Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bulls Share Spoils

Hereford remain at the foot of the table after this afternoon’s draw with Accrington Stanley, but Jamie Pitman remains undefeated as manager. The Bulls missed the trickery of Guillem Bauza, apparently suffering from a groin strain, although some pundits suggested he was forced to enact the reincarnation of Billy the Bull. Some spice is always provided in this fixture by Stanley boss John Coleman, making a dubious pre-match claim that he had a good rapport with Bulls fans, and opting to occupy the technical area today in a bright red trackie rather than his usual used Hyundai dealer’s suit.

In the early exchanges, the home side forced two corners, both of which were whipped across menacingly by Jimmy McQuilkin, able to start despite a midweek flu scare. Mathieu Manset combined well with Kenny Lunt and Joe Colbeck but could not control his shot. Luke Joyce fired over when well placed for the visitors before Manset battled well to win possession, play a one-two with Lunt, but once again his first touch denied a good chance.

Defending with comfort, it came as a shock when, after 25 minutes, Hereford went behind. It looked an innocuous move, but the back line got pulled across to the left. Spotting this, a delightful backheel from Tom Smyth fell perfectly for an unmarked Jimmy Ryan to slot home.

Manset’s trademark bustling run, complete this time with a blatant (unnoticed) handball, saw him forge a path into the box, but his shot was straight at Alex Cisak in the Stanley goal. McQuilkin shaved a post with a free kick, and Dominik Werling’s effort took a wicked deflection before being scrambled to safety as the home side searched for a leveller. Lunt’s threaded pass asked a lot of Joe Colbeck, but at lightning pace he almost managed to flick the ball past Cisak. Half time arrived with the Bulls down but not out.


McQuilkin crashed a splendid effort against the woodwork, as the Bulls rather disjointed efforts failed to trouble the visitors’ goal. Then a through ball found Manset, he lifted the ball over the keeper, and just as home fans feared impending disaster, the Frenchman rolled the ball home for a deserved equaliser with the stadium clock showing 54 minutes played.

Pictures by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal

To Stanley’s credit, they did not retreat into their shells, taking the game to Hereford in an attempt to regain the lead. The game became more open, but lacked fluency, and some frustration was caused by referee Mr Tanner’s habit of allowing much physicality at times, but then awarding free kicks for lesser offences. He did, however, try to play the advantage rule, but the game stubbornly refused to flow. Adam Bartlett deserves several mentions in dispatches for keeping his side on level terms. Splendid saves from Charlie Bennett and a Terry Gornell piledriver in particular caught the eye. The lively Ryan was also denied, before he put the ball on a plate for Leam Richardson who fired wide. At the other end a Werling corner was palmed to safety with some difficulty, and McQuilkin intercepted a clearance and chipped an effort narrowly too high.

Pitman introduced Stuart Fleetwood in an attempt to repeat last week’s heroics, and he buzzed purposefully about. A Ryan Valentine cross destined for Manset was tickled away from the striker’s right boot, and Fleetwood was then denied by a last ditch tackle by Dean Winnard. Meanwhile, a terrific double save by Bartlett prevented Accy from regaining the lead. Sean Canham returned from suspension and seemed intent on making an impression with a lively cameo. He helped to create a couple of chances with Fleetwood, but it would not fall ideally for Lunt. The boy from Newent then attempted a shot from an acute angle which was well saved, before Bartlett made another fine point blank stop.

Deep into stoppage time, Fleetwood played a pass back to Valentine, who crossed to Canham. The striker seemed to be hauled down in the box, but the penalty kick was not awarded. A slight hiccough on the road to recovery, maybe, but onwards, and (hopefully) upwards. Meanwhile, Accrington still seek their first Edgar Street victory.


Attendance: 2434 (including 74 Ultras.)

Bartlett, Green, Towsend, James, Valentine, Rose, Werling (Fleetwood 72), McQuilkin, Lunt, Colbeck, Manset, (Canham 80).

Cisak, Winnard, Hessey, Bennett, Edwards, Richardson (McConville 78), Smyth, Ryan (Turner81), Joyce, Parkinson, Gornall.