Thursday, January 31, 2008

Supporters await words from Turner

Hereford United supporters will await words from Graham Turner to see whether he managed to strengthen his squad before the transfer deadline at mid-night.

Turner often speaks to the official website on a Friday and assuming there is an interview will no doubt be asked questions about what happened during the transer window.

Meanwhile the team is expected to leave for Rotherham this afternoon. At present with the weather in a wintery mood, there has to be a doubt, however slight, about whether tomorrow's game will go ahead.

Finally alert Hereford United stewards noticed several Cardiff City fans with forged tickets for the FA Cup game last Sunday. The tickets were said to be good copies but printed on 'different' paper.

Graham Turner mentioned the problem in his column in yesterday's Hereford Times.

Kiddy And Shrews Agree Four Way Swap

Kidderminster and Shrewsbury have agreed a player exchange, with two players on each side moving to the other.

In demand striker James Constable will move to the Shrews along with young keeper Scott Bevan. Veteran ex-Bull Chris Mackenzie and defender Luke Jones will move to Aggborough in exchange.

Kiddy will receive undisclosed fees for their departing pair with Mackenzie arriving on a free transfer and Jones moving on loan for an initial month. Constable scored 29 times in 60 games for Kiddy while Bevan, who gained 'fame' for losing a kidney following a bad tackle while at Tamworth, was first choice throughout his 18 months at the club.

Mackenzie is also goalkeeping coach at Shrewsbury, and it is currently assumed that his role will continue.

Another ex-Bull on the move is David Brown. The Accrington forward has moved to Rushden to replace Simeon Jackson, who agreed to join Gillingham for another undisclosed fee. His loan signing means Garry Hill has signed seven ex-Bulls since that Dagenham game.

In the one that got away category - former target Dave Martin, who trained with the Bulls 12 months ago - has left Crystal Palace for Millwall for £50,000. The left winger has made only 15 appearances since his £25,000 move from Dartford 12 months ago.

Play-Off Rivals Strengthen

While the Bulls appear to be making no inroads on the squad building front, several of our play-off rivals have had happy hunting in the transfer window.

In the pick of today's transfers, Wycombe have landed the coup of the day with the signing of Neil Lennon from Nottm Forest on a free transfer. The vastly experienced midfielder was in the last 16 of the Champions League just 12 months ago. MK Dons have added Stevenage winger Craig Dobson for a undisclosed fee. Dobson has scored ten times in 27 games this season. They have also added a fifth January signing in Macclesfield man Carl Regan. He is the sixth man to join Paul Ince from his days at Moss Rose.

No News on Signings so far

As at 5.30pm, there has not been any news about transfers or loans at Hereford United.

BBC Hereford and Worcester appear to have spoken to the club in the last hour or so and been told that the Bulls 'may not be able to further strenghten their squad before the transfer deadline at midnight tonight'. (H&W words)

No doubt manager Graham Turner is still working at bringing in players. However should he be successful it may be tomorrow before any deals are made public.

Later (7pm) again from H&W: 'Hereford United say that they are now unlikely to bring in any new faces before the midnight deadline.'

Meanwhile one piece of news from Edgar Street - The Bulls will play Ledbury Town in the HFA Cup next Tuesday at Edgar Street kick-off 7.30pm.

Assuming they win, they will then face Bromyard in the semi final and again assuming they win, they will meet Westfields in the final.

Done to stay put

Wrexham winger Matty Done has decided to stay with the Red Dragons according to the Wrexham Evening Leader. Done, 19, had been persistently linked with United over the past few days but has decided to see out his contract with Wrexham until the end of the season and take it from there.

Done commented, "I spoke to the gaffer on Wednesday. He told me that I have to keep working hard to get into the team, and I have decided to stay. Personally, I felt the move was not right for me."

Meanwhile, former Hereford loanee John Eustace has left Stoke City to join Watford. The midfielder will join Lionel Ainsworth at Vicarage Road and has signed for 250k. Another ex-loanee on the move is Michael Husbands, who has made his loan from Macclesfield to Telford a permanent move.

Bulls In For Ellison

The Bulls have joined the chase for Chester winger Kevin Ellison, according to the player himself.

The former Tranmere winger acknowledged that he had been told of interest from four clubs, but had not sought a move himself. The 28 year old is Chester's top scorer, with eight goals in 30 games.

Speaking to the Chester Evening Leader, Ellison said: "Before Saturday's game against Rotherham a few Chester fans were asking if I was leaving the club, but I hadn't heard anything.

"Then, on Tuesday, I was told by a few people that Chester had accepted an offer from Wrexham for me, but I hadn't heard or spoken to anyone about a move. I'm set on staying at Chester and I don't see any reason why I should leave.

"Then, before Tuesday night's match against Rochdale, the gaffer pulled me into his office and I was told that Wrexham, Darlington, and Hereford were interested in signing me. At the moment I'm happy at Chester and I don't want to go anywhere else.

"I've got to think about my little one and a mortgage. I haven't spoken to my agent or any club about a move away from Chester because I'm happy where I am."

Wrexham confirm Bulls Interest in Matty Done

Wrexham Football Club has confirmed that Hereford United are interested in signing Matty Done, their young winger.

Manager Brian Little has told the Wrexham Evening Leader that discussions between Done and himself will take place today. He also said that Peterborough are chasing the signing of Chris Llewellyn.

"There has been interest in those two and we will talk to them and see what is the right thing to do," said Little.

"If something is going on, we will be honest with the player and sort things out amongst ourselves. We don't hide things from players and they are aware of interest in them.

"But players at our end are still our players. If they are happy and want to be part of things then that is fine by me. We will come to the right conclusion."

Turner disappointed with defending

After last night's defeat by Barnet, Bulls' manager Graham Turner was critical of his sides defending after it looked as though a draw was possible whem Trevor Benjamin equalised.

"Sometimes you have to settle for a point and to concede a goal like that was most annoying when we had plenty of bodies over the far side and still allowed them to get a cross in," he told BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"It was for a large part a very lethargic performance but we've not had the best of luck with their two goals."

More of Turner's comments were reported by Sky:

"Barnet were always going to cause us problems but we haven't had the best of luck with their two goals. For a large part of the game it was a lethargic performance.

"We have now lost three games on the trot which was something we obviously wanted to avoid. But it has happened and there are a lot of chins on the chest in the dressing room.

"It is now a question of picking ourselves up and getting ready for our match at Rotherham - it is a testing time."

News Round Up

Stockport have accepted an undisclosed bid for Anthony Elding from Leeds United. Grimsby have rejected overtures from Dundee for winger Nick Hegarty. Bradford are set to complete a permanent free transfer deal for on-loan midfielder Lee Bullock from Hartlepool, and have loaned defender Simon Ainge to Halifax until the end of the season.

Chester have rejected bids from Wrexham and Bury for winger Kevin Ellison, but Wrexham say the deal is not dead yet with talks continuing. Brentford have offloaded defender David Partridge to Irish side St Pats Athletic. The Bees have signed Brighton striker Nathan Elder for £25,000. The 20 year old was a prolific scorer for Billericay, but rarely got a first team chance at the Seagulls. They have also extended the deals of Osei Sankofa and Ricky Shakes until the end of the season.

Accrington have signed defender Aswad Thomas on loan for a month from Charlton, and also signed former loanee David Mannix until the end of the season. Weymouth owner Malcolm Curtis has warned that relegation will cause the club to fold. Exeter are to stay at their St James Park home after a year long consultation found it was the best option rather than a new site or groundsharing with the local rugby club.

Rochdale boss Keith Hill has been named manager of the month for January. Lincoln have released right winger Ryan Semple. The 22 year old was transfer listed earlier in the month but has agreed to a financial settlement on his contract. Darlington have signed goalkeeper Przemyslaw Kazimierczak from Bolton. He previously had loan spells at Accrington and Wycombe. The move is expected to pave the way for David Stockdale to join QPR. They have also released full back Paddy Collins.

Weymouth have nicked Cambridge United assistant boss Alan Lewer to work with new boss John Hollins. The pair worked together at Crawley. Peterboro goalie Joe Lewis has been named in the England u-21 squad. Bury have signed Wolves youngster Elliott Bennett on loan for a month.

Notts County have pulled out of a deal to sign Shrews striker Andy Cooke. The striker discussed terms and underwent a medical, but the club decided to pull the plug for unknown reasons. The club have taken Norwich man Ryan Jarvis on loan instead. The Magpies have also released defender Guy Branston after his month long contract expired.

Macclesfield have signed Sheff Utd midfielder James Ashmore on loan until the end of the season. He originally signed on a months loan, but has impressed enough to extend the deal. Grimsby have let Isiah Rankin move to Stevenage on a free transfer. The striker cost Bradford £1.3million ten years ago, but has done little but slide down the divisions since.

Rochdale have signed Brentford forward Lee Thorpe on a free transfer. The former Torquay man scored just four times in his six months at Griffin Park.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rotherham Travel Details

Rotherham United v Hereford United
Saturday 2nd February 2008 KO 3.00 pm.
Football League 2
S60 1HR
Phone 01709 512434

A football match on a Saturday with a 3.00 pm kick-off time!

