger Chris Shuker will miss the rest of the season through injury.
Right winger Shuker limped out of their Boxing Day win over Carlisle, but will now miss the rest of the season after cruciate ligament damage was detected. He will face surgery in February once the initial swelling goes down.
Left winger Steve Davies was sidelined in September with a similar injury, and is unlikely to see action this season. Manager Ronnie Moore admitted that he would be seeking replacements with both first choice wingers out:
"You're always looking at the transfer market. Whether it means I have to move one of ours on to move one in, or whether we're at the stage where I have to see what's about to bring in, I'll have to see. We are a bit light in the wing areas, and playing 4-4-2 they are important positions."
Youngster Mike Jones has been filling in on the right side in place of Shuker, but he has just seven starts to his name in three years as a pro. Bristol City loanee Jennison Myrie-Williams has also covered the position, but is yet to receive clearance to play in the FA Cup and may not extend his loan into the New Year.
Bradford City manager Stuart McCall has admitted that his side were beaten by Hereford United with two free kicks and a corner.
Speaking to BBC Radio Bradford after this afternoon's game McCall said that if Bradford can't defend set pieces then they're not going to win a game.
"First goal, I think it was only the referee that thought it was a free kick. Comes in, can't defend it.
"Second one, a corner, comes in can't defend it, 2-0 down.
"Then, not out of the blue but with the pressure we put on, we score."
Bradford then failed to score an equaliser just before halftime.
"Good defending by them and then they break away and we give an absolutely stupid free-kick away...and then they score again.
"They're not second in the League for nothing. They are a good side especially on the break."
Whilst virtually all Hereford United supporters who went to the Valley Parade would agree the game provided plenty of entertainment, £20 is a lot of money to watch League Two football. Anyone over 16, including students, had to pay £20 except senior citizens.
Bradford charge a lower price for 'home' students. They can watch for £15 subject to belonging to the club's student scheme. And Bradford allow under11's in free again subject to conditions.
No tickets were issued to away supporters at the turnstiles. Should the referee have decided to postpone the game, the pitch was very wet, how would Bradford have given refunds?
And although the view from the upper section of the TL Dallas stadium was excellent, the seats were very close to each other and with less legroom that most other clubs.
Up against the combined noise of over 13,000 the 277 supporting Hereford were quite vocal but as the Stand was wide as opposed to deep the 'singers' were too spread out.
And no-one came up with any song that suggested Bradford could be on their way to the Conference. The Bantams lie sixteenth in the table after today's defeat by the Bulls, just nine points above bottom-placed Wrexham.
With a well deserved victory over Bradford City, Hereford United have consolidated their position in League Two. With half this season's games played the Bulls, although six points behind leaders Mk Dons, are two points ahead of third placed Rotherham.
1 Milton Keynes Dons 23 26 51
2 Hereford 23 17 45
3 Rotherham 22 13 43
4 Darlington 21 23 40
5 Chesterfield 22 15 40
6 Peterborough 23 13 40
7 Wycombe 23 4 39
Todays game was an end to end affair with both goalkeepers kept busy. Some 13,640 attended with 277 supporting the Bulls.
Possession was deemed to be 53% to Bradford and 47% to Hereford.
The Bantams had 10 shots on target as opposed to eight by the Bulls.
Bradford were penalised for 16 fouls as against just 8 by the Bulls.
Bulls captain Ben Smith was given a yellow card for a bad challenge. However the conditions weren't ideal for football with wind and rain for much of the game and it was noticable that several Bulls players were 'careful' with their tackling.
Robinson was awarded an eight for his efforts this afternoon. Beckwith, Benjamin and Johnson each received a seven and the remaining Hereford players a six.
Hereford United completed their first double of the season by over-coming Bradford City 3-1 at Valley Parade this afternoon. Set-pieces held the key to the victory, with Theo Robinson opening the scoring from a Simon Johnson free-kick. Dean Beckwith then doubled the advantage with a header, before David Wetherall scored to reduce the deficit. However, Trevor Benjamin's superb control and volley just before half-time finished the scoring.
The Bulls were unchanged from Boxing Day's victory over Macclesfield, with Benjamin preferred up front to Steve Guinan. There was one change on the bench however, Marcus Palmer was included as Luke Webb was out with an injury. Bradford included much travelled striker Peter Thorne in their starting eleven alongside the tricky winger/striker Omar Daley.
Robinson showed his intent up front in the early periods when he controlled a goal-kick from Wayne Brown, and fired from a distance past the post. After the game had settled down, and the players had adjusted to the tricky conditions, Robinson opened the scoring. The goal came after Ben Smith had been felled on the left-wing, and Johnson swung a dangerous ball into the box. Robinson had time to control, before poking the ball past Donovan Ricketts in the Bantams goal. The response was quick from the home side, with Daley's low shot being pushed behind by Brown. Former West Ham winger Kyle Nix linked-up with Thorne before shooting wide with his weaker right foot.
The home side continued to press, and Nix missed a golden opportunity to level the scores. He collected the ball on the edge of the area, and bypassed two sliding tackles from Hereford defenders before shooting goalwards; Brown was beaten but luckily Trent McClenahan blocked the goalbound effort. A header wide from Wetherall signalled the first of many chances for the veteran defender whilst Robinson's long range effort was well held by Ricketts despite picking up pace on the greasy surface. Bradford made a first-half subsitute, as they looked for more attacking options, bringing on pacey winger Alex Rhodes in place of midfield Tom Penford. Yet, it had little effect as United doubled their advantage with six minutes remaining of the half. Johnson again was the provider, this time from a corner with Beckwith beating the challenging defender to the ball to power his header past Ricketts.
Bradford were shocked, they were creating plenty of chances, but United were clinical and looked good on the counter-attack with Robinson and Johnson creating problems. However, the home side managed to pull a goal back minutes before half-time through Wetherall. Moments earlier, Wetherall had a glided a header into the arms of Brown, but the defender made no mistake when presented with the chance after Daley's effort could only be pushed out by Brown. Wetherhall followed up and got to the ball before Lee Collins to place his shot in the corner. Yet, Bradford were undone once again by Hereford in first half-stoppage time. Clint Easton's corner wasn't fully cleared, and Johnson hooked the ball back into the penalty area where Beckwith rose to beat two defenders to the ball and found Benjamin. The striker showed his class with a chest and volley into the corner, with Ricketts helpless. The goal was the last of the action in the first half, and meant The Bulls went in 3-1 up.
The home side started the second half quickly, as they looked for an early boost, but Thorne's stooping header from a Rhodes cross failed to test Brown. Scott Phelan also tried his luck, this time from long range but to no avail. It was United who were more dangerous, with firstly Robinson playing a square pass to Toumani Diagouraga, who took the ball in his stride to turn but saw his effort blocked by the out-rushing Ricketts. Then, Johnson fed a fine through ball to Benjamin, who beat the offside trap but failed to beat Ricketts from a tight angle as the 'keeper again denied United. From the resulting corner, Beckwith scrambled an effort wide. At the other end, the aerial prescence of Thorne was giving Collins and Beckwith some concern, and he met a deep cross but Brown denied him with a good diving catch.
Like the first half, Wetherall, along with Thorne, was the main threat, especially from set-pieces and a long-free kick touched of Wetherall's head and narrowly went past the post. Still though, Hereford looked more threatening and Johnson met a Robinson pass and crossed delightfully towards the backpost, where Benjamin was making ground. The striker struck powerfully with his left-foot but Ricketts moved to his front-post to strongly push the ball around the post. Bradford needed something special, and the fans had been longing for Willy Topp to make an appearence, and they were rewarded when he replaced Joe Colbeck, but it still had little effect.
United continued to press, and Easton's vision allowed Robinson to get a good sight at goal, but his left foot shot was dragged past the post, despite being in a good goalscoring position. Barry Conlon replaced Nix, as the home side bought more aerial threat to proceedings, and a Rhodes corner should have seen them pull a goal back. Paul Heckingbottom rose to meet the ball with a free-header, but it went over. Minutes after, Matthew Clarke also put a header over the bar after connecting with a Daley cross. Hereford saw out the game with ease, and made two substitutes late on. Firstly, Guinan replaced Easton who had picked up a knock, and then fellow winger Johnson was replaced, again nursing a slight injury, with Sam Gwynne making a cameo appearence.
13,640 were present at Valley Parade to see United gain all three points, and keep their promotion push going. Despite the tricky conditions, Hereford were very impressive and always looked as though they could add to their goal-tally. In particular, the midfield pairing of Diagouraga and Smith blossomed, whilst Benjamin showed good strength and some sublime touches up front. Next up for the Bulls is Notts County at Edgar Street on New Years Day, when United will try to complete their second double of the season.
Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Beckwith, Collins, Taylor, Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith, Easton, Benjamin, Robinson.
Subs: Ingham, McCombe, Gwynne, Palmer, Guinan.
Bradford: Ricketts, Williams, Wetherall, Clarke, Heckingbottom, Colbeck, Penford, Phelan, Nix, Daley, Thorne.
Subs: Bower, Bentham, Rhodes, Conlon, Topp.
Speaking after the match to the press conference, as reported on the official website, Graham Turner confirmed that he would be bringing new faces into the club in January.
When asked about new faces, Turner told reporters: "We've done very well. We've been tested over the last 4-5 with injuries. We've come through it OK but we still need possibly two, three if I'm lucky."
He also responded to questions about Clint Easton and Simon Johnson, who were seen to limp off: "He's (Easton) got a bit of tendonitis in his achillies, Johnson is just cramp."
MK Dons played for the full 90 minutes again, requiring a late goal for the second successive game to edge past Darlington (4th) 1-0. Rotherham go third after a single goal victory over Notts County. Peterboro are down to 6th after surrendering a two goal lead, and a man advantage, to lose 3-2 to Morecambe. Chesterfield beat Barnet 2-0, and Wycombe round out the play-off spots after a 1-0 win at Shrewsbury.
Down the botton Wrexham lost again, 1-0 at home to Stockport, and missed a penalty in the process. Mansfield lost 2-1 at home to Accrington to stay in trouble, with a threatened fans' boycott having limited impact on the gate. Dagenham beat Bury - now on six straight losses - 2-0 to move up a place, and Grimsby beat local rivals Lincoln by a single goal to leave the Imps six points behind them.
In other results Brentford beat misfiring Chester 3-0, who have only one win in four, and Macclesfield and Rochdale shared the points in a 2-2 draw.
Last season's misfiring Bulls strikeforce was in fine form today. Andy Williams scored for Bristol Rovers against Carlisle, Alan Connell struck after four minutes for Brentford, Stuart Fleetwood added another £3.50 to his price tag with two goals for Forest Green, and Tim Sills got his annual Christmas goal with a penalty for Torquay.
A first half finishing masterclass seperated the two sides to see the Bulls record their first double of the season as they beat Bradford 3-1 in today's League Two match at Valley Parade.
Theo Robinson opened the scoring and Dean Beckwith added a second, both assisted by Simon Johnson. David Wetherall pulled a goal back, but the fightback was instantly killed as Trevor Benjamin scored deep into first half injury time to restore he two goal lead.
The result, with 277 away fans in a 13,640 crowd, sees the Bulls consolidate their second place in the table. They are now five points inside the automatic promotion zone and nine inside the play-off spots.
Full report later.
Chester have circulated the names of five players to free up funds for new signings. Phil Bolland, Sean Hessey, Ashley Westwood, Kevin Sandwith, and Dean Bennett have all been told their futures lie elsewhere. Bolland has trained with Wrexham, while Hessey, Westwood, and Bennett have all been out on loan in the first half of the season. Sandwith has featured for the first team only once in two months.
Stockport's signing of Liverpool defender James Smith has now been declared a free transfer. The Hatters announced a loan deal yesterday but Smith, 22, has now secured his release from Anfield and agreed a deal until the end of the season. Grimsby have agreed to sign on-loan striker Martin Butler on a permanent basis in January. The Walsall forward has scored once in eight games for the Mariners since an October move.
Dagenham have loaned teenage full back Tom Bird to Ryman side Wivenhoe Town for the rest of the season. Chester have had a £50,000 offer for Vauxhall Motors striker Paul Taylor rejected. The former Man City trainee has scored 15 times in 22 games in the Conference North this season.
Sun columnist Chris Kamara has backed the Bulls for promotion from League Two to League One.
MK DONS have been exceptional — and are improving Paul Ince’s management CV all the time.
They passed a huge test winning at Peterborough two weeks ago and will take some pegging back.
I still expect Posh to kick on but Hereford are the ones who have really caught my eye.
They found league football hard going on their return last year. This term, they have really impressed and will go close to promotion.
Darlington, Chester and Rotherham can also all be pleased with their efforts so far.
It’s very sad to see Wrexham struggling again, though, as well as my old club Bradford — who were tipped to do well under Stuart McCall.
SHINERS: MK Dons, Hereford. The first for living up to expectations, the latter for exceeding them.
STINKER: Dagenham’s plight amazes me. They need a transformation or could be going back down.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Season Tickets Holders can take advantage of a special offer for next season and renew at just £138 as long as they do so by 5pm next Monday.
Unfortunately for Hereford United supporters the deal is for Bradford fans but it just shows why the gates at the Valley Stadium are so high.
Bradford are said to have around 10,000 season ticket holders which even at only £138 (just £6 per home game) gives them an income of £1,380,000. Hereford are thought to have around 1,000 STH paying about £250 each or an income from STH of about £250,000.
For those who don't pay up in advance and also visiting supporters the charge to watch a Bradford home game is around £20 for adults, the highest in League Two.
Almost certainly Bradford make up some of their income from extra sales of food, programmes and merchandise because supporters who pay their £138 season ticket up front would usually have some spare cash to spend when they go to the games.
Hereford United have recently announced a half-season ticket for £135 standing or £170 seated.
UPDATE: It appears that the security certificate on Bradford's on-line ticket office has expired so their fans are finding it difficult to purchase new season tickets. Also Bradford's ticket office phone lines were not being answered very quickly today and so supporters wishing to purchase tickets for tomorrow's game were reported to be finding the task difficult.
Hereford United's office has been closed since Noon on Christmas Eve.
Tomorrow's League Two fixture will be the first time Hereford United have played at Bradford City since Jan 30th 1982. On that day the two Division Four teams played out a goal-less draw in front of a gate of just 3,734. Frank Lord was in charge of the Bulls at the time.
With recent attendances at Valley Parade as high as 15,000, the Bulls will probably be playing in front of the biggest gate they will find anywhere this season. Last month at Elland Road only 11,315 watched the FA Cup replay with Leeds which the Bulls won 1-0. This figure should be exceeded tomorrow.
Bradford's Stadium can seat over 25,000. It's all under cover and away supporters are accomodated in the TL Dallas stand which is a two-tier structure.
Hereford mid-fielder Clint Easton has played against Bradford before and he told BBC Hereford and Worcester it's a massive ground.
"It will be nice for the lads to play infront of a big crowd."
The Hereford team bus reportedly left Edgar Street for Yorkshire earlier this afternoon.
As ever supporters not going to the match can keep up with all the action by tuning to BBC Hereford and Worcester.
Stockport have signed Liverpool defender James Smith on a six month loan, starting on January 2nd. Smith played 12 games for the Hatters in a three month spell earlier in the season. The club have also won their appeal against Michael Raynes' dismissal on Boxing Day.
Leeds are the latest club to be lining up a bid for Barnet's Jason Puncheon. The 21 year old winger scored a hat-trick on Boxing Day, and has scored against the Bulls twice in three games. Rotherham are to loan Tom Cahill and Liam King to Altrincham for a month. The young pair have only three sub appearances between them this season.
Crawley's takeover has been agreed, but will not be signed until the principle people are back in the country. Manager Steve Evans has revealed that they are the second set of people to agree a deal, but the first lot did not have the money. The club have issued a statement distancing themselves from Azwar Majeed, who is facing legal action for money laundering.
Halifax manager Chris Wilder has refused to quit as his side continue to struggle. It's been a downward spiral for the side in the 18 months since losing the play-off final to the Bulls, and fans expressed their anger after a 3-0 loss at minnows Farsley. Chesterfield have extended the loan of rookie Josh Law to Alfreton until the end of the season. He is the son of ex-Bull, and current Alfreton boss, Nicky Law.
New Swindon owner Andrew Fitton wants Championship football within three years. The local businessman is yet to finalise his takeover, but has a shortlist of five for the vacant managers job. The new appointee is expected to have to offload several faces before new arrivals can be considered with 33 players already on the books.
Decisions are due on the contracts of three youngsters at the club and Simon Johnson, whose contracts all expire in January.
Marcus Palmer, Sam Gwynne, and Jordan Fitzpatrick all see six month deals expire in the next few days after signing deals in June. Whilst Gwynne is expected to stay after breaking into the first team line-up in recent weeks, the futures of Palmer and Fitzpatrick are less clear.
Palmer made an impact towards the end of last season with a hat-trick against Westfields in the Herefordshire Senior Cup, a performance that pulled the plug on a loan move to Bath City. Three appearances in the League followed, including one start, but the 19 year old has not been seen on the pitch in this campaign and has slipped down to fifth in the chase for one of the two forward positions.
Fitzpatrick, like Palmer, was due to go out on loan in September but a delay in the paperwork scuppered the move. Despite spending 18 months at Edgar Street, his only appearance in a Bulls shirt was 17 minutes in a meaningless end of season match at Torquay in May.
Simon Johnson, like Gwynne, has forced his way into the first XI in the last few weeks. Sporadic substitute appearances over the opening four months of the season have been replaced with three starts in the last four games after a match-turning performance at Wycombe as fans begin to warm to the former Leeds man.
Decisions will also have to be made over loanees Robbie Threlfall, Lee Collins, and Ryan Flynn. Threlfall and Flynn were both receiving treatment at Liverpool for ongoing injuries, with Threlfall not expected to be fit until February, although Flynn's one month loan expired before Xmas without making an appearance. All three have the option of signing for the remainder of the season, with the season effectively split into two halves for loan signings with short term 'emergency' loans able to become long term deals for the second half of the season.
One decision that appears to already have been made is over defender Marvin McCoy, who joined the club on a one month deal at the end of August but little else was heard from him. He made his debut for Ryman League side Harrow in a Middlesex Senior Cup match just before Xmas.
With Graham Turner looking to strengthen the squad in January, he must decide whether to retain the existing players or use their wages towards new faces that could bolster, or break, the team.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
In advance of Saturday's game, Bradford City manager Stuart McCall has been talking to the Telegraph and Argus about Hereford United. He said he had been watching the progress of young striker Theo Robinson.
"I actually enquired about Robinson in the summer, though I didn't know too much about him at the time. But I was a day too late and he'd already gone to Hereford.
"He's only a young kid but he looks very good up front and we'll have to watch him carefully."
One player he knows about is Simon Johnson who played in some early pre-season games at the Valley Parade before being offered a trial with Hereford.
McCall also had some kind words to say about Graham Turner (pictured at Macclesfield), the Hereford United manager who will take charge of his 650th game for the Bulls on New Year's Day when Notts County come to Edgar Street.
"Graham does pretty much everything there - managing director, manager, physio, kitman and probably centre forward! He does the lot and he's done a terrific job.
"I've seen Hereford a couple of times now and been impressed. There's a good mix of young loan lads and the experience of players like Steve Guinan and big Trevor Benjamin.
"I saw them the other week at Bury when it looked like finishing in a draw but Robinson turned it on its head with a great goal in the last minute.
"That's probably the difference between ourselves and teams up there like Hereford. Teams at the top nick those results while we had a similar game at Mansfield recently and couldn't get that goal."
Hereford United captain, Karl Broadhurst, is expected to miss Saturday's Match at Bradford unless he recover from a bout of flu and as reported earlier Luke Webb will also take no part as he has a recurrence of an ankle injury.
As for Bradford, midfielder Paul Evans misses out as he serves a one-match ban.
Meanwhile manager Graham Turner has said that he thinks he team will enjoy playing in front of a big crowd. Yesterday over 15,000 watched as Bradford defeated Lincoln but that gate was swelled by supporters remembering the last time the two clubs met in 1985 when fire broke out at the stadium with horrible consequences.
"I think professional footballers enjoy playing in a good atmosphere and in front of a crowd. Going to Bradford, who are a big club by League Two standards, presents us with a challenge," Turner told the Worcester News.
"They had around 15,000 there on Boxing Day. It's a terrific advantage to get that size of crowd but we have enjoyed going to one or two of the big clubs."
Stuart McCall, the Bradford manager, wasn't too pleased with the Bantams performance yesterday.
"We got off to a great start and I thought we would go on and entertain and play with a bit of freedom - but it never came off and too many people under-performed.
"All over the pitch we didn't do enough and there was a lack of quality from back to front. Take the first and 90th minutes away from us and it was pretty poor."
Bulls' midfielder Luke Webb was at Edgar Street this morning following his ultra short appearance at Macclesfield on Boxing Day. Webb came on as a substitute but left the field within a few minutes. "It's the ankle again. I'd been out for a while with it and the recovery seemed to be OK in training but in the first tackle, my foot turned and I was in agony. I'm back to the ice and elevation treatment and we'll see how it goes."
Manager Turner will be disappointed to lose Webb again during this busy period with The Bulls facing both Bradford on Saturday and Notts County on New Years Day at Edgar Street in the space of the next five days.
Graham Laws from Tyne and Wear will officiate at Bradford City on Saturday and Darren Drysdale will be in charge at Edgar Street on New Years Day when Notts County are the visitors to Edgar Street.
Laws was the referee at Leeds recently when Hereford United defeated the former top club in the FA Cup. He didn't book any player from Hereford that evening. In total this season to date he has covered 15 games giving out 38 yellow but only one red card.
Saturday will be the first time this season Laws has refereed a League Two game.
Drysdale has not refereed any Hereford games so far this season. He has officiated in 17 games giving out 54 yellow and three cards.
Last season he was in charge of Hereford United's opening game of the campaign at Stockport County and later the FA Cup game at Shrewsbury. He only gave out one yellow during those two games. That was for former Bull Alex Jeannin at the Gay Meadow.
York have appointed Colin Walker as their new manager. The former assistant to ex-boss Billy McEwan has won five of his six games in charge, drawing the other. Tranmere are waiting on the results of scans on Chris Shuker. The winger lasted just nine minutes of their Boxing Day clash before limping off with a knee injury.
Darlington have axed Chief Executive Jon Sotnick to reduce costs. The former Boston chairman had been rumoured to be behind the bidding for Crawley, where he would reunite with Steve Evans, but a statement from the Quakers states that Sotnick will continue work for their Chairman at another of his companies.
Barnet have agreed to sell striker Liam Hatch to Peterboro for £150,000.
The 25 year old moves after rejecting a new deal at Underhill. He has scored eight times this season, but has largely been used as a sub for the mid-table side. He rejected a move to Shrewsbury earlier in the month.
Barnet have completed the paperwork to sign Histon striker Cliff Akurang as his replacement. More sales are expected at Underhill, with several clubs chasing Ishmael Yakubu and Jason Puncheon.
Peterboro's spending doesn't seen to have an end, with the club confirming they have lodged a bid for on-loan Crystal Palace defender Jeff Hughes and a second unnamed defender. The former Lincoln man has played seven times on loan and is out of the frame at Palace after his summer move.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
MK Dons' lead at the top is extended to six points with a last minute winner to overcome Notts County 2-1. Peterboro slip to fourth after a 2-0 loss to Mansfield, which lifts the Stags off the bottom of the table. Darlington and Rotherham shared the points in a 1-1 draw that leaves them either side of Peterboro on goal difference.
Chesterfield maintained play-off form with a 1-0 win over Bury, and Wycombe moved back into the play-off zone with a 3-1 win over 10 man Brentford. They come in at Chester's expense, they lost 5-3 at Morecambe. Shrewsbury are fast gaining pace with a 3-1 win over Stockport making it three out of three since Ben Davies returned to the side.
Down the bottom Wrexham's 2-0 loss at home to Rochdale means they're bottom of the pile again, three points adrift of safety. Dagenham's 3-1 loss to ten man Barnet, thanks to a Jason Puncheon hat-trick, means they have only six points from the last 39. Lincoln lost 2-1 to Bradford to stay in trouble, and Grimsby lost 2-1 to Accrington.
Hereford United coach John Trewick speaking to BBC Hereford and Worcester said that this afternoon's result against Macclesfield was great.
"We didn't play particularily fluently but we battled and fortunately we got the winning goal.
"We really did grind out the result. Sometimes you have to do that."
Trewick was pleased that Hereford kept a clean sheet.
"If we are going to acheive anything this season we have got to have our share of clean sheets because sometimes you don't score. If we can keep maybe a third or even a half of the games we've got to play clean sheets then we'll be fine."
Meanwhile mid-fielder Clint Easton told BBC Hereford and Worcester that he was glad to be back on the winning side this afternoon.
"When you've had a long winning run and you get a loss you think here comes the slide but I think we've shown that it was just a blip and we're back to winning ways.
"Lee's (Collins - pictured) from Wolves and has got the class there already and he slotted in well (with Dean Beckwith). I thought the back four defended really well.
"They put us under a little pressure getting the ball forward - their two centre-forwards were very effective.
"Browny done well - came for a lot of crosses."
Macclesfield manager Ian Brightwell gave the Manchester Evening News these comments after this afternoon's game at Moss Road.
"I'm not pleased that we lost but I couldn't have asked for much more from the players, apart from converting a few chances. From a playing point of view I thought we did pretty well but that's little consolation even though their manager has come up and said that we should have got more from the game. So they know that but when we look in the papers tomorrow it will say 1-0 to Hereford and that's what counts.
"I'm not worried about our league position at the moment but I am worried that we're not picking up enough points. We're not panicking and I've told the players not to panic, though I'm very disappointed and of course so are they.
"Once again we created far more chances than they did, got the ball into the right area but just couldn't score, then at the other end there was one split-second where we turned off, but split-seconds cost you football matches."
Hereford's manager Graham Turner told the Official Site that he was pleased his side had recorded a win after the defeat by Morecambe.
"It was a victory we desparately needed. The aim was not to lose two on the trot.
"We had to grind out a result again. It wasn't sparkling. It was hard work.
"Once again it was a bit like Bury with us scoring the only goal."
Turner had a few words of praise for goal-scorer Theo Robinson.
"He's got that nasty habit of putting the ball in the back of the net. When-ever he plays he's always likely to get us a goal. Once again he has come up trumps."
Hereford United gained revenge on Macclesfield Town as they defeated their hosts 1-0 at Moss Rose this afternoon. Theo Robinson volleyed home from close range to hand United the points, to liven up a drab affair on a cold Boxing Day.
United were boosted by the return of Dean Beckwith and Trevor Benjamin, both had suffered from illnesses and missed the Morecambe defeat, but they returned in place of John McCombe and Steve Guinan. Kris Taylor was also bought into the starting line-up, with Karl Broadhurst out altogether; Lee Collins pushed into the centre of defence. Finally, Simon Johnson swapped places with Sam Gwynne, as the youngster found himself on the bench. Former Bull Danny Thomas started on the left wing for the Silkmen, whilst the matchwinner in September, Francis Green partnered Martin Gritton up front.
The first half offered little in terms of excitement, with The Bulls failing to build on a promising start which saw Clint Easton weakly shoot into 'keeper Jonny Brain's arms. Macclesfield looked threatening, with Adam Murray attacking well from midfield, and caused concern for United's back-line with two seperate chances needing blocks. Thomas's trickery on the left wing took him inside of Trent McClenahan but the winger's right foot shot was dragged past the post.
A deep Easton corner was met by Robinson at the back post, but the youngster failed to get it on target, whilst at the other end Thomas beat the offside trap and powered a drive goalwards from an angle; Brown stood strong though and beat the ball away, before McClenahan cleared to safety. Gritton's rising shot needed to be pushed over from Brown, before the best chance of the first half needed a goal-line clearence. A corner was swung in from the left hand side, and an unmarked Sean Hessey headed goalwards; luckily for The Bulls, Ben Smith stood on the post to head clear and stop the goalbound effort.
Hereford had good possession in the first half, but failed on many occasions to find the final ball that would threaten the Macclesfield defence. The hosts looked more threatening, and this continued into the second half as Gritton headed over from close-range after a tricky cross in from Kevin McIntyre. Green was replaced by Gareth Evans as Ian Brightwell looked to find the finishing touch up front, but instead, it was Hereford's strikeforce who proved decisive. Easton put a corner towards the back-post where Lee Collins rose and nodded towards goal. The shot was blocked, but fell straight to Robinson who volleyed from six yards through a crowd of players and into the back of the net.
The goal gave the away side confidence, and Easton struck straight at Brain from a tight angle. Simon Wiles replaced the ineffective Levi Reid, but it was United who kept coming forward. Robinson, perhaps selfishly, struck over the bar from 20 yards, despite the attacking run of McClenahan to his right hand side. Easton then hit a free-kick over the bar, whilst Dunfield replicated Easton, as he missed a free-kick from a similar position at the opposite end.
Benjamin's afternoon came to an end with little over five minutes remaning, as Guinan took his place, yet it was the hosts who started to put the pressure on. Hessey's hopeful long shot was held by Brown, whilst minutes later, Hessey put a powerful shot past the post after a corner hadn't been cleared. In the middle of the chances for Hessey, Toumani Diagouraga headed over from an Easton corner. Luke Webb appeared late on, in place of Johnson on the right wing, but his afternoon didn't last long as he was bought off. Before the final sub, a Carl Regan cross was met by Evans, but Brown's diving save rounded off a fine afternoon for the keeper. Webb then made way for Gwynne; it is unsure whether Webb picked up an injury, or was bought off to run down the clock.
The result was a perfect response after the Morecambe defeat, and pushes United upto second in the league once again. The first half was poor, but the second half saw an improved performance, and although Macclesfield threatened, Hereford always looked like they could push up a gear in the attacking third. 2393 saw the match at Moss Rose; United's next trip should attract nearly six times as much as they travel to Bradford City.
Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Beckwith, Collins, Taylor, Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith, Easton, Benjamin, Robinson.
Subs: Ingham, McCombe, Webb, Gwynne, Guinan.
Macclesfield: Brain, Regan, Hessey, Dimech, McIntyre, Reid, Dunfield, Murray, Thomas, Green, Gritton.
Subs: Lee, Doughty, Tolley, Wiles, Evans.
This afternoon's game at Moss Road was very even. Both Macclesfield and Hereford United were adjudged to have had 50% of the possession.
Macclesfield had ten shots on target and Hereford had eleven. However Bulls 'keeper Wayne Brown probably had more work to do than his opposite number and kept Hereford in the game on several occassions.
Dean Beckwith received the only yellow card for Hereford. However he is now on four cards.
2393 watched the game with about 300 supporters from Hereford.
Captain Ben Smith was given an eight for his efforts. All the other Hereford players received a seven except Kris Taylor and Simon Johnson.
One of the shortest appearances for a sub occured when Luke Webb was subbed just two minutes after coming on as a sub.
The narrow win puts Hereford back in second place in the League:
1 Milton Keynes Dons 22 25 48
2 Hereford 22 15 42
3 Darlington 20 24 40
4 Peterborough 22 14 40
5 Rotherham 21 12 40
6 Chesterfield 21 13 37
7 Wycombe 22 3 36
The Bulls edged past Macclesfield Town in today's League Two match at Moss Rose.
A solitary goal from Theo Robinson, his ninth League goal of the season, was enough to seperate the sides in front of a 2,393 crowd. The Bulls move back up into the automatic promotions spots as a result.
Full report later.
Hereford United will be looking to get back on track this afternoon with a win at Macclesfield, not only after the Bulls were out-muscled by Morecambe last Saturday but also because the Silkmen defeated the Bulls at Edgar Street last September.
Interestingly Hereford United's home record has only been dented by three clubs this season all beginning with M - Macclesfield, Milton Keynes Dons and Morecambe.
Away the Bulls have only been defeated once at Grimsby.
But recent away form has been helped with a little good fortune both at Wycombe and Bury when the Bulls were probably lucky to take a point and three points respectively.
Form tends to suggest a draw - Macclesfield have drawn five of their ten home games this season - but the Bulls will be going all out to record a win to keep their promotion challenge on track and provided several players have recovered from recent illness should be able to put out a strong side.
Those unable to get to Moss Road can keep up with how the Bulls are performing by tuning to BBC Hereford and Worcester where there will be regular updates.
The Non-League Daily is giving readers a chance to win a copy of Mitch Stansbury's A Corner Kick from the Middle of Nowhere.
“A Corner Kick from the Middle of Nowhere” is an excellent view from the terraces as Hereford United struggled to survive in a decade of Conference football that saw the club move from near oblivion to one of the most dramatic and emotional play-off successes of recent times.
Far more an anecdotal `Fever-Pitch` style than a stats bible, Mitch Stansbury has tried to convey just what it is like to support/be cursed by a proper team.
From the bizarre locations, strange characters and flawed heroes to the frequent and often unintentional humour, `A Corner Kick from the Middle of Nowhere` is, I feel, an affectionate tribute to what life was like in that decade of Conference football.
Ricky George of the Telegraph said of it.. 'Honest, engaging, funny and very well written..'.
The concensus appears to be that the book would have appeal for a fan of any team capable of recognising our game just a few rungs below the millionnaires row of the Premiership and Champions League.
I have copies of the book available to win by answering the questions below…..
Which Football League ground has a stand named after a former Hereford United player?
Which players scored the first and last goals of Hereford's nine year spell in the Conference?
Which current Northern Ireland International played 12 Conference games for Hereford in the 2001/02 season?
E-mail answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31st.
Winners to be drawn.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Bradford City v Hereford United
Football League 2
Saturday 29th December 2007
Coral Window Stadium (Valley Parade)
Phone 0870 822 0000
Hot on the heels of the Boxing Day trip to Macclesfield, The Bulls head north again on Saturday to take on former Premiership outfit Bradford City. The stadium is all seated and visiting fans are accommodated in the TL Dallas Stand, which is a two-tiered affair not unlike The Floors2go offering the best views from the upper tier. A visit to Bradford City is said to be a pleasant experience where even the stewards have a decent reputation. One thing to remember is that the stadium is at the bottom of a valley down which a very cold wind often blows so be sure to take some warm clothes.
Bradford have probably the most expensive admittance prices that we will encounter this season. Despite selling in excess of 13,000 season tickets at something approaching the cost of a ten year old bike, they charge adults £20, Students £15 (SU Card), Senior Citizens £14 and U16's £12.
Directions:- Bradford is off the M62 so you have a choice of going via the M6, or the M42/M1 route. In either case, leave the M62 at J26 and take the M606 towards Bradford. At the end of the M606 take the centre or right hand lanes and follow signs for Ring Road East (under tunnel) onto Rooley Lane (sign Leeds/Bradford Airport). Pass McDonalds on your left and then over a set of light by an Asda store then turn left at the roundabout into Wakefield Road. Stay in the middle lane, over two roundabouts and onto Shipley Airedale Road (A6037), which then becomes Canal Road. Just after a Tesco store, turn left into Station Road (A6177) and left again into Queens Road. At the third set of lights, turn left into Manningham Lane then after the Gulf filling station turn left into Valley Parade. There is no public parking at the stadium and limited street parking. Distance approx 180 miles. Allow three and a half hours. Postcode BD8 7DY.
HUISA - Departs 9.00am. Fare £18. Bookings through club office (01432 276666)
FUNBUS - Full. Departs at 9.30am. Fare £13ish.
Refreshments - There is the Carlton pub that is only a few minutes walk from behind the Kop Stand. It does allow in away fans, but the pub is quite a basic one. There are also a couple of hotels with bars; all about a ten-minute walk away. They are the Park & Cartwright hotels. Just continue to walk on the main road by the ground away from the town centre and at the traffic lights where the entrance to the park is, turn right and you will see them in a row on your right. Also about a ten minute walk away is the 'Corn Dolly' a good real ale pub on Bolton Road, but this has more of a home fan feel about it. Otherwise it is probably wise to drink in the centre or if you are feeling adventurous jump in a taxi and visit the Fighting Cock in Preston St, which serves excellent real ale and is quite a Mecca for CAMRA members. Darren Middleton recommends Haigys Bar on Lumb Lane whilst Jamie Morgan adds; a new pub/curry house has just opened called The Valley. It is on Manningham Lane, only a short distance past the ground. Taken from The Football Ground Guide.
See you there.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Crawley are in talks over the sale of the club. With owner Azwar Majeed facing money laundering charges, manager Steve Evans has confirmed that talks are taking place with a new investor.
Peterboro have transfer listed goalkeeper Shwan Jalal at his request. The former Woking keeper has started only 11 games in the last 12 months since his big money move from the Conference. Gillingham have been charged over the use of an unlicenced agent in a transfer in August. They could face a points deduction if found guilty, with both chairman Paul Scally and striker David Graham also charged.
Chris Powis, otherwise known as ExLandlord, has won the November prize in the Hereford United Back The Bulls Lottery which was drawn recently.
He wins £60.
It is unknown who will present the prize to the life-long supporter.
In other news former Hereford United player Stacey Coldicott has become involved with a scouting website called www.shouldhavemadeit.co.uk
It was conceived as an idea when the owners, Coldicott and Mark Cund, realised that many players who "should have made it" in the professional game would have if only they had had the opportunity. The site is for those players.
Former fireman Coldicott, now a graduate in business, describes himself as a 'experienced professional football over the last fifteen years at clubs such as West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff City, Grimsby Town and Hereford United and has made over 350 appearances as a professional player.'
They have set up a network of so-called scouts as they 'need eyes all over this country so that no more players with potential slip through the net.'
One of the scouts on the site is described is a 'current professional player who can count Leicester City and Hereford United amongst the clubs he has played for. He is an international within the semi-pro game.'
The suggestion, not confirmed, is that this scout may be former Bull Rob Purdie.
Central defender Dean Beckwith was sorely missed last Saturday when he was unable to take his place in the Hereford United team that lost 3-0 to Morecambe.
Captain Karl Broadhurst took his place, but looked short of fitness after several weeks off.
Beckwith was reported to have gone down with a bug last Thursday and although recovering on Saturday didn't feel that he would do justice to the team if he played.
He is expected to regain his place on Boxing Day at Macclesfield.
Full-back Lee Collins was also affected by the bug last week but managed to play in the Morecambe game. Hopefully he will also be back to full fitness by Wednesday.
The other absentee from Saturday, Trevor Benjamin, was said to have tonsilitis. Whether he will be available is, as yet, unknown.
The squad are due in for light training on Christmas morning.
Macclesfield are currently 18th in the table and have gone five games without a win.
As we approach the end of another year reviews often appear, but for something of a change this article looks at the situation at Hereford United ten years ago.
December 1997 and the Bulls were back in the Conference. Many supporters had started the season proclaiming that Hereford United was 'on loan to the Conference' but by Christmas it looked as though any hope of returning to League football would take more than one season as the Bulls were in tenth position in the table.
In any case the Conference was even harder to get out of in those days as just one team was promoted each season.
After the Brighton game in the Spring which resulted in the Bulls being relegated to the Conference it was decided that Hereford should remain a full-time outfit. However the club already had big money problems and so the directors gave manager Graham Turner little to spend.
Players of note at the time included a much improved Gavin Mahon, Neil Grayson and a young Jamie Pitman.
However it was off the field where the problems were mounting. Already there were rumours of players waiting several weeks for their money even though the club had agreed a £500,000 loan from the BS Group the previous May.
Just how bad the financial situation was at Edgar Street emerged during the autumn. In December the club admitted it hadn't enough funds to pay its creditors and so appointed the Birmingham based firm of Chartered Accountants, Smith and Williamson, to 'assist with the presentation of a proposal for a creditors voluntary arrangment' or CVA for short.
At least in those days there was no fear of any points deduction for going into a CVA.
It also emerged that one clause in the BS Group loan deal stood out as very bad business for the club. Whilst BS agreed to pay the rent for Edgar Street to the Hereford City Council, under the conditions of the second lease, the one from BS to the club, it was stated that 'there is no right of reassignment back to the companies (Hereford United) in the event of repayment of the loan advance.'
The Bulls were still chaired by Peter Hill at this stage. Graham Turner had yet to take over his shares.
Some important meetings took place during the Autumn of 1997. Most were arranged by HUISA who were very active at the time. One such meeting took place at the Green Dragon Hotel in Hereford on November 20th. There wasn't even enough room for all those who wished to attend, such was the interest.
At the time a 'Herefordshire businessmens group' had expressed an interest in the club and had looked at the books. However the board led by Peter Hill had put a confidentiality agreement on the group and since Hill was unwilling to discuss the full extent of the money problems and the agreement with the BS Group, HUISA found it difficult to play much of a part in trying to resolve the problems at Edgar Street and as the businessmen were 'gagged' they couldn't help HUISA either.
In any case Hill, although invited, failed to turn up at the meeting. He had alleged that HUISA had slandered him but most supporters thought he didn't have the interest of the football club at heart any longer - he had been on the board for twenty or so years.
A few days after the meeting Graham Turner made an offer to purchase Peter Hill's shares. Turner informed HUISA as 'he felt HUISA members deserved to hear the news early and at first hand.'
It was then revealed that a Hereford United Board of Directors meeting had taken place some two days before the HUISA meeting. However the details were kept fairly secret because of the involvment of Smith and Williamson, the insolvency experts. Just before Christmas details of the proposed CVA were sent to shareholders. The documents showed the club to be £1m in debt.
Some of the debts were: BS Group £500,000, Inland Revenue £143,000, Customs and Excise £120,000, Football Clubs £59,000, other 'trade' creditors about £74,000.
'In fact it would almost be easier to make a list of those to whom they don't owe money,' was one of the comments at the time.
A meeting to agree the CVA was arranged for January 7th 1998.
Back on the pitch it was't all bad news as on Boxing Day Kidderminster Harriers were the visitors to Edgar Street.
Below is how Peter Povall reported it on his HUFC website:
The largest Conference home gate of the season (4,671) saw Hereford United gain another victory which they desperately needed.
Initially, the play had been scrappy at best, with Hereford continually playing the long ball forward which usually ended with them being beaten in the air by Kidderminster's sizeable defence. Why they persisted with this, when they could easily out-play Kidderminster on the ground amazed both myself and many of the home fans.
There where moments at both ends though during the first half as Ian Arnold (Kidderminster) was denied his goal for being offside. Andy Quy also made a couple of good saves to frustrate the visitors further.
Hereford also pressured the Kidderminster goal with both Brian McGorry coming close and Jamie Pitman having a cross almost turned into the net by a defender.
The second half brought much improvement, even though Hereford had Ian Rodgerson sent off for a second bookable offence.
Neil Grayson immediately replied in the 56th minute with a storming penalty following Richard Leadbetter (on one month loan from Wolves) being brought down in the box.
The pace of the game picked up from here with Kidderminster being further denied by excellent saves from Andy Quy who should be declared as man of the match. Neil Grayson also had a late shot pushed over by the Kidderminster keeper Darren Steadman.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Macclesfield Town v Hereford United
Football League 2
Wednesday 26th December KO 3.00pm
Too much turkey and not enough fresh air? Get yourselves up the M6 and cheer on The Bulls as they look to bounce back from the Morecombe mauling. Warm clothing will certainly be the order of the day on Macclesfield's uncovered visitors end but if GT gets the team to turn the heat up we should be in for an entertaining game.
The Silkmen are currently eighteenth in The League following their defeat at the hands of Wycombe and will be looking to provide some late Christmas cheer for their fans. They host Rochdale on the 29th before making the trip to Rotherham on New Year's Day.
By Road - You need to travel north on the M6 either via Worcester and the M5 or, in my case, up the A49 to the north of Shrewsbury joining the A53 to Market Drayton and onto the M6 at J15 (Stoke). Leave the M6 at J17 (sign Sandbach/Congleton), then at the crossroads turn right onto Old Mill Road – A534 (sign Congleton). At Congleton, join the A34 and follow signs for Manchester. Then join the A54 (sign Buxton). At Bosley crossroads, turn left onto the A523 (sign Macclesfield). Follow this road into Macclesfield and the ground will be on your left. Parking is mostly in the Streets around the ground. Distance approx 120 miles. Allow 2 hours 45 minutes. Post Code SK11 7SP.
HUISA - Departs ES at 10.00am Fare £12. Bookings can be made through the Club office up to 12 noon on Christmas Eve. (01432 276666)
FUNBUS - Full. Departs The Street at 10.30 prompt Fare £10.
Admission – I can't find the ticket prices on the Macc website but they are believed to be as follows - Adults £10, Concessions £7, U16's £5, U12's free. There is usually some limited seating available in the Alfred McAlpine Stand - Adults £13, Concessions £10.
Refreshments - Leaving the ground, follow the A523 (London Road) towards the town centre. You will find several decent Pubs along the way including The Albion at 6 London Road and the nearby Railway View in Byrons Lane (Boddingtons, Cains plus four guests and the best pies in Macc). Also worth a visit is the Waters Green Tavern in Waters Green (Taylors Landlord plus at least four guests!) on the way from the Station. The Boarhound in Brook Street is a Robinsons outlet which has a pool table. The Golden Lion in Moss Lane is the closest to the ground being just 500 yards or so away. It usually has a good mix of both home and away fans but, I believe, only serves keg beers whereas The British Flag in Coare Street has a range of Robinsons ales and I think is still run by a home supporter. It has a big screen but no food. Finally, The Sun (Mill Lane) is about halfway between the Station and the Moss Rose. It has two bars, Sky TV and offers an excellent range of beers (no children). There is a refreshment kiosk behind the visitors end inside the ground.
See you at The Moss Rose.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
With leaders MK Dons drawing last night, Peterboro are up to second after a 2-1 win over Bradford. Darlington are third on goal difference after beating Lincoln 4-0 with the Bulls and Rotherham, 3-0 winners over Wrexham, level on points. Chester are sixth after beating Bury 2-1, in front of just 2,260, while Chesterfield beat Mansfield 2-0 to stay in a play-off spot with the Stags five points adrift of safety.
Down the bottom, Dagenham's 1-1 draw with Notts County sees them three points clear of the drop zone. Grimsby earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Stockport, and Macclesfield lost 2-1 at Wycombe. In the other game, Shrewsbury won 2-1 at Accrington in front of just 1,410.
Morecambe manager Sammy McIlroy was said to be wearing a huge grin at the post match press conference at Edgar Street this afternoon.
"To give a performance like this here is great. We did not play well at Wycombe but we did so well today," said McIlroy.
"I am delighted for the lads and for Matty Blinkhorn, who has waited a long time for his goal.
"He has played well; his workrate has been fantastic and he deserves the goal.
"What we need now is to be consistent like Hereford had been until today."
At his press conference Graham Turner praised Morecambe.
"I think you have to give Morecambe a great deal of credit. I thought they came and played very well against us," said Turner as reported by the Official Website.
"We've had one of those days where we've not looked very sharp, we've been out-muscled. They've played better than we have. Particularily annoying is the set-pieces going in against us.
"It's been a very very good run. It was going to come to an end sometime. Now we've got to get it right for Macclesfield.
"What we haven't got to do is lose two games on the trot."
Hereford United coach John Trewick has said that today's performance by the Bulls was 'probably our poorest performance of the season.'
"We never got started and of course to find yourselves two nil down at the break it's very very tough especially againt a side like Morecambe who pass the ball quite well," Trewick told BBC Hereford and Worcester.
The coach was disappointed with conceding all three goals from set pieces but went on to remind supporters that it was the first defeat since losing at home to League leaders Mk Dons.
"Eleven unbeaten, we've lost a game. I think we have to look at the big picture and bounce back."
Interviewer Keith Hall suggested that Hereford had made many errors in the first half.
"It was uncharacteristic," replied Trewick. "It's hard to put your figure on why, sometimes, performances turn out that way. It happens to the vast majority of teams once or twice a season. But we've spoken in the dressing room. We know what we have to do. We've got to put it behind us and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Hall wondered if the extra physique of Bentley and Artell at the back had upset Hereford.
"It did on the day. We were not clever enough to play around them. Certainly if you lob the ball up in the air you've not going to win much in the air," said Trewick.
Hereford missed centre-back Dean Beckwith today.
"He was ill on Thursday evening. He didn't eat for about 36 hours. I spoke to him this morning but he didn't feel he could have done himself justice by saying he was fit."