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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Horror film for Daggers

Garry Hill, the Dagenham manager, made his team sit through a video of the 9-0 defeat by Hereford United yesterday morning according to the Sunday Times.

Hill was said to be incensed after his team's very public humiliation by the Bulls in a live, televised game.

It was Hill's 200th game in charge at Dagenham but he won't want to be reminded of the match as the scoreline became a Conference record, matching the Sutton United win over Gateshead in 1990.


Saturday, February 28, 2004

Chester stay eight points ahead

Chester defeated Woking by 2-1 to stay eight points ahead of Hereford at the top of the Conference this evening. Chester came from behind with two late goals.

Barnet have kept in touch with the leaders of the Conference with a 1-0 win at home against Tamworth this afternoon.

But the result of the day so far must be the 6-0 defeat of promotion challengers Morecambe by Gravesend.

In the trophy match Shrewsbury drew with Telford. It is thought that the replay will be at Telford on March 16th. This will mean postponements of Telford home game with Chester and Shrewsbury's away game at Barnet, putting pressure on several of Hereford's rivals to play extra games in the run up to the end of the season.

Hereford United's game at the Buck's Head will go ahead on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Hereford United supporter Dazzo Williams successfully defended his British Feathership Title tonight against former champion Jamie McKeever in Bridgend tonight.

Williams recently brought his title belt to Edgar Street.


A tremendous night for us

"We didn't do very much wrong and in fact they made one or two very good saves to keep the scoreline down," said Graham Turner on BBC Radio Five Live this afternoon.

"It's an occasion you don't want to rub it in, you don't gloat on these occasions. It was an extraordinary night for us, for the club itself. I think the last time the club scored nine was in 1934.

"So it was a tremendous night for us and it was against a side I have a lot of respect for. They are a side that has had two excellent seasons in the Conference and there were still thoughts that they might make the play-offs. So that just added to the achievement."

Asked what Garry Hill had said after the game Turner replied: "I don't think he had a lot to say. We just shook hands down the track. I think he was more intent on getting his players in the dressing-room."

Talking about the strength of the Conference, Turner said: "I think it is a very strong league. There are a lot of full-time clubs and it's getting stronger. You only have to look at Yeovil and Doncaster, how well they are doing. It's a tough league to get out of."

Turner was then asked how was he going to celebrate the result? He said the football doesn't stop. "I'm off to watch Shrewsbury and Telford! We play Telford on Tuesday night so it's a matter of just running the ruler over them and making sure we know all about them.

"I'm hoping it will be a real bruising battle that will take a lot out of the Telford players."


Turner hails his heroes

Hereford United boss Graham Turner last night hailed his heroes after an astonishing 9-0 win at Dagenham reports the Western Daily Press.

Turner said: "I'm sure one or two people will look at that result and it will open a few eyes. We have graced the Conference this season with some quality football. We are perhaps not the most physical of sides which is our undoing at times but the players have shown a lot of skill.

"We have a game based on pace and mobility, we passed the ball very well and made the most of the extra man."

Hereford were backed by an enthusiastic band of travelling fans including several dressed as Mexicans in sombreros. Sky TV had several close-ups of the group.

Turner said: "The fans could have stayed at home and watched the match on TV but we have a good away following and they have enjoyed their evening."


Suspensions situation eases

Under Conference rules any player who picks up a fifth yellow card after the end of February is not suspended for a game.

But if a player gets to ten yellows, he will still have to miss two games.

Last night Tamika Mkandawire was the only Hereford player to receive a yellow card and luckily he has not reached five so will not be suspended contary to what was said on Sky.

Both Tony James and Ryan Green were on four yellows before the game so they can now put the possibility of suspension for a game to the back of their minds.

At present the only Bulls player who will need to be extra careful is Michael Rose who is on nine yellows. On the injury front, Ryan Green appeared to come through the game with little or no reaction to his recent hip injury. Danny Williams received a knock when he scored his second goal but played on.

New signing Simon Travis missed the game after having four stitches in a wound following the Woking game. He will be a doubt for the Telford match on Tuesday.


Everyone was flying forward

"I don't think I've ever played in a game like that!"

Hereford United attacker Steve Guinan was astounded by Hereford's 9-0 win at Dagenham last night.

Interviewed on BBC Hereford and Worcester, he continued: "For any team to score nine goals at any standard is a good display but at a decent standard like this is something else. Credit has got to go to our team.

"When we come away from home we get a little bit more freedom. We've come here and they have to be the attacking team and we get a liitle bit more space. I do think the sending off changed the game tonight early on. It's hard to get your head around it really, they just kept attacking and leaving space for us to go forward.