Rotherham can trace their history back to 1870 and became "United" in 1925 with the amalgamation of Rotherham Town and Rotherham County. They have played at Millmoor since that time and their Official Website currently advertises the capacity as 8300. Visiting fans are accommodated in the all-seated, covered Railway End, which holds around 2000. Access is from Millmoor Lane via a narrow alleyway. The usual light refreshments are available in the ground but no alcohol.

Admission - Adults £20, Seniors/Students £12, 12-16 £8, U12's £5 and U5's £1.

Rotherham "early-bird" tickets are available through the HUFC office up to 4.00 pm this afternoon (Thursday) saving £2 on Adult, Seniors/Students and 12-16 age prices.

Alehouses - The Butchers Arms can be found by walking over the Coronation Bridge and turning right into Union Street then left into Midland Road (less than ten minutes). The Millmoor, not unsurprisingly, is on the corner of Millmoor Lane near to the ground and has a reputation for welcoming both home and visiting fans. The local Wetherspoons is The Blue Coat Feoffes which can be found on The Crofts. From the ground, cross the A630 and walk down Main Street to the end, then cross Ship Hill and Moorgate Street to The Crofts (10/15 minutes). For those with a little more time and a love of the "Real" stuff, I would suggest this a rare opportunity to visit a Wetherspoons that was actually voted Pub of the year by the local Camra branch (Pedigree, Abbot and 7 guests).

Train - It looks a fairly complicated journey with several changes. Departing Hereford at 08.50 and arriving at Rotherham Central at 12.37 with changes at Birmingham and Sheffield. The return journey leaves at 18.48 and arrives back in The Shire at 22.35 with the same two changes.

Car - Hereford to Worcester then M5, M42, A42 and M1. Leave the M1 at J33 and at the roundabout take the third exit onto the A630 following signs for Rotherham. At the next roundabout, take the first exit and straight over the next two. At the next roundabout take the first exit onto Masbrough Street and left into Millmoor Lane. The ground will be right in front of you. There is some street parking and early arrivals may be able to get into the Club car park behind the Main Stand (£2?). Distance is approx. 145 miles – allow three hours. Postcode S60 1HR.

HUISA – Departs The Street at 09.30. Fare £15. Book through Club office (01432 276666)

FUNBUS – Departs The Street at 10.00 prompt. Fare £13(ish) FULL.

See you at Millmoor.

(Article written by Ex-Landlord and posted in his absence)

Window Closes At Midnight

The January transfer window closes at midnight tonight, with most Bulls fans expecting at least two new arrivals before the deadline.

With five loan signings already in the first team squad any new faces would be expected to be on a more permanent basis. Graham Turner has a proven track record of leaving his dealings til the last minute, much to the average fan's frustration, but also being able to produce some trump cards in the process.

A number of players have been granted their releases from sides in the last few days and could be signed after the transfer window closes as they are now free agents and not subject to the window thanks to EU employment laws. Danny Thomas signed last season as a non-contract free agent until his summer release and the likes of free spending Peterboro, QPR, and Leicester are offloading players almost daily in order to remain within their agreed wage limits.

The next 24 hours are expected to be frantic across the footballing world.

Done Deal Done?

Rumours persist on the Wrexham forums that the Bulls have had a bid accepted for Dragons' winger Matt Done.

The 19 year old left winger has been sidelined at the Racecourse since Brian Little took over, making just one start and three sub appearances in the 13 games with Little in charge, after playing some part in most of the games prior to his arrival.

He was left out of Tuesday's League Two match squad at Morecambe, and also the reserve squad outing to Rochdale on Wednesday - a move that has led a lot of Dragons' supporters to suggest that he has played his final match for the club.

The Oswestry born youngster has had a trial at Southampton, and has also been linked to Liverpool, and has made 41 starts for Wrexham since making his debut as a 17 year old in 2005.

Stats show Equal Possession

Both Hereford United and Barnet were credited with 50% of possession at this evening's only League Two fixture.

Both teams had six shots on target and seven shots off target.

For once Hereford were penalised for fouls more than their opponents by 11 to 4.

The gate of 2271 was the lowest at Edgar Street for a League game this season to date.

No player from either side was booked.

As for player ratings Hereford's Toumani Diagouraga was given an eight, sub Trevor Benjamin, Dean Beckwith and Ben Smith each received a seven, and all the others a five or a six.

Bees sting Bull's promotion chase

Barnet threw a spanner in the works of Hereford's promotion aspirations as they defeated The Bulls 2-1 at Edgar Street this evening. It was a reversal of the scoreline the last time the two teams met back in August. After a poor first half, Barnet opened the scoring Albert Adomah early in the second period, before substitute Trevor Benjamin powered in a close-range header to equalise. However, the visitors had the final say and to makes matter worse, ex-loanee Nicky Nicolau popped up with the winner.

Karl Broadhurst returned to the starting line-up after a long absense, with Richard Rose dropping to the bench. Lee Collins pushed to left back. Sam Gwynne also came back into the side, with Kris Taylor also dropping to the bench. A debut was handed to Gary Hooper, who partnered Theo Robinson up front, with Benjamin left among the subs. Recent signing Jack MacLeod was also named on the subs bench. Nicolau returned to Edgar Street for Barnet on the left-wing, whilst Leeds bound Jason Puncheon started in central midfield. Old time enemy Ian Hendon was among the Barnet bench.

The game took a while get into any rhythm, with only half-chances falling at either end. Former Histon striker Cliff Akurang headed wide from a Max Porter cross, whilst Robinson's low shot after a lay-off from Hooper was easy for Lee Harrison. Good work from Gwynne down the right-hand side led to Robinson having a shot blocked after a Toumani Diagouraga dummy fooled the Bees' defence. A similar attack saw Gwynne cross for Diagouraga, who instead of dummying, controlled before shooting with his left-foot; Harrison got a hand to it but the ball was heading towards the goal beforer a clearence in the nick of time kept the game scoreless. Simon Johnson looked dangerous when he got his engine up and running, but his end product was poor, with a low shot going a long way past the goal. Adomah's pace caused Collins problems, and when Adomah got in between the Wolves loanee and Broadhurst, he should have scored but his low shot went past the far post. Hooper and Johnson then saw weak efforts be held by Harrison before Barnet threatened from a set-piece. Gwynne bought down Neal Bishop, and it gave Josh Wright an opportunity from 25 yards, but his curling free-kick was gathered by Wayne Brown.

The Bees looked a decent unit albeit against a below par and lethargic Bulls side, although Hereford started the half quickly with Johnson's whipped cross a danger which failed to be attacked. Akurang saw his header from a Wright cross saved; at the other end, Robinson picked out the on-rushing Ben Smith, but a volley from the midfielder went over. Adomah the proved clinical in front of goal as he handed Barnet the lead. Akurang found space just outside the box, and shot goalwards. The ball struck Adomah and fell nicely to the winger, who reacted before Broadhurst and toe-poked into the corner which was greeted with delight by the 56 travelling fans. Hooper tried to be the man to respond for Hereford, but a low shot from the Southend loanee failed to trouble Harrison. Adomah then struck a shot wide after cutting in from the right-hand side; the winger's goal had given him a boost in confidence. Graham Turner made changes as Hereford needed to shake things up, with Benjamin and Taylor introduced in place of Gwynne and Johnson. It proved effective in no time, as Hereford grabbed an equaliser.

The Lilywhites won a corner, and Taylor curled an in-swinger into the danger area where Benjamin peeled away from his marker to nod in at the front-post. The ball was past Harrison before he could do anything about it, and Benjamin had made an instant impact. United were revitalised, and Smith's through ball to Robinson deserved a finish, instead of the block from Ishmail Yakubu. The resulting corner was again taken by Taylor, and Dean Beckwith rose above a crowd of players to head goalwards, but he was denied by a clearence off the line. Brown's long punt forward went over the head of Joe Devera, and fell to Hooper, but he failed to find the goal after Harrison had committed himself; the ball falling over the crossbar.

Good work on the left-hand side from Puncheon saw a cross-field pass find Adomah, but the winger couldn't add to his tally, as he shot wide. Adam Birchall and Ashley Carew were introduced for the ineffective Akurang and goalscorer Adomah as Barnet looked for more options up top. They got just that too. With five minutes remaining, a cross from the right-hand side was attacked by Bishop who had made a burst from midfield. He diverted the ball goalwards, and Brown parried out to Nicolau, who made no mistake with the rebound. The goal was greeted by moans and groans from the Edgar Street faithful, and United had no answer to it. Taylor's free-kick was nodded hopelessly wide by Benjamin, whilst Puncheon's powerful right-foot effort at the death fell wide.

2271 were present to see a poor Bull's performance at Edgar Street. United lacked the cutting edge seen in many games this season, although the introduction of Taylor and Benjamin did give some attacking intent. Hooper performed well, and was handed man of the match by the sponsors, although it is hard to say anyone else deserved it. Tommorow will be a big day for Turner, with the transfer deadline approaching a close. New faces are needed to spice the side up; a right-winger is a must. The return of Robbie Threlfall to training is a huge boost, and if Clint Easton can also regain fitness, United should be able to re-find their feet after suffering three successive defeats. However, it doesn't get easier for Hereford as they travel to second-placed Rotherham on Saturday.

Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Broadhurst, Beckwith, Collins, Gwynne, Diagouraga, Smith, Johnson, Robinson, Hooper.

Subs: Ingham, Rose, Taylor, MacLeod, Benjamin.

Barnet: Harrison, Porter, Devera, Yakubu, Gillet, Adomah, Bishop, Puncheon, Wright, Nicolau, Akurang.

Subs: Trebes, Hendon, Carew, Birchall, Thomas.

Bulls Roll Over, Play Dead

Barnet took a fairly easy three points from the Bulls tonight in the League Two match at Edgar Street.

The hosts barely looked like scoring, until Trevor Benjamin scored within seconds of coming on, and were second best for large parts of the game. The Bulls stay fifth, only two points away from dropping out of the play-off zone.

Full report later.

The Livestock Market and The Football Ground

The revelation that the new livestock market to be built just outside Hereford could cost £10 million will make many local people wonder how such an amount can be justified on what is, in effect, a private business.

Whilst there was every justification, including an ancient charter from 1597, for the Herefordshire Council to find and purchase a new site for a livestock market which needed to be moved out of Hereford, there is an arguement that those who wish to run and use a market should ensure that the council have a reasonable return on their investment.

With the market moving out of town, little contribution to the city of Hereford from the business that will take place at the new site is expected. Even a fair proportion of the livestock traded will have come from over the border.

The council say that the market site in the centre of town is worth £4/£5 million. Therefore the net cost to the Council of building a new market will be around £6 million (and probably more).

It could be said that with an investment of £6 million the Council should receive a return of 6%, ie £360,000 per year. Whilst they will have some rent from the auctioneers and any other businesses that might move to the site, it seems highly unlikely that this market will run at a 'profit' for the council. In any case the market may only be used one day a week for most of the year.

Contrast the backing for this project with the lack of backing, as yet, for the Edgar Street Football Ground which is a focal point in the city. Whilst the ground is owned by the council very little has been spent on it over the past years, other than some recent building for new changing rooms which was funded by Hereford United.

Some of the facilities at the ground are probably hardly legal especially the catering and toilet areas.

It could be said that if the council can spend £6m on a livestock market for a pittance of a return, why can't they spend a similar amount on a football stadium. However that seems highly unlikely given that council tax payers might have to fund part of the bill.

Perhaps the council should consider selling the ground to the club. With a 'sporting covenant' in place, no one would be able to change its use and the cost to the club would be discounted. Then if the 'facilities' were not up to a certain standard, the council could put pressure on the club to improve them.

It probably won't happen because of the involvment of the Richardsons. They hold the 'first lease' from the Council and are owed around £1m by Hereford United.

But in an age where councils and government seem keen to privatise virually everything in one way or another, the idea of a council owning a football ground goes against the general trend. The £9,000 a year lease for Edgar Street is a tiny return for a site that on the open market must be worth at least the same if not more than the soon to be moved livestock market.

If the ground was sold to Hereford United at a discounted price of say £1m wouldn't that be better business for the Council than £9,000 a year and less hassle?

Robins Expects To Defeat Bulls

In his post match comments after last night's loss to Peterboro, Rotherham manager Mark Robins expected his side to win Saturday's game with the Bulls:

"Every time we have suffered a defeat this season we have gone on to win the next game and I expect us to put on a performance against Hereford on Saturday. We know this is a big spell for us and there will be a blip before the end of the season, not just for us but for every team."

Robins admitted last night's defeat was down to a poor performance: "It's a long time since we lost away from home but I am disappointed with the manner of the defeat. We never got started; our decision making was poor all over the pitch so we got exactly what we deserved.

"At times we didn't know whether to stick or twist, didn't know whether to close down or drop off so it was very disappointing."

Robins has added Chelsea defender Adrian Pettigrew to his squad until the end of the season. The 21 year old centre back spent three months on loan at Brentford earlier in the season, making 14 appearances.

News Round Up

Aldershot have sold striker Jonny Dixon to Brighton for £55,000. They paid Wycombe £6,000 for the 24 year old 12 months ago, and he scored a total of 29 times in 65 games. His contract was due to expire in the summer. Morecambe have signed former Leeds trainee Henry McStay from Belgian side Royal Antwerp. The Irish u-21 international's only experience in English football is a two month spell at Halifax on loan.

Weymouth have named John Hollins as their new manager. His last job was at Crawley, leaving in October 2006. Chesterfield have extended the loan of Nottm Forest man Brendan Moloney until the end of the season. Rochdale have been rebuffed in a move for Cambridge striker Scott Rendell. The former Crawley man has scored 22 times in the Conference this season.

Shrewsbury are to test their post-match crowd segregation tactics after Saturday's game with Lincoln. The moves will prevent home fans passing the back of the away stand. The tactics are expected to be deployed for their first real test for the Bulls' visit. The club have also released goalkeeper Ryan Esson. The 27 year old's contract was due to expire at the end of the season after limited first team opportunities.

Darlington have resigned striker Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu following his release from Gillingham. He previously played for the club in 2005, scoring 11 times in 22 games. Mansfield Chief Executive Stephen Booth has received two bids for the club since the weekend. Stockport have rejected a second Hartlepool bid for Anthony Elding. Crewe and Gillingham are also circling the ex-Stevenage player.

The proposed sale of Bradford goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to QPR has fallen through. The Jamaican needed Home Office approval for a new work permit for QPR, but it was rejected due to a lack of internationals played in the last two years. His current deal at Valley Parade, and his work permit, expire at the end of the season.

Hereford need a win this evening

A win for Hereford United this evening will lift them back into fourth spot in League Two.

However visitors Barnet have played quite well away from home this season so they will probably come to Edgar Street thinking they can at least take a point from the Bulls.

After their 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield nine days ago, Hereford need to win this game to keep up their hopes of gaining an automatic promotion spot. Although they lost out to Cardiff last Sunday in the Cup, they produced a much better performance against a good Bluebirds side. (Cardiff defeated QPR 3-1 last night in the Championship).

Manager Graham Turner may tinker with the squad for the game. There is speculation that he might drop Trevor Benjamin to the bench and start with Robinson and Johnson up-front. Benjamin is carrying an injury and loked off the pace last Sunday. There is also expected to be a place for new loanee Gary Hooper.

The Worcester News has suggested that defender Trent McClenahan is carrying a calf injury. It isn't clear how bad this is and whether he might not play this evening. Although Robbie Threlfall is back at Edgar Street this game may come too soon for him.

It also reports Turner's desire to get back to concentrating on promotion.

"We have been knocked out but we enjoyed the run, Sunday's atmosphere and the game, but the Football League was always our priority and attempting to gain promotion," said Turner.

"So it's now up to the players to make sure they are firmly focussed. We have fallen behind a number of clubs in terms of games played but this is an important game to get Sunday and last Monday out of our system and get back to winning ways.

"But it won't be easy, Barnet won't be easy to play against

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ex-Bull Watch

Paul Parry scored and set up another for Cardiff in their 3-1 win over QPR. Lionel Ainsworth was, again, an unused sub for Watford. Rob Purdie was sub, for the fifth game running, for Darlington.

In the Conference, John Grant scored the only goal as Aldershot beat Oxford. Adam Stansfield faced Mark Beesley at the Abbey, but neither got on the scoresheet as a defender scored the only goal of the game for Exeter, and Tony James met Phil Gulliver at the Pirelli with Burton beating Rushden 2-1.

Bulls Slip To Fifth

The Bulls have slipped to fifth in the table after tonight's results.

A win tomorrow over Barnet would retake fourth place, moving within a point of the second and third placed sides.

League Two Results

Darlington move up to second following a single goal win over Accrington. MK Dons' lead at the top is down to just two points after they were held at home to Macclesfield in a 1-1 draw, a game that ended after seven minutes of injury time. Chesterfield only managed a 2-2 draw with Stockport but move up to sixth. Peterboro beat Rotherham 3-1 to move up to fourth.

Chester's dire form continued as they ended the game with nine men in a 4-0 drubbing by Rochdale - who now hold a play-off spot - while Shrewsbury also conceded four at Valley Parade, Bradford running out 4-2 winners. Chester have only one win in fifteen, and have scored in only one of their last seven games, while the Shrews have only one win in seven.

Down the bottom, Wrexham earned a 2-2 draw with Morecambe thanks to a pair of penalties and Mansfield got a late winner to beat Lincoln 2-1. The result is not enough to take them out of the relegation spots after Dagenham got a surprise win at Wycombe, 1-0. Grimsby beat Bury 1-0 to continue their rise up the table while Brentford and Notts County shared a 0-0 draw.

1 Milton Keynes Dons 29 25 58
2 Darlington 27 29 53
3 Rotherham 28 16 53
4 Peterborough 27 21 49
5 Hereford 26 15 49
6 Chesterfield 29 16 47
7 Rochdale 26 11 47
8 Wycombe 29 7 47

Ex-Bull Beesley Moves To Cambridge

Former Bull Mark Beesley has moved from Forest Green to Cambridge United for an undisclosed fee.

The former Preston and Chester man scored 11 times in 26 games for FGR this season, moving to the Abbey Stadium on a deal until 2010. U's boss Jimmy Quinn told their official site: "He's a striker who plays that link role very well, and he's set up the majority of Fleetwood's goals this season. He's a clever footballer with quick feet, good movement and he's a quality player with the right kind of experience."

Beesley played 15 times for the Bulls in the free scoring 2003/04 side, making five starts and ten sub appearances and scoring twice including the seventh of nine banged in at Dagenham. He was a surprise release in the summer of 2004, moving to Forest Green shortly after.

Barnet lead - others may follow

Barnet Football Club, who play at Edgar Street tomorrow evening, are still being praised for their idea only to allow their captain to speak to the referee about any decision during a game.

The Football Association have decided to try out the 'Barnet' idea in eight county FA leagues.

According to the Daily Telegraph if the 10-week pilot scheme is successful, the FA will work with the PFA, Premier League and Football League to introduce the rule into the professional realm next season.

Clubs will agree in advance that the lines of communication can flow only between captain and referee. Anyone else attempting to join the inflammatory appeals process will be told first to "back off" and then be cautioned (as is permissible, although rarely enforced, under current Laws).

Barnet boast a vastly improved disciplinary record since taking striker Adam Birchall's advice to cede all debating responsibilities to the captain. Dissent has disappeared. Referees, who are human, are known to respect Barnet more.

It will be interesting to see Barnet put their idea into practice tomorrow evening and how, if at all, referee Taylor reacts.

Eleven League Two Matches This Evening

Ten League Two games go ahead this evening. It would have been a full programme of fixtures this evening but because Hereford United were in FA Cup action on Sunday their match against Barnet will take place tomorrow evening kick-off 7.45pm.

List of Fixtures:

Bradford v Shrewsbury
Brentford v Notts County
Chester v Rochdale
Darlington v Accrington Stanley
Grimsby v Bury
Lincoln City v Mansfield
Milton Keynes Dons v Macclesfield
Morecambe v Wrexham
Peterborough v Rotherham
Stockport v Chesterfield
Wycombe v Dag & Red

One game of particular interest to Hereford supporters is that at Peterborough (6th) where Rotherham (2nd), who entertain the Bulls on Saturday, are the visitors.

And if the worst happens, meaning wins for Peterborough, Chesterfield and Wycombe, Hereford could drop to seventh position.

News Round Up

Wrexham have lodged a five figure bid for Chester winger Kevin Ellison. Chester have acknowledged the bid and will issue a response - a reaction that has caused concern amongst their fans. Ellison took some prising away from Tranmere last summer, and he is their current top scorer.

Morecambe have had a bid rejected for Bury striker Andy Bishop. The bid, claimed to constitute a club record, was instantly rejected with boss Sammy McIlroy saying that Bury had already turned down £280,000 for the £400,000 rated player. Bradford have signed Fulham's teenage defender TJ Moncur on a one month loan.

Brentford have extended the loan of Reading goalie Ben Hamer until the end of the season. Hamer, 20, has played ten times for the club already this season. Forest Green have had a £15,000 bid for Crawley midfielder Tyrone Thompson rejected. Mansfield are to sign striker Jefferson Louis on contract until the end of the season. The much travelled target man has had six Conference clubs in as many years, and quit Weymouth earlier in the month.

Former Bull Andy Moran has moved back into the English Leagues, joining Fleetwood Town from Rhyl. The striker scored 99 times in 148 games, and moves for a nominal fee. Former Bulls trainee Adam Worton has been named the Welsh Premier player of the week after scoring twice for Newtown. The 20 year old midfielder joined Newtown in the summer after a year at Caersws following his Bulls' release.

Cambridge United are forecasting losses this season of around £350,000 - a slight improvement on the £540,000 loss from last season. Most of it is down to a 25% increase in attendances at the Abbey Stadium. They do not forecast to break even for another two seasons.

Barnet Bring In Keeper Cover

Barnet have added goalkeeper Tim Trebes to their squad for Wednesday's trip to Edgar Street.

The former Bees apprentice has been playing for Wivenhoe Town in the Isthmian League Division One North, but has signed League forms for the Bees and will warm the bench with current first choice Rob Beckwith out with a dislocated finger. Veteran Lee Harrison will keep goal, with Trebes replacing coach Ian Hendon, usually a full back, as the goalkeeping sub.

The Bees will have wingers Kieron St Aimie and Albert Adomah available for the first time after their signings last week, while former Shrews defender Sagi Burton is back in training after missing nearly two months with a knee problem. Fellow defender Joe O'Cearill has been released while midfielder Michael Leary remains suspended.

Threlfall back in training

Robbie Threlfall should be back in training this morning. The young loanee is due to return to Edgar Street from Liverpool according to the Western Daily Press.

However it is thought that tomorrow's game against Barnet may come too soon for him to take any part in the proceedings.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Discount Tickets For Rotherham

The HUFC Official Website is reporting that a limited number of "early-bird" tickets are available from the Club office up until 4.00 pm on Thursday. These tickets show a saving of £2 on Adult, Seniors/Students and Juveniles giving prices of £18, £10 and £6 compared with the full match-day prices of £20, £12 and £8.

The tickets for U12's (£5) and U5's (£1) are also available but show no reduction.

HUISA travel tickets are also available at £15 and can also be booked in Legends before the Wednesday Barnet game.

We've met Gary Hooper before

New loan signing at Edgar Street,Gary Hooper, has been mentioned in articles on this site in the past.

July 14 2006: Meanwhile, Grays have signed former Canvey striker Lee Boylan but have surprisingly released teenage defender Gary Hooper. The 18 year old was subject to a bid by Reading last season, but has now been released after being a regular feature last season. He is currently on trial at Barnet.

Jan 29 2006 (After the Bulls had drawn with Grays 2-2): The Grays manager, Mark Stimson, was disappointed to lose a two goal lead.

"At half time it looked good, but we knew Hereford were going to come back.

"They've got so much experience at this level and we haven't and it showed.

"With a little bit more luck, Gary Hooper, who was outstanding today, might have got the third when he was clear through and that would have been game over."

Aug 27 2005: Hereford failed to make use of the five added minutes at the end and were punished right at the end. Martin had hit the side netting already before a cross in from the right was tapped in from close range by Hooper much to the delight of the 57 away fans. (Grays won this game at Edgar Street 2-0)

Finally the Hooper banner, pictured, often on view at away games could have more significance after today's signing.

Black Mountains Derby - What Nonsense!

Glynis Wright looks back at yesterday's cup game.

Since when has any game involving Hereford and Cardiff City been designated a “Black Mountains Derby”? Well, that was the name given this tie by ‘SkyBet’ apparently. I was first made aware of the existence of this nonsense by the almighty amount of snorting coming from our ‘office’: His Nibs, trolling around the internet before our departure, came across the phrase pretty much by accident, hence all the indignant snorting sounds I heard! Talk about scraping the bottom of the journalistic barrel: I had vivid pictures of some bored hack sitting before a PC, racking his brains desperately in order to impart a novel twist upon an age-old theme, then, looking within the pages of some old atlas in desperation, seeing the metaphorical cranial ‘light bulb’ come on. ‘I know!’ thinks he, ‘Let’s call it The Black Mountains Derby! After all, nobody will know any better, will they?’ Yeah, right….

Still, such things were reduced to the status of minor quibbles as we revelled in distinctly spring-like climes, a continuation of the remarkably mild weather we’d both experienced yesterday. Yet another early start for a game, but what the hell: the sun was shining, the sky was predominantly blue, with but a few aircraft con-trails here and there to detract from the overall ambience. And crocuses in full bloom on the Hagley Road, Birmingham? In January? Blimey, this global warming malarkey was really beginning to dig in.

Probable climate change apart, both the major roads and the M5 motorway were largely bereft of traffic, as we wended our way towards genuine ‘zoider country’. An interesting outward journey, that: all around the Worcester bypass, much remained of the recent floods there, with untold numbers of seagulls cashing in too, where there were rich pickings in the avian food stakes to be had. But no crocuses there, as yet. Clearly, those vastly improved temperatures of late had yet to reach the open countryside.

With very little need remaining to race along all those bendy, twisty roads, we were able to proceed at leisure: even so, we completed the journey in but a little over an hour, very good going indeed for that trip. Even better, as we pulled onto the car park at the rear of the ground, we found we could more or less pick our spot. Important, that, as pole position allowed us to get a ‘flyer’ out after the final whistle. No floods from the nearby river either, at long last? That would really scupper my naughty plans for getting Hereford to redesignate their home terrace, the Meadow End “The Shallow End”! How could they do that to me?

Because the sciatic nerve in my left leg was still giving me big-time grief after yesterday’s standing/walking marathon at London Road Peterborough, when my other half went to pick up our tickets from Brade maman et fils, I decided to wimp out and remain in our vehicle instead. No real hardship, that: as I said earlier, the clime was almost spring-like, with a wonderfully-pleasant 50F showing on our in-car thermometer. And we’d also brought along a couple of newspapers to read while waiting: the local ‘Pink’, and a scandal-sheet, the latter being purely for the football match reports, of course!

Around 45 minutes later, my beloved returned, bearing gifts of those precious bits of paper. The reason he’d taken longer than I’d expected was because, unknown to me, the lad had to collect one each from two separate lots of Bull-people. Even then, we still had a good hour to the kick-off – but sod all that, the so-called ‘magic of the Cup’ was already exerting a massive influence upon my other half, so as the turnstiles were open already, in we went anyway.

What did disturb me, though, was more info about the almighty shambles that had marked Hereford’s ticket-sales for this one. The constant shifting of the selling time was quite enough to madden anyone. Furthermore, the first hand accounts of unlimited ticket sales (where was the instance that City followers would not be in the home end?) followed by a new directive of two each was guaranteed to raise the temperature a bit more. Only at Hereford are seated season tickets not guaranteed their seats – if they want to guarantee their regular pitch – which is after all integral to football watching – they just have to be early. Very early.

The moral of the story is that if The Bulls are serious about promotion, they’ll have to radically overhaul all their arrangements when it comes to big games, and who gets to watch them. There aren’t many current sides in the First with a big following – they’ll probably lose Swansea, promoted to the Championship, with Forest and/or Leeds possibly going the same way as well – but it’s a matter with clear potential for developing into a serious problem. Hereford are unquestionably a club who genuinely try to look after their followers, so why is it they can’t get this, of all things, right?

But back to the game. A bit worrying, when two stewards inside the ground not only recognised me, but also enquired whether or not I’d be ‘producing’ for this one! Blimey, fame at last, but not doing an awful lot for me on the old ‘street-cred’ front! Inside the stand, and plonked firmly upon our group of seats, was Nick’s mum Mavis, bless her little pension book. Mavis’s selflessness, entering the ground at 10.50 was the only way she could retain seats for herself and the surrounding season ticket holders.

Her little soldier, Nick, was out there, somewhere, flogging half-time draw tickets to home and away supporters alike like they were going out of fashion, not to mention acting as unofficial PR for the club: some call it ‘multi-tasking’, Nick calls it being very proactive indeed on behalf of a very good cause. In his own small way, he’s worth far more to the club than any amount of corporate sponsorship could ever be, cash input excepted, of course. No sign of Talking Bill, as yet, though, but having said all that, Bath isn’t exactly the ideal place to flee from on a Sabbath, when travel by train is either impossible or downright unreliable. When he finally turned up, I just knew I’d have to ask him precisely how he’d achieved what was clearly the impossible!

As for Nick’s mum, she’s now waiting to have knee-replacement surgery, poor sod. Chronic arthritis is the culprit, apparently: cortisone injections into the offending joint were tried (Ouch! Pretty painful: just ask any League-standard footballer who turned out during the sixties and seventies!) but they didn’t do the biz, so it’s going to be surgical-grade titanium-type metal to the rescue instead.

As we watched both sides warm up in the spring-like sunshine, the teams were read out on the PA system. Most Herefordians seemed happy with their line-up – they had to be because they don’t have any other fit players! – but there was a warm round of applause from the crowd when the name of Cardiff player Paul Parry was mentioned. How come? He gave The Bulls some pretty useful service while at Edgar Street, before moving to Cardiff. As for the remainder of that Cardiff side, it was exactly as it was when Albion played them the other week: why, even confirmed ‘oggie’ merchant Johnston was included in ex-Dingles manager Dave Jones’s starting line-up, other than portly Jimmy-Floyd was on the bench, replaced by their only other fit forward Thompson.

Realistically, if Cardiff gave it the same amount of welly as they did at the Hawthorns, the Second Division side would be well and truly blown out of the water. Assuming you can blow a heavy match ball out of a substantial stretch of oggin, of course. Good to see ex-Albionite Tucka Trewick putting his Hereford side through their pre-match paces, too. Of one thing I was certain: The Bulls really wanted to make an impression, put The Bluebirds to the sword, so it came as no real surprise to hear, yet again, their ‘anthem’. Written by a schoolteacher, back in the days of Ronnie Radford And Co, and it didn’t half show. Too simplistic and childlike for my tastes, but there’s about five or six thousand in that ground who would violently disagree, so who am I to criticise?

Then Talking Bill finally rolled up. He’d indulged in a pre-match pint of Butty Bach in a nearby hostelry, a place called The Barrel, apparently. Not that I had a clue where it was, mind. Superstition, pure and simple, he told me. He’d done similar before the first game of the season, so he simply dared not get out of the habit: tempting fate, he reckoned! Then I got the answer to the question that had been bugging me something rotten since entering the ground: how the hell had he managed the journey from Bath? Easy, he said, his parents, local people, had put him up for the night!

But Bill almost floored me with a question of his own: should The Bulls get through this one, and draw the mighty Albion, would I be sitting in my present location, among Herefordians (it was a given my other half would!), or would I opt for sitting with our own? An interesting dilemma, that: having considered that knotty one at some length, I finally concluded that the clarion-call of the Baggies would win out in the end!

While I’d been nattering and making notes for this piece, the Cardiff hordes had been pouring into their bit of the ground. Eventually, they started pressing vocals to metal, and pretty loudly, too. Impressive? Not really. Listening to that lot, my other half then had the temerity to suggest to Bill that the task would ultimately prove too much for the Bulls. Cue for instantaneous nuclear explosion, that, several megatons being my crude estimate! Suddenly, Bill launched into an almighty tirade which eventually culminated in the heartfelt – and loudly bawled -homily: “You’ve got to BELIEVE…..”

Out both sides came, then, to predictable applause on both sides of the divide. It was around that time also that Nick finally turned up: as I’ve mentioned before, he’s a pretty busy lad on matchdays! Two surprising observations: Three ‘Paul Parry’s’ on that pitch, one, the ‘genuine article’ wearing a team shirt with both name and number on the back, as per normal, but with two much smaller versions standing alongside. His kids, as it turned out. Ditto Graham Turner, whose granddaughter was also mascot for this caper.

Thanks to the man with the whistle being a bit of a stickler for minor detail, - Im Indoors: “We’ve not come to watch YOU, referee!” - the game was some three minutes late kicking off. But one thing was immediately made clear: whatever Cardiff expected to get from this game, the home side weren’t going to make their passage to the next round an easy one. Sure, around three minutes after the start, Hereford keeper Brown had to make a pretty classy stop for a Cardiff corner – I suspect the visitors were trying to knock the stuffing out of their opponents in similar fashion to the Hawthorns encounter, last week i.e. a quick goal – but that was the clearest chance they had during those opening minutes.

As for the Cardiff contingent, they quickly sensed what was going on, so the volume of their noise diminished considerably in proportion. Nervous they certainly were, and given the Bulls’ magnificent knock-out achievements made flesh on this very same ground, I couldn’t blame them in the slightest. Two minutes or so later, McLenahan almost struck oil for the Bulls, not once, but twice. Ten minutes gone, a Robinson foray down the flank got them deep into City territory: suddenly, as far as the visitors were concerned, it wasn’t at all amusing. In a clear attempt to get their favourites going again, the chant “BARMY ARMY! BARMY ARMY!” suddenly erupted from the away end. Well, they said it, not me!

As ever, the standard of football shown by the home side was really superb: ball to feet, pass and move, pass and move. Lovely stuff. Tony Mowbray would have revelled in it. And the visitors were getting a tad frustrated because of it; with just 15 minutes on the clock, ex-Bull Parry ended up in the book, following a little naughtiness directed towards Hereford’s McClenahan, who was proving a real thorn in their flesh. For one brief minute, I thought the ref would deem it worthy of a red card – it was a truly nasty example of the species, honest – but no such luck, sadly. The only thing lacking from the Hereford game-plan was the ability to whip in that essential ‘killer ball’. Even so, Hereford were actually managing to get behind the Cardiff rearguard, on occasions: of the two sides, had this been a boxing match and not one involving a spheroid, I would have said they were just about in front on points by that stage of the proceedings.

A worrying moment for Hereford with around 20 gone: after some Welsh grief inflicted on the sly, McClenahan had to get treatment for a leg problem of some sort. But the lad had youth on his side, not to mention a smidgen of common or garden fighting spirit: a little restorative work from their physio, and he was as right as ninepence once more. Not so the lino on our side of the field, whose performance was deemed distinctly underwhelming, in the eyes of the B Block crowd. Take Hereford’s answer to Madame De Farge, of ‘Tale Of Two Cities’ fame. No, she’d never knitted while Madame Guillotine wreaked her deadly work among the Parisian aristocracy, but she should have: what she yelled at that lino when a Bulls player was flagged offside yet again was nobody’s business. Wow – I’ve really missed those dulcet tones of hers!

Cardiff were now increasingly relying upon an offside trap to try and cramp the Herefordian style. Sure, in the main, it was working according to plan, but having seen many a side come unstuck through the patchy application of such tactics in the past, had I been the Cardiff gaffer, I really wouldn’t have wanted to rely upon it to the extent they did. But they did find time to force Hereford keeper Brown into ‘doing a Kiely’. Fortunately for his street cred, the lad eventually managed to dive upon the loose ball, then whack it out as far as the centre circle, where it was eagerly snapped up by a colleague.

With just 15 to go to the break, The Bulls then embarked upon one of their most impressive performances yet. The lad Robinson managed to get the ball into the box, then wellied it low and hard, forcing the Cardiff keeper to concede the corner, courtesy a pretty competent stop. A few seconds later, they were right ‘in the mixer’ again: this time, a classy through-ball saw Hereford’s Benjamin hit the side-netting. Not the same sort of ‘in yer face’ attacking we employed against them last week, when we were chasing the game, but not too far short of it either.

Talk about the sheer bloody-mindedness of the Welsh race. When asked via the PA system to sit down, not a few located at the rear of the Len Weston Stand decided to go into complete ‘standing mode’. Either that, or they were all suffering from a mass-attack of chronic piles! It was also around that time Talking Bill managed to do serious damage to all those dinky little bones that vibrate so nicely to facilitate hearing: blimey, one decibel-laden blast from him later, and my moderate deafness had suddenly become a pretty profound handicap! If there’s ever a vacancy arising for a foghorn anywhere in the world, then Bill will be the very first person I’ll suggest to do the job! Oh – it’s a nice thought, Bill, but someone getting upended whole still in Hereford’s own half does NOT constitute a ‘clear goalscoring opportunity’!

So far, so good, as far as the Bulls were concerned. With the minutes and seconds dripping away to the break, and with the home side enjoying the lion’s share of any possession, it really was looking good for them. Cardiff had tried most things in a concerted effort to negate these cider-slurping nuisances, but nothing really seemed to work: as far as I was concerned, as a neutral, I had the distinct feeling that the second half could really get spicy – and that’s the precise moment when disaster struck for the Bulls. Hereford 0, Cardiff 1. Totally against the run of play too, as far as I could tell, which only goes to show how bloody cruel the game can be, at times.

What happened? The blame, if you want to call it that, lay firmly with Hereford’s Beckwith. His headed clearance only did part of the job, the loose ball landing at the feet of Cardiff’s McNaughton, who then wellied it for all he was worth, from a good 25 yards out, I would say. A real ‘suck it and see’ jobbie, that, and normally, the Bulls would have had it covered – but not this time, it would seem. Right through a ruck of players – the opposition, their own, too – the blasted thing went, and right into the back of the bloody net. Brown, their keeper, must have been unsighted, or something: whatever the reason, he didn’t do much to stop the effort going in. I did happen to see an almighty swerve develop on the thing as it flew in: maybe that was the root of the problem. Almost four minutes of injury time elapsed, too. How awfully bloody cruel our national game can be, at times. The Bulls just didn’t deserve that.

And, in another quite different sense, so was the emergence of yet another voice I’d not heard at Edgar Street in yonks: their answer to the waspish outpourings of our very own old Baggie chum, the BIFOM (That’s The Bloke In Front Of Me, all you Herefordians reading this!) Emanating from just behind me, the criticism was as vitriolic as a carboy of concentrated sulphuric acid, and completely underserved, too. Those lads had busted a gut out there for the cause, only to succumb courtesy of a freakish effort from long-range deep in injury time. With ‘supporters’ like that, who the hell needs enemies?

The ref having blown the whistle on the first half in front of a crowd still stunned into complete silence, in an effort to lighten things, I asked Nick how many lottery tickets he’d managed to shift before the game. An amazing 276, all-told, even in the Cardiff end! Mind you, I couldn’t help but marvel mightily at the sheer size of Nick’s holdall: as he rummaged within its ample depths, trying to locate his replica shirt, I fully expected to see a three-piece suite, complete with matching sets of candelabra, go sailing merrily over our heads.

As per usual, Hereford were first to emerge from the tunnel, in order to embark upon the second sitting with all due haste, and not because Graham Turner or Tucka had decreed the lapse their own fault. That’s the way The Bulls normally do things: a punishment it is not. So, away they went again, and within the space of three minutes, the home side saw Oakes, Cardiff’s keeper, have to shift himself to keep out the Bulls’ first serious effort of the second half. To their eternal credit, the Bulls kept plugging away, and might well have breached the dykes before too long.

Hereford then made their first subbing of the afternoon, Easton taking the place of Taylor. But unmitigated disaster was to strike the poor Bulls yet again, and with around 20 minutes gone, too. This time, Cardiff managed to win a penalty, with new-boy Easton being implicated as the one adjudged to have fouled the increasingly irritating McNaughton in the box. Oh, whoops – as I’d said before, all this was pretty rough justice on the Bulls. Needless to say, Cardiff’s Thompson converted with ease.

That second strike really killed the game stone dead – or had it? From out of the blue, Hereford’s Robinson somehow managed to drill the ball straight into the bottom corner. Ah, so there was some semblance of justice in the world, after all! With that successful strike had come the sudden resurgence of hope, a precious commodity indeed, especially when mixing it with the likes of Dave Jones’s Ninian Park crew. Hereford huffed, and they puffed – but, for the life of them, simply couldn’t find sufficient wherewithal to grab that essential equaliser. And Cardiff, suddenly realising that the task wasn’t such a foregone conclusion as previously thought, turned up the wick, hoping to catch the home side on the break. Another good reason for their subbing, Hasselbaink coming on for the Bluebirds, and Thompson leaving the scene of the crime.

And just to further demonstrate how unlucky the Bulls could be, when the ball went out for what the home side thought was a slam-dunk Bulls ball, the ref decided otherwise, awarding Cardiff the throw instead! Yep, when your luck is out, the whole world and its little sister get to know as well! Another brave assault upon the Bluebird bastion by the Bulls, during the four minutes stoppage-time tacked on – and that was yer lot. Final score, Bulls 1, Cardiff 2 – but, if nothing else, the visitors would know they’d been in a game. In some ways, I seriously doubt whether they’d face so stern a test should they subsequently manage to go even further in the competition. But well done, The Bulls, for giving them such a bloody massive fright along the way!

Preview: Bulls vs Barnet

The Bulls entertain Barnet in a League Two clash re-arranged from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Barnet are yet to win in 11 trips to Edgar Street, getting only four draws, and the Bulls will be looking for a double over the Bees after goals from Trevor Benjamin and Theo Robinson earned a 2-1 win at Underhill last August - with the assistance of the referee according to many Barnet fans.

The Bulls could be as low as seventh in the table when the game kicks off, with all the other League Two fixtures being played on Tuesday. A win could put them back into the automatic promotion spots. New arrival Gary Hooper is expected to start with a lack of attacking options currently available to Graham Turner. Steve Guinan remains out, and Trevor Benjamin is in need of rest and may be left out in favour of Saturday's match with Rotherham.

Barnet have a problem with goals, managing just eleven goals in twelve away matches this season but conceding only sixteen. They lie in 17th place, with a play-off shot virtually finished after just two wins in their last ten League matches. Top scorer Jason Puncheon may not make the game as he may have been sold by then, and second top scorer Liam Hatch is long departed leaving Adam Birchall as the remaining goal getter with four goals in 22 League games. No other player has more than one goal.

Hereford United vs Barnet, Edgar Street, Wednesday 30th January, 7.45pm.

Hooper joins Bulls for a Month

Gary Hooper, a centre-forward, has joined the Bulls from Southend initially for a month.

This from the Official Southend Website:

Southend striker Gary Hooper is today going on loan to League Two side Hereford United. The Blues forward will spend the next month at Edgar Street as the Bulls continue their promotion bid.

But before he completed his move to the League Two side, Hooper put pen-to-paper on a new one-and-a-half year contract keeping him at Southend until 2009.

Hooper had been United's only fit forward in recent weeks, and scored during Southend's 4-1 win over Bournemouth ten days ago. However, following the signing of Lee Barnard and Charlie MacDonald's return to fitness boss Steve Tilson has decided to let the youngster go out on loan.

The 20-year-old former Grays forward has made 18 appearances this season for the Club, scoring twice.

The January transfer window, the deadline for signing players, closes on Thursday at midnight.

Hooper, who is 5ft 9in and around 11st, has been out on loan once before, he went to Leyton Orient late last season. He celebrated his 20th birthday last Saturday. He has played at Edgar Street before, scoring for Grays in their 2-0 Conference win in August 2005.

More from Wikipedia:

Gary Hooper (born January 26, 1988) is an English footballer currently playing as a forward for Southend United.

He began his career with then Ryman Premier side Grays Athletic, in the 2003/04 season, being named as an unused substitute in an Essex Senior Cup clash against Braintree Town whilst he was still 15 years old. His debut was the following season when Grays were promoted into the newly formed Conference South, helping them to win the league scoring 12 goals in his 29 league appearances. The following 2005/06 season in the Conference National, Hooper scored 8 times in 40 league appearances. He joined Southend United on trial in July 2006 and was rewarded with a one year contract by Southend manager Steve Tilson the following month.

Hooper made his Southend United debut as a substitute for James Lawson in the 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth in the Carling Cup in August 2006.

In March 2007, Hooper joined Leyton Orient on loan joining former team mate Luke Guttridge at Brisbane Road, He made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic scoring Leyton Orient's second goal. He continued his good form in his second game, scoring his second goal against League One's leaders Scunthorpe United in another 2-2 draw. He returned to Southend on 1st May, when the club activated a 24-hour return clause in his contract.

News Round Up

Bradford are set to sell Jamaican keeper Donovan Ricketts to QPR for an undisclosed sum. He was blamed by many fans for their poor start to the season, but is now bound for the Championship big spenders. The Bantams have signed Watford keeper Scott Loach on loan as a replacement. He was briefly on loan at Morecambe earlier in the month.

No Bulls in this week's Team of the Week, with Rotherham, Macclesfield, and Grimsby getting two nods each. Darlington have been rebuffed in a move for Hull winger Stuart Elliott after the player rejected terms on a six figure transfer, but they have signed former Yeovil striker Kevin Gall from Carlisle on a month's loan.

Mansfield have signed Hull midfielder Will Atkinson on a months loan. The 19 year old had a month at Port Vale earlier in the season. Stags boss Billy Dearden has denied reports that he is retiring at the end of the season while fans have lodged over 100 complaints with the BBC over comments ex-boss Carlton Palmer made about the fans and owner Keith Haslam.

Weymouth have sacked manager Jason Tindall with the club just five points off the relegation zone. He took over the club 12 months ago when their financial bubble burst. Stevenage have sold two more players to Gillingham. Barry Fuller and Stuart Lewis bring to four the number of Boro men to follow manager Mark Stimson to Priestfield.

Morecambe have loaned midfielder Neil Sorvel to Southport for a month. He is the fifth Shrimp to go out on loan. Kidderminster boss Mark Yates apologised to supporters after a dreadful display after losing to Droylsden. Only ex-Bull Alex Jeannin escaped with any praise.

Tough Test says Former Bull

Former Bull Paul Parry spoke to the Welsh Press after yesterday's game at Edgar Street.

“Our two goals settled us down a bit, but Hereford scored and made it hard for us,” said the Cardiff City striker.

“They threw everything at us and all credit to them. I’ve played for Hereford and I know what it’s like. I had seven good years at Edgar Street and I know how Hereford United react in the FA Cup.

“We went to Chasetown and did a job there. Now we’ve overcome a tough test at Hereford.”

Cardiff have been paired with Wolves in draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Referee for Wednesday's Game at Edgar Street

Anthony Taylor will be in charge of Wednesday's game at Edgar Street where Barnet will be the opposition.

He has refereed 23 matches so far this season giving out 75 yellow and 6 red cards.

Last season he officiated in two League Two games in which Hereford were involved. They were away at Bristol Rovers and home against Wrexham.

Meanwhile, fans are reminded that seats on the HUISA coach to Rotherham can be booked in Legends before the match on Wednesday evening. The fare is £15 and departure is 09.30.

The club office will also be open before the game for any supporters wishing to purchase discounted tickets for the Rotherham game. Adults, senior citizens, students and juveniles (12 to 16) can save £2 per ticket off the match day price. The club will accepte cash or a cheque on this occasion.

Finally Michael Jones from Cheshire will be the man in black at Rotherham next Saturday. He has already refereed 30 matches this season giving out 100 yellow and 5 red cards on the way.

He was in charge of the Carling Cup game at Edgar Street earlier this season when Hereford defeated Yeovil 4-1. That evening he booked Simon Johnson.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Fair Result says Hereford Captain

Captain Ben Smith, goalkeeper Wayne Brown and coach John Trewick gave their reaction to today's win by Cardiff City to BBC Hereford and Worcester.

"We had a really good go for the last 15 to 20 minutes and could have nicked something," said Smith

"But they had a few other good chances so it's probably a fair result."

Wayne Brown:

"It was a good team effort in the end, the crowd got right behind us and it was a fantastic atmosphere.

"It just wasn't to be, we've had a good run and we'll just concentrate on the league now."

John Trewick:

"We got a goal back and we had enough chances to have equalised and perhaps got a replay from it.

"But there's no doubting that they are a quality side, the Cup run has come to an end and we have to concentrate on the Barnet match on Wednesday."

Addison sums up Today's Game

Former Hereford United manager Colin Addison summed up today's game in an interview shown on BBC Wales.

"Cardiff's class and quality saw them through. Had a bit of defending to do in the last quarter and just about deserved their victory.

"I thought the first half was a comfortable game for both sides. Not a lot of goal mouth incident but right on half time the ball got played in, it came out, edge of the box and Mcnaughton came onto it and absolutely steamed it into the corner of the net. Wayne Brown had no chance, no vision at all on it.

"Hereford, if they were to get back into the game, needed to play with a little more tempo. They came out and did that. But then the clear penalty. He (Easton) brought him (Mcnaughton) down from behind and Thompson sticks it away. 2-0. I thought game over.

"However goals change games. Cardiff looked comfortable, Hereford weren't really troubling them and all of a sudden they get a goal.

"It was a good goal. Robinson took it on the right hand side into the box. The ball's played through, nicked on (by Gwynne), he has a look, just lifts his head and drills a great shot in the corner past Qakes. And they were back in it. Game on again. Cardiff have some defending to do.

"I think the last fifteen minutes were arguably the best period of the game. Hereford throw it all forward and one or two shots were reining in. And Oakes had one or two saves to make.

"I just thought the way Graham (Turner) likes them to play - they keep possession, pass the ball, keep good possession. I would have liked to have seen a higher tempo especially when they were going towards the Meadow End (in the first half)."

More Quotes from Turner and Jones

Both managers spoke to the press after this afternoon's game at Edgar Street. Below are some quotes from Sporting Life.

Hereford United's Graham Turner:

"We were beaten by a very good side who are going well in the Championship," Turner said.

"Having said that, I thought we gave it a real go in the last 20 minutes and we got ourselves into a few good positions.

"Being 2-0 down I thought we might have folded but I thought we gave it a good go. However, I do accept we have been beaten by a decent side and it's back to the league now."

Cardiff City's Dave Jones:

"It was always going to be difficult against Hereford who play good football," Jones said.

"We allowed Hereford back into the game by giving away a sloppy goal - but that's Cup football for you sometimes.

"We had done the hard work and were making life easier for ourselves but we didn't defend properly, which gave them hope in the last few minutes.

"But I thought we fully deserved the victory."

Parry's return to Edgar Street

Although he didn't score a goal, Paul Parry looked a threat to the Bulls this afternoon. The former Hereford United player had several shots early in the game, one of which was well turned past the post by Wayne Brown. However as the game went on the Hereford defence seemed to cope with him.

But he blotted his game by a poor tackle on Trent McClenahan for which he received a yellow card.

Before the game he was given a warm welcome by Hereford United supporters. He was also seen to shake hands with Graham Turner.

His two very young children, Chloe and Joshua, were match mascots.

Four Arrests around Edgar Street

Police have reported that there were four arrests close to Edgar Street this afternoon.

The arrests were all for public order offences, and police were said pleased with their operation which involved around 100 officers, some with dogs.

Beaten by a Good Cardiff Side - Turner

Graham Turner spoke to Sky after this afternoon's cup match.

"I thought we were a bit short for most of the game. One or two things needed sorting out at half-time and we conceded the goal almost on half-time which took the wind out of our sails. It was a big blow to us," said the Hereford United manager.

"We've been beaten by a good Cardiff side. They are well organised, they've got a sprinkling of very good players in there.

"The pleasing factor is that at two nil down we gave it a real go and pulled the one back.

"It's important our supporters go away remembering that we had a go, that we put them under a bit of pressure and we did just that in the last twenty minutes.

"Another day from our shooting positions we might have got away with getting a draw out of it but today it wasn't to be."

Cardiff end Bulls cup run

Hereford United were defeated in the battle of the English and Welsh this afternoon, going down 2-1 at Edgar Street. Kevin McNaughton's excellently struck volley minutes before the interval handed the Bluebirds the advantage, before Steve Thompson converted a second half penalty. Theo Robinson's late strike handed United renewed hope, but despite late pressure, Cardiff held on to progress into the fifth round.

Despite the pasting received at Chesterfield on Monday, Graham Turner opted to stick with the same eleven. There was one change to the bench though, with the attacking option of Marcus Palmer preffered to the defensive one of Karl Broadhurst, perhaps due to the slight doubts over both Simon Johnson and Trevor Benjamin. Paul Parry returned to Edgar Street for the first time in four years, playing in the hole behind Thompson, who was preferred to Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink in the lone striking role.

Parry nearly marked his return instantly, as he went close in the first minute. A long-throw in, a notable part of Cardiff's tactics, fell nicely to Parry, but his low left foot shot was tipped around the post by Wayne Brown. Half-chances fell to Hereford attacking duo S. Johnson and Benjamin, but neither could trouble Michael Oakes. Glen Loovens looping header was easily caught by Brown, before Andy D'Urso dished out a yellow card for Parry, following a late challenge of Trent McClenahan. The card didn't affect Parry, as he continued to probe in the attacking third; former Aston Villa winger Peter Whittingham's fine pass found Parry on the right wing, and the Welsh international cut in before curling narrowly past the far post. Minutes later, Whittingham again created, this time for McNaughton but the forward run by the full-back ended in a cross/shot hitting the side netting.

The visitors looked comfortable in possession, and decent in attack, with Parry usually the main man. However, Hereford's Dean Beckwith was playing really well at the back, and he blocked a powerful Parry effort. United's best chance of the first half came courtesy of an incisive turn and shot by Robinson. The low effort troubled Oakes, with the 'keeper taking no risks by pushing it around the post. Benjamin's weak toe-poke inside the six-yard box went wide, whilst at the other end, Parry again troubled, with this time only a fine block tackle by Richard Rose denying him a shooting opportunity.

A quick throw-in by McClenahan allowed Robinson to cut inside past another former Bull, Tony Capaldi, but the on loan Watford strike drilled a shot over the crossbar from a tight angle. As half-time beckoned, and four minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official, McNaughton struck the opener. Once again, a long throw-in ended up in Hereford's box, and after a clearence only ended up 25 yards from goal, McNaughton took his chance by striking first-time with a full volley which gave the motionless Brown no chance, and sent the away following of 1498 into celebration. Now Hereford needed to get back on track, and get into the half-time with the one goal deficit intact, but Thompson had other ideas; he controlled a pass forward before turning and beating Beckwith, but his shot went across the face of goal and past the post.

Hereford made a better start to the second half with more attacking intent. Kris Taylor's free-kick beat the first man (Unlike Monday evening when set-pieces were very poor) and Lee Collins nodded goalwards but Oakes held on. Joe Ledley nearly doubled the advantage for Cardiff, after McClenahan mis-judged a long ball and a neat through ball found Ledley on the left-hand side of the box. A shot from Ledley took a slight deflection before hitting the outside of the post and going out for a corner. The resulting corner was taken by Ledley, and Roger Johnson's bullet header ended up inches past the post. A low shot from Thompson was held as Cardiff continued to threaten whilst Robinson's low shot as easily held by Oakes, after he had linked up with S. Johnson on the right hand-side.

Clint Easton came off the bench in a straight stop for Kris Taylor, and the former Gillingham wide man made an instant the wrong end. Goalscorer McNaughton, confident after striking his first goal for Cardiff, raced into the box after playing a one two with Parry, and he was clipped from behind by Easton, and a penalty was awarded. Thompson stepped up and faced Brown, who is yet to save a penalty for his current employers; this time was no different as he dived the opposite way and Thompson was on the scoresheet. Turner took off Benjamin, who looked to have been struggling, and Sam Gwynne came on playing out on the right-wing, with Johnson pushing up front. Stephen McPhail's chipped cross was met by a Parry header, but again Brown denied him by pushing the ball over the bar. Hereford's moment came soon after, and it was Robinson who provided it. Ben Smith found space 35 yards out, and played a through ball towards Gwynne and Robinson. Gwynne dummied and Capaldi missed it, and it left Robinson running into the box before firing across Oakes and into the far corner.

The goal gave United late encouragement, although Cardiff nearly struck back immediaetly when Ledley's cross/shot looped on to the bar after Brown had lost its flight. Hasselbaink was introduced late on for Thompson, but Beckwith kept him quiet, with the Dutchman looking a shadow of his former self. The Bulls then pressed late on in search of an equaliser, with Johnson's 20 yard volley going harmlessly wide. Good chances fell Hereford's way, with the first falling to Toumani Diagouraga, after Easton's cross hadn't been dealt with. The Frenchman struck a clean drive goalwards but Oakes parried, before the Cardiff defence cleared. Soon after, McClenahan's forward burst saw him play a ball towards the box which somehow made its way through a crowd of players to Robinson, but the goalscorer seemed surprised he had the ball as he struck straight at Oakes. The final good opportunity fell to Johnson, after a good lay-off by Diagouraga but the former Darlington attacker's well struck shot was again held by Oakes. In stoppage time, Smith tried to replicate his previous round strike at Tranmere, when the ball fell nicely for a volley but it was wild, and with that shot went Hereford's FA Cup run. Cardiff weathered the late storm, and Andy D'Urso's final whistle was greeted by grand applause from both sets of supporters.

With the cup run now over, Hereford can concentrate fully on the league and their aspirations for promotion. Cardiff came to Edgar Street as favourites, and did just about enough to progress although Hereford can be pleased with their performance in front of 6855. In particular, Beckwith looked good at the back whilst Smith played his heart out in the middle of the park, much like in previous rounds. The money earned from the cup run can now be put back into the playing side, with new faces expected in the coming days. The Bulls don't have to wait long to return to Edgar Street, with Barnet visiting on Wednesday evening. The Hertfordshire based side are currently mid-table in League Two, and like United, were knocked out of the FA Cup this weekend.

Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Collins, Beckwith, Rose, Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith, Taylor, Benjamin, Robinson.

Subs: Ingham, McCombe, Gwynne, Easton, Palmer.

Cardiff: Oakes, McNaughton, Johnson, Loovens, Capaldi, Whittingham, Rae, McPhail, Ledley, Parry, Thompson.

Subs: Enckleman, Purse, Ramsey, Blake, Hasselbaink.

Robinson likely to miss Dagenham Match

Theo Robinson received his fifth yellow card of the season, according to our stats, and will miss the home game against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday February 9th.

His booking this afternoon, right at the end of the game, was deemed to be for unsporting behaviour. He appeared to be a little late with a tackle.

With both Trevor Benjamin and Steve Guinan unfit, Graham Turner may well look to bring in another striker to Edgar Street before the transfer deadline closes this coming week.

Benjamin did start today's game but didn't appear to be 100% fit. Steve Guinan is back in training but could be two weeks away from getting back in the squad. Happily despite reports carried by several sites that he was unfit, Simon Johnson played the full ninety minutes.

Bulls go out of Cup

Cardiff City defeated Hereford United 2-1 in the fourth round FA Cup game at Edgar Street this afternoon, but the Bulls gave a good account of themselves particularily towards the end of the game.

Theo Robinson scored the Bulls goal with around 15 minutes to go after Cardiff had gone two ahead. Full report to follow.

The gate was 6855 with 1498 from Cardiff. No serious trouble was reported inside the ground.

Perhaps surprisingly the BBC stats for the game suggested that Hereford had 55% of possession and Cardiff 45%. However stats on Setanta put possession as 50.7% for the Bulls and 49.3% for the Bluebirds which would appear to be more realistic.

Both sides had seven shots on target. But Cardiff had eight corners against just three for Hereford. And Hereford, mainly Robinson, were caught offside eight times.

Just two bookings in the game. Paul Parry of Cardiff and Theo Robinson of Hereford were yellow carded.

One match sponsor put Dean Beckwith as their Hereford man of the match, the other sponsor gave it to Theo Robinson.

However Beckwith was awarded an eight for his performance. Brown, Collins, Smith and Rose received a seven each for their hard work. The remainder of the team were given sixes apart from Kris Taylor and substitute Clint Easton who had a five each.

Kevin McNaughton was Cardiff's top player with an eight. Amidst several with a seven was former Bull Paul Parry.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hereford can make History Today

Hereford United can make history today if they overcome Cardiff City in the fourth round FA Cup game at Edgar Street, kick-off 12.30pm.

The Bulls have never reached the fifth round but that is within their grasp this afternoon.

Tickets for the game sold out quickly and so Edgar Street should be packed out. And with just over 1,400 Cardiff City supporters expected to attend, there should be a great atmosphere.

The advice is to get to the ground in reasonable time. The car parks will be busy but as the game is on a Sunday there should be plenty of room. Even if the Merton Meadow car park is full there is the multi-story and other parks close by.

Many Cardiff City supporters are travelling by coach. They will be parked opposite the ground in the livestock market. The coaches will be given a police escort into and out of Hereford.

Hereford United supporters are reminded that the club shop will be open by 10am and the turnstiles, according to the club, will be open from 10.30am. Also please note that only supporters with a membership ticket will be allowed into Legends at half-time.

Meanwhile Cardiff City manager Dave Jones has summed up this cup-tie.

"Hereford have done brilliantly and Graham Turner has done a magnificent job being manager, chairman, owner.

"Whatever Graham will be telling his team, I’ll be telling mine. We’re in different leagues but we’re both after the same thing.

"It's a good tie for Hereford, it's a good tie for us. It gives us a chance, like it does Hereford, to go through to the next stage."

Finally for those unable to see the game in person, BBC Hereford and Worcester will have full coverage from Edgar Street both locally and on the internet for UK listeners. The build-up will begin in the Malcolm Boyden show and a Sports Special will start at 12noon with Trevor Owens, Keith Hall and Ricky George.