"We had quite a few chances and you've got to put them away and we scored nine goals, so it's a brilliant feeling for us. In short spells Dagenham played some decent stuff, but whenever we had the ball we seemed to find an extra gear from nowhere. Everyone was flying forward.

"If anything I think I should have had another one; it's going to be a great journey home"


Friday, February 27, 2004

Magic

Dagenham & Redbridge were beaten 9-0 by Hereford United at Victoria Road this evening.
Magic
Dagenham & Redbridge 0 - 9 Hereford United

Hereford United equaled a Conference record this evening as they thrashed Dagenham & Redbridge 9-0 at Victoria Road in front of Sky TV cameras and a crowd of 1617. The record was previously held by Sutton United, who beat Gateshead 9-0 in 1991. This result will act a reminder to Chester City that the Bulls have certainly not given up hope of bringing the title to Edgar Street.

It was, however, the Daggers who started the better of the two sides. Dagenham played some nice passing football in the opening quarter of an hour and produced many difficult crosses from both flanks, one hitting the cross bar and another needing the finger tips of Hereford 'keeper Matt Baker to divert the ball away from goal.

United's first goal was scored against the run of play following a good passing move. Ryan Green played a neat one-two with Rob Purdie and then beat Danny Shipp to the ball who tripped the wing-back in the area. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, and showing Shipp a red card for a professional foul. Tony James hammered the ball home low to the right of the goal for his 6th goal of the season, all of which have been from the penalty spot.

The red card was a turning point in the game and from then on Hereford were rarely troubled by Gary Hills' play-off chasing team. United had chances for a second through David Brown and Steve Guinan and finally doubled their advantage in the thirty-eighth minute. Brown was played in behind the defence by Guinan then turned his marker and fired a left footed shot into the bottom corner at Tony Robert's near post.

Baker was called into action late on in the first half when a free-kick was layed on to Danny Hill whose first time shot was saved well by Baker, who tipped it round the post. Hereford broke down the other end with pace and won a throw in on the left wing which Green took. Rose played the ball to Simon Willis, who found Green once again. His tidy chip found Brown on the left of the box who drove a powerful cross to Guinan who capped a brilliant Hereford move and made it 3-0 at the break.

United took just two minutes to open up their second half account when Rose crossed a free-kick for Guinan to tap in from close range. After the fourth Hereford took their foot off the pedal and slowed their game down allowing Dagenham to have a period attacking the Hereford goal but didn't look like scoring. The closest anyone came to beating Baker was Jimmy Jackson, who headed just over the bar.

Hereford scored five goals in the last twenty minutes as Dagenham began to tire. Each time Hereford attacked it looked like they were going to score. In the sixty-nineth minute Baker began a counter attack as he released the ball down the left to Rose. Rob Purdie and Brown found themselves with just one defender to beat, so Purdie squared the ball to Brown who beat the advancing 'keeper only to see his shot headed off the line by a covering defender. The resulting corner, well taken by Rose, was headed in at the near post by Brown.

Danny Williams, left out of the starting eleven to make way for new signing Simon Willis, took just three minutes to find the net after being subbed on for Willis. His effort from twenty yards hit the inside of the post and then found the back of the net for United's sixth. Guinan was also replaced by Marc Beesley and Jamie Pitman made way for Dean Craven as Graham Turner looked to rest key players for Tuesday nights trip to Telford.

Beesley scored his first for the club following his transfer from Chester. He met a Rose corner from the right with a half volley at the far post for Hereford's seventh. Two minutes later Green played Williams one-on-one with Roberts and he netted his second. In the eighty-nineth minute man of the match Brown completed the rout and his hatrick when one-on-one with the 'keeper. This was United's eightieth Conference goal this season.

This was an excellent performance by the Bulls which will give them great confidence in going to Telford on Tuesday.

Written by Brian Goodwin - 27th February 2004.
Dagenham & Redbridge Hereford United
Tony Roberts Matt Baker
Tim Cole (captain) Ryan Green
Ashley Vickers Michael Rose
Mark Janney (off, 19 minutes) Tamika Mkandawire
Danny Shipp Andy Tretton
Paul Bruce Tony James (captain)
Danny Hill (off, 54 minutes) Scott Willis (off, 73 minutes)
Jimmy Jackson David Brown
Kirk Jackson Jamie Pitman (off, 81 minutes)
Tarkan Mustafa Steve Guinan (off, 76 minutes)
Chris Moore Rob Purdie
Subs Subs
Abiodun Baruwa Ben Scott
Chris Piper (on, 19 minutes) Danny Williams (on, 73 minutes)
Lenny Piper (on, 54 minutes) Mark Beesley (on, 76 minutes)
Leon Braithwaite Richard Teesdale
Alan Kimble Dean Craven (on, 81 minutes)
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Ashley Vickers (foul, 47 minutes) Tamika Mkandawire (foul, 28 minutes)
Tim Cole (foul, 59 minutes) -
Paul Bruce (foul, 62 minutes) -
Red cards Red cards
Danny Shipp (professional foul, 14 minutes) -
Scorers Scorers
- Tony James (penalty, 14 minutes)
- David Brown (37, 71, 89 minutes)
- Steve Guinan (45, 48 minutes)
- Danny Williams (76, 88 minutes)
- Mark Beesley (85 minutes)
- -
Man of the Match David Brown
Attendance 1,617
Referee Mr. G. Lewis (Cambridge)


Brown made Man of the Match

David Brown was made Man of the Match for his hatrick against Dagenham.

Interviewed on Sky, a very happy Brown said: "As a team I think we all played well and it was great to score nine goals and for me personally to get a hatrick. As a striker getting goals is the most important thing for you. It's brilliant for me and Steve.

"I think the sending off did effect the game but we been (scoring goals) that all season. I think we've scored seven, five and four away from home. Hopefully we can do it again on Tuesday night."

Tony James was also interviewed and added: "The early sending-off set the pattern for the rest of the game. But to be fair we attacked really well and put them under loads of pressure and managed to get a lot of goals."

James was asked if this result sends a message out to Chester replied: "I suppose it does. We have come here and played well after a poor home game beforehand. It's just exactly what the team needed.

"It's a big boost to go to Telford on Tuesday."


We have got to close that gap

"We have got to close that gap," says Graham Turner speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester before leaving for tonight's game at Dagenham.

"I've heard discussions about Arsenal being seven points clear in the Premiership and yet the experts are saying it is far from over yet. Look how they slipped up last season.

"Chester will not be thinking by any stretch of the imagination that the title is won. we have got to close that gap before the last match of the season and hope that something is at stake on the final day."


Tonight's game is on

Tonight's game at Dagenham is definitely on.

HU-FC.co.uk have been told by Dagenham and Redbridge this morning that the pitch is in good condition and that there are no plans for any inspection.

And as at early afternoon, the forecast for London suggests no more than a light flurry of snow tending to die out and the wind easing.

Meanwhile Bulls captain Tony James has been telling the Evening News of his hopes for victory this evening.

"Dagenham is a tough place to go but we've got two away games on the bounce and I think the way things are going nothing less than two wins is what we need," he said. "We've 11 games to go and basically we've got to try and win every one.

"They have changed their style a little bit since last year. Where they used to pass it a lot more, they are now more workmanlike. But they spoilt the game for us at our place, making it difficult for us to play and we're expecting a similar thing tonight."

"Against Woking we had most of the possession, created chances, may be not clear-cut chances, but decent chances and they had one shot and that was it," said James. "Things are not quite going our way at present but there's no better way of getting back to winning ways than doing it on television."

Graham Turner is hoping that his team will bounce back tonight and close the gap on Chester. "Chester have the cushion of a very good lead at the top, but they won't be thinking that the title race is over yet and neither will we," said Turner, as reported in the Western Daily Press.

"It's going to be a tight run-in, with lots of fixtures involving our promotion rivals playing each other."


Another memory of the Gentle Giant

There is another memory of John Charles at Hereford in today's Daily Telegraph written by Martin Smith.

Ricky George paid fulsome tribute to John Charles, his manager at Hereford, in this newspaper earlier in the week. He tells another story that emphasises why Charles deserved the sobriquet Il buon gigante, and why the Gentle Giant would never make a manager.

In the first season of the FA Trophy, back in 1971, Hereford reached the semi-finals and played Hillingdon at neutral Filbert Street. If they won they would play in the final at Wembley, and as Charles was coming to the end of his playing career it would be his last chance to play in front of the Twin Towers. They lost 2-1.

"Towards the end," George recalls, "I missed a really easy chance and trudged off feeling really miserable. I knew his dream was over. I went up to him and said, 'I'm sorry, John' (it was always John, never boss).

'What are you sorry about?' he asked. 'I've seen Cervato [an Italian international of the Fifties] miss better chances than that'. He could have said anything or nothing, but there were no recriminations. He was a kind man, so famous yet so unassuming."


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Late check on Purdie

There is to be a late check on Rob Purdie before the Bulls set off for Dagenham tomorrow.

Purdie is said to have been suffering with a throat infection.


United gear up for Daggers trip

Hereford United have doubts over the fitness of two of their first-team players as they go to Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow night for a live SKY TV match, kick off 7.45pm.

Defender Ryan Green has missed the last two matches with a hip injury, but that problem has eased and he could return to the team, while new signing Simon Travis, who made his debut in last weekend's 1-0 defeat against Woking, has a gashed ankle.

Graham Turner, therefore, could switch things around again. The signing of Scott Willis could see him slot into midfield, with Jamie Pitman set to fill-in at right-back or right wing-back, depending on the formation chosen and assuming both Travis and Green miss out.

This is, once again, a must-win match for Hereford. They need to keep in touch at the top, and make sure that they maintain a strong foothold in the play-off zone.

For Dagenham, who lost 2-1 at Chester City last week, this is a chance to make their own play-off push. Hereford were held by the Daggers at Edgar Street back in October, as the game finished 1-1, but Garry Hill's men know a win could spur a revival for their season. They currently lie in eleventh place.

Dagenham have no new injury worries for the match, although Lee Goodwin is out. Striker Kirk Jackson is set to play his last match for the club has he is likely to return to Yeovil Town, but there is good news at Chris Piper returns after suspension.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Coverage of Dagenham game

BBC Hereford & Worcester have confirmed this evening that there will be internet coverage of this Friday's game at Dagenham.

There will also be a sports special from 7pm on Friday evening which will cover the Hereford match, as well as a game featuring Kidderminster who are away at Doncaster.

Nicola Goodwin will present the programme, with Terry Goodwin providing commentary and updates from Victoria Road. BBC Hereford & Worcester broadcast on 104, 104.6 and 94.7 FM, as well as 738 and 1584 AM, and the internet commentary will be streamed through their website at bbc.co.uk/hereford.


Shrewsbury facing fixture log-jam

Shrewsbury Town have fixture congestion. Although they played a Conference game last night, they will miss out this weekend because of FA Trophy action with Telford. And if they win the tie it will mean another weekend without a Conference game which happens to be the Hereford clash at Edgar Street.

Should the Hereford game be postponed it might have to be played on either Tuesday March 30th or the last Tuesday of the season, April 20th.

It is thought that they may have to play as many as three Conference games in a week to catch up, putting strain on their squad.

Telford are in a similar position. They only have the last Tuesday of the season available should a fixture need to be rearranged.

Meanwhile, the Shrews have reported a profit of nearly £275,000 for the year ending May 31st 2003. Although they were relegated to the Conference at the end of the season, they had a superb FA Cup run which brought extra income into the club.

The chairman has said that the club is in a stable financial position.


Turner confirms signing

Graham Turner has confirmed the signing of Lincoln midfielder Scott Willis on a month's loan.

Willis has been brought in as a replacement for the injuried Ben Smith.

"He's got good techique, good passing and can be a little bit aggressive in there. He wants to win, a good competitor. So he'll augment our midfield, especially with losing Ben Smith," said Turner on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"I think we've needed somebody else to come in there and Scott fits the bill."

Willis is expected to go straight into the squad for Friday's match at Dagenham. Born in 1982, he started his career as a trainee at Wigan. Willis has also had spells at Mansfield, Carlisle, Doncaster, Northwich, Bamber Bridge, and Droysden before moving to Lincoln in July 2002.

Born in Liverpool, Willis is 5ft 9in and 11 stone in weight. He is described as an attacking midfielder and the official Lincoln website has called him "a joker in the pack".

He is currently in a second one year contract at Lincoln but has struggled to get into the first team recently. It appears that Willis asked to go from Lincoln. Their manager, Keith Alexander has been quoted as saying: "Scott wanted to go and we are happy to let him do so."

Willis appears to have had problems at Lincoln both on and off the field. He has collected a few cards and once went "awol" for a spell last December. It has been suggested that his contract would not be renewed at the end of this season.


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Shrews and Shots close gap on Bulls

Shrewsbury Town closed the gap between themselves and Hereford United when they defeated Burton Albion by the only goal of the game this evening at the Gay Meadow.

And Aldershot defeated Halifax 2-1 after the home team were reduced to ten men close to the end of that game.

Tonight's results mean the Conference table is as follows: Chester P 31 Pts 66; Hereford P 31 Pts 58; Aldershot P 31 Pts 58; Barnet P 30 Pts 55; Shrewsbury P 29 Pts 54.


Turner may have midfielder on trial

A posting on the HU-FC.co.uk forum is suggesting that Hereford United may have a new player, a midfielder, on trial.

Frenchman Bertrand Cozic is said to be into a two-week spell at Edgar Street. Twenty-five years of age, Cozic played for Bihoral in France before moving to Bath University and featured in their FA Cup run last season.

He was spotted by Cheltenham manager Bobby Gould and given a contract in August 2003. However, he was released last month after seven league matches, one goal but no appearances since September after picking up a calf injury just before John Ward was appointed as manager. He has since had a trial with Notts County.

There is no confirmation of this story from Hereford United.


Four Nations Tournament dates set

The dates for this season's Four Nations Tournament, to be held in the North-East of Scotland, have been decided.

Hereford could have Matt Baker, Michael Rose and Rob Purdie in the England squad, while Tony James is expected to play in the Welsh side.

The game schedule is as follows :
18th May (7.45pm) - Scotland v Wales (Kynoch Park, Keith) and Ireland v England (Princess Royal Park, Banff)
20th May (7.45pm) - Scotland v Ireland (Bellslea Park, Fraserburgh) and England v Wales (Kynoch Park, Keith)
23rd May - Wales v Ireland (Harlaw Park, Inverurie - 1.30pm) and Scotland v England (Princess Royal Park, Banff - 3.30pm)

The admission prices have been set at £5 for adults and £2 for children/concessions while entry to the stand will be a further £2.

England currently hold the title after Wales won the first tournament, held in Boston and Kettering, in 2002.


Travis may miss Daggers game

Simon Travis had four stitches inserted in a leg wound after last Saturday's game against Woking, and thought to be a doubt for next Friday's televised match at Dagenham.

Travis had an impressive start for the Bulls and was awarded the "Man of the Match" by the sponsors of the game, reports the Western Daily Press.

The former Forest Green Rovers midfielder made his debut for Hereford after last week's move from Stevenage Borough.


John Charles by Ricky George

We print this article from today's Daily Telegraph - Charles was held in awe at Hereford - By Ricky George

"Don't call me boss," Hereford United player-manager John Charles told me when I signed from Barnet in February 1971. "I'm John, or Charlo."

I was in a dream and played like it in my early games for Hereford. A recurring ankle injury was proving troublesome, but I was desperate to stay in the team. The legendary Welshman was still playing at 38, and his mere presence on the pitch was worth a goal to us.

Observing this colossus at close quarters I understood where the tag 'Gentle Giant' came from. A scrupulously fair competitor, he detested dirty play and his anger only surfaced if he sensed injustice. Before a home game with Yeovil he called me into his office and told me he thought my ankle was bothering me and that he was leaving me out.

I begged him to let me play and in the end, with a broad smile, he relented. I had a terrible first half, missing two easy chances and as we came in at half-time a Hereford director verbally abused me from his seat. Charles rushed up into the stand, grabbed the man by his tie and warned him never to address one of his players in that manner ever again. I scored in the second half in a 3-0 victory.

John was a simple man, and by that I mean no disrespect. As a player he went out and performed by instinct. As a manager, without ever belittling anyone, he expected the same. "Where do you want me to play John?" asked Ronnie Radford on his debut. Charles looked at him in amazement. "You're a midfield player, aren't you?" "Yes," said Radford. "Well, play midfield then."

I don't think he realised just how famous he was, however there was one occasion when, along with Billy Meadows, Hereford's great goalscorer during the glory years of the early Seventies, I accompanied Charles to a midweek FA Cup tie at Arsenal. After the game we were invited into the Highbury boardroom where John introduced us to the late Joe Mercer, another football icon. Upon shaking hands with the former Arsenal captain, Meadows said: "It's an honour, now I can tell my grandchildren."

"You think meeting me is an honour?" said Mercer. "This man is the greatest player that ever lived."

"He knows that," grinned Charles. "He's just being polite."

For a footballer like me, John Charles took the mystery out of management. To be so famous yet so unassuming was his strength, although he did have a reputation for being a bit slow to the bar. However, as Meadows reminded me: "When he was in Italy he only had to raise his eyebrows and there was a gin and tonic by his side in seconds."

Charles left Hereford before the great cup run of 1972, but to the delight of everyone appeared in the dressing room after our historic win over Newcastle United. The following Wednesday we played West Ham United in the fourth round. As Meadows and I arrived at Edgar Street for the game there was Charlo, camelhair coat, steely grey hair, permanent suntan and wearing that broad grin. He was resting against the bonnet of his car and showed us an envelope. It read: Mr John Charles, two tickets, £2 to pay. "I wouldn't mind," he said as we stared at him in disbelief, "but I've only got 30 bob on me."

I knew that he had been suffering with Alzheimer's and two years ago I telephoned his home near Leeds to invite him to a function in London.

His wife Glenda called out to him: "John, its one of your ex-players, Ricky someone." "George," I heard the familiar voice say. As I took the phone I could barely speak. Once again the great man had made me feel 10 ft tall.

Rest in peace, Gentle Giant.


Monday, February 23, 2004

Marketing man appointed at Shrewsbury

A marketing manager has been appointed at Shrewsbury reports the Shropshire Star.

The role of marketing manager is a new position created by the club. His role will involve him being responsible for generating additional revenue for Shrewsbury Town through non football activities and trying to attract bigger crowds to home matches.

Whilst Hereford United's budget probably could not stretch to a full-time appointment, the case could be made for someone to join the club to do the same sort of job.

There is little doubt that Hereford United often fails to sell itself. A look around the Edgar Street ground at advertising boards that have been there for years tells a story.

The stewards still sometimes wear McDonalds dirty yellow jackets. It would be interesting to know if Big Mac stills puts any money into the club. If not, surely a local company could be found who would pay to have their name on the stewards backs. Is the family stand still known as the McDonalds stand because McDonalds support it? Again if not, why not look for someone else?

Rightly or wrongly just about everything in sport is sponsored in some way or other. At Hereford the manager, coach and virtually all the players are supported by either companies, or supporters. The income from this comes to over £4,000 per season.

There will be other examples of what can be supported but it takes time and effort to set these deals up. But this could be just a part of the tasks given to a marketing man or woman.

Another area which seems neglected at present is the Junior Bulls. Again couldn't help be found from the community to revitalise this important part of the club?

The selling of the club to potential sponsors is very important. A part-time appointment of someone with the time and expertise to get results could be worthwhile. For once, perhaps Hereford should follow Shrewsbury's example.


Rivals can make up ground

Two of Hereford United's rivals can make up ground on the Bulls tomorrow evening.

There are only two Conference games but they involve Aldershot and Shrewsbury who currently lie fourth and fifth in the table.

Aldershot probably have the harder task with a visit to Halifax, but Shrewsbury should overcome Burton who have only won one of their last six games.

If the Shots win they will move level on points with Hereford. Both teams will have 58 points from 31 outings, but the Bulls have a much better goal-difference.

Shrewsbury will stay in fifth place whatever their result but a win would give them 54 points from only 29 games. However two wins from their two catch-up games would put them in front of the Bulls.


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Calls protest for Gentle Giant's knighthood

Following the passing of John Charles yesterday, calls have been made to knight the former Hereford United player/manager.

Although it is only bravery awards which may normally be given after death, the Queen has in the past knighted a dead sportsman, golfer Henry Cotton, who was honoured in 1988 after he had died, reports icwales.com.

The Cabinet Office, though, replied: "The only honours which can be awarded posthumously are bravery awards. That is the system. We cannot comment on individual cases."

TV presenter and commentator John Helm, who will lead the tributes at the funeral service, said: "He was up there with the very best. It's an outstanding case for a knighthood. The Gentle Giant was never booked and never sent off.

"His transfer fee today would be even more than David Beckham's."

Charles' career took him from Leeds United to Juventus, and he finished at Merthyr Tydfil after a four year spell at Edgar Street.


Saturday, February 21, 2004

Brown disappointed with Woking reversal

David Brown thought that the Bulls shouild have had the game wrapped up before Woking scored.

Speaking on BBC Hereford & Worcester, Brown commented: "I think we created a lot of chances and we should have had the game wrapped up before they scored.

Brown thought that a silly mistake by the Bulls cost them the game. "Their keeper had to make three or four good saves. I don't think Baker had a save to make all game," he said. "We just can't seem to produce the same form at home as away."

Graham Turner said after the game: "It wasn't a sparkling performance but we had the chances to win the match.

"Sometimes it's the manner of conceding a goal that can knock you back and Matt Baker made a mistake. He knows it and we know it."

And Woking manager Glenn Cockerill admitted: "We were a bit fortunate with the goal but it's all about taking chances.

"I thought my players grew up out there and Ashley Bayes produced some great saves."


Beard comes off for Leukaemia Research

Well-known Hereford United fan, David Whittal, is having his beard shaved off this evening in aid of Leukaemia Research.

David, who started supporting the Bulls in 1954, will be at the Three Horseshoes pub in Kingstone, near Hereford, where the sissors and razors will have been sharpened for the removal.

He is planning a number of further events betwen now and the end of July to further the cause.

David would welcome any large or small donations to the fundraising comittee c/o Ivy Villa, Kingstone, Hereford HR2 9HD or telephone 01981250483 and ask for David or Fiona.

HU-FC.co.uk have made a donation to this worthy cause.


Frustration tells on players faces

As the Hereford United players left the pitch, several fans in the Family stand appeared to turn their anger at some of the Hereford squad.

Both Michael Rose and Tony James appeared to respond to the abuse and Rose was clearly seen to give a "V" sign to the fans.

Whatever was said there was surely no need for Rose to reply in the way he did.


Defence lets Bulls down

A bad defensive error let Woking score and win the match at Edgar Street this afternoon by the only goal of the game.

Title hopes slipping away

Hereford United 0 - 1 Woking

It will be extremely difficult for Hereford United to overhaul Chester City at the top of the Nationwide Conference after this disappointing defeat at Edgar Street against Woking.

Graham Turner fielded new signing Simon Travis, and welcomed back Tamika Mkandawire on-loan from West Bromwich Albion, but it was an individual mistake from goalkeeper Matt Baker than cost Hereford the points.

The Bulls failed to capitalise on their overwhelming possession for the first sixty-nine minutes, before Steve Ferguson opened the scoring. A pass-back to Baker was intercepted by Ferguson, outside the six-yard box, and he beat the goalkeeper to tap the ball into the empty net.

Hereford, though, should have opened the scoring within ninety seconds when David Brown played Jamie Pitman through, but his shot was tipped away by Woking goalkeeper Ashley Bayes for a corner. The ex-Torquay United stopper then needed treatment for a head injury, and it was lucky that he didn't need to come off as Woking had no replacement goalkeeper.

David Brown then went narrowly wide with a twenty-five yard drive, while he forced another excellent save after another good effort. At the other end, Raphael Nade headed over when running onto a forward ball, and Matt Baker smothered a loose ball that saw challenges from Ferguson and Chris Giles.

In the last minute of the first half, Rob Purdie should have put Hereford ahead when he connected onto a Michael Rose cross, but the ex-Leicester City trainee hit the ball first time, inches wide.

After the restart, Hereford came out on fire. Michael Rose's free-kick from the edge of the box went just over, Brown shot wide from about twenty yards out, while Rob Purdie struck the post from a similar position. The ball fell loose but Brown, five yards out and with the goalkeeper on the floor, managed to hit the ball over the crossbar. Then Brown tried an overhead kick, but this again failed to find the target by inches.

David Brown and Danny Williams went close again before Ferguson handed Woking the lead, and Hereford's heads immediately dropped. Raphael Nade broke free five minutes after the goal, and struck wide when one-on-one with Baker when he should have extended the advantage.

The last fifteen minutes saw several changes to the personnel, including the removal of Simon Travis with a slight injury. However, it was a day in which, no matter what Hereford did, they didn't have luck on their side and lost out to a single error over ninety minutes.

Written by Terry Goodwin - 21st February 2004
Hereford United Woking
Matt Baker Ashley Bayes
Jamie Pitman Ben Townsend
Michael Rose Neil Smith (captain)
Andy Tretton (off, 77 minutes) Jon Boardman
Tamika Mkandawire Gary MacDonald
Tony James (captain) Scott Canham
Danny Williams (off, 82 minutes) Chris Giles
Simon Travis (off, 89 minutes) Raphael Nade
Steve Guinan Liam Cockerill (off, 90 minutes)
David Brown Steve Ferguson (off, 90 minutes)
Rob Purdie Karl Murray
Subs Subs
Danny Carey-Bertram (on, 82 minutes) Davis Haule (on, 90 minutes)
Ben Scott Amos Foyewa (on, 90 minutes)
Mark Beesley (on, 77 minutes) Joe McNab
Richard Teesdale (on, 89 minutes) Dean Clark
Dean Craven Michael Johnson
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Steve Guinan (dissent, 80 minutes) Liam Cockerill (unsporting behaviour, 45 minutes)
David Brown (unsporting behaviour, 90 minutes) -
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
- Steve Ferguson (69 minutes)
- -
Man of the Match Not awarded
Attendance 2,817
Referee Mr. R. East (Wilton, Wiltshire)
 

King John passes away

Hereford United legend John Charles has passed away.

The seventy-two year-old recently had part of his foot amputated after circulation problems.

Charles, one of the world's greatest footballers, played and managed Hereford between 1966 and 1971, and it is of great credit to him that he would ever consider playing for Hereford, then plying their trade in the Southern League.

Charles' career took him from Leeds United to Juventus, back to Elland Road, to AS Roma, then Cardiff City before joining Hereford. He later had a spell as player/manager of Merthyr Tydfil.

He also led Wales to the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup, and was awarded the CBE in 2001.

Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. A minute's silence will be held at today's match against Woking.


Friday, February 20, 2004

Megson keen to loan youngsters

Gary Megson is keen to loan out youngsters not ready to challenge for a place in the senior squad such as Tamika Mkandawire.

The unofficial West Brom site says that Mkandawire is rated by reserve team viewing regulars as a decent prospect, but along with other younger players at Albion is some way off getting into the first team. Gary Megson has shown that he's a keen loaner of younger players, reckoning that they can learn a lot from playing 'real' football rather than just play reserve team games at Albion. Not only do they get better match fitness, but also learn the sense of responsibly you need to have when results genuinely count for something.

Tam will link up with two other former WBA players at Edgar Street. Tony James and Daniel Carey-Bertram both started at the Hawthorns.


Pitman hopes to haunt Woking

Jamie Pitman is hoping to haunt his former club, Woking, tomorrow and keep the Bulls charging towards the top spot.

Interviewed in today's Non-League Paper, Pitman says that although he enjoyed his days at Woking, the club was part-time.

"I had to work where I lived which was Hereford so when the opportunity came up to join United it was perfect for me. I didn't hestitate."

Pitman says he found having to make a 250 mile trip to Woking to train eventually affected his game.

"At the end of the day, it wasn't fair on me, my family, Woking or the fans so I decided to do what was best for all concerned."

One of Pitman's memories is scoring for the Cards against the Bulls in the FA Cup which the Cards won.

"I hope I can do something similar to level things about a bit tomorrow"

Meanwhile Matt Baker, the Hereford United goalkeeper, hopes the Bulls defence can stop leaking as many goals, now twelve in the last five games.

"We are always confident of scoring with the fire power we have in the squad," said Baker in the Shropshire Star.

"So if we reduce the threat on our own goal in the remaining 12 games then we are going to give ourselves the maximum opportunity to challenge for the title."


Travis set for debut

Simon Travis arrived at Edgar Street this morning to finalise his signing for Hereford United, hopefully in time to join the squad for tomorrow's home game with Woking.

"He's a player that I've known for a long time with Telford and Forest Green. I've always thought he could play the game and when the list came round from Stevenage, I contacted him and we agreed a deal.

"We faced a little competition from other clubs. I think Barnet, Woking, Burton and one or two others were interested," Graham Turner told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

"It makes a change for Hereford to be signing someone because of location. He lives in the West Midlands so he's decided to join us and we're delighted with that.

"I think the boy can play, I think he has a lot of composure. He fits into our pattern of play because he has ability as a full-back to play right or left side and he can play wide.

"He can slot in this week if Ryan Green isn't fit."

Talking about Tamika Mkandawire, Turner continued:" I think he did a good job in the two months he was with us. And he comes for another month.

"Unless we can persuade West Brom to let him stay longer, his loan is purely for the month."

Turner revealed that he would him like to stay at Edgar Street all season but didn't think that would happen.


Turner keen to avoid slip-up

Following some recent poor form at Edgar Street, Hereford United manager Graham Turner is eager to build upon last week's 5-2 win at Gravesend & Northfleet when his side play Woking tomorrow, kick off 3pm.

Speaking to the Evening News, Turner said: "We are finding it harder at home because teams are making it difficult for us to break them down by getting men behind the ball, but this is something we must learn to deal with between now and the end of the season.

"We've shown that we are capable of grinding results out but what we'd like now is to put on a really good performance in front of our own fans. We were desperately disappointed with the outcome of the game against Burton and know we need to make up for that.

"The addition of a couple of new players will hopefully give everyone a boost again and we need to perform at a high level between now and the end of the season if we are to achieve what we all want from this campaign. We have shown that we are capable of matching anyone in this league but we now need to go on another run that proves this on a regular basis.

"Chester are showing no signs of weakening but we need to keep the pressure on them by winning our own matches and this will also keep us ahead of the teams just behind us."

Of Woking, who Hereford beat 1-0 at the Kingfield back in October, Turner added: "We recorded a fine win down there earlier in the season and it will take a performance of a similar standard to pick up three points tomorrow."

Hereford have brought in Tamika Mkandawire ahead of the match, while Simon Travis could follow today. Turner continued: "If we can wrap up the two deals then we will be getting back up to a decent sized squad again, and with a bit of luck we are looking to add one or two more new faces next week.

"I've certainly made enquiries in the hope of making that happen and now is the time we need to add to what we've got, as I don't want to be scrabbling around for players come transfer deadline day in the third week of March.

"We have a position of strength to build upon and that is always a great situation to find yourself in. We're right in there with a shot at promotion back into the Football League and last week's win at Gravesend means that we've hauled ourselves back within range of Chester and that's very important."


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Simon Travis

Simon Travis is a defender who has had spells at Forest Green Rovers, Telford United, Stockport County, Torquay United before joining Stevenage in August 2002.

He was born in March 1977 and came into the limelight when an England schoolboy player and later a Great Britain University captain. After his spell at Telford under Jake King, father of Bulls player Jordan King, Travis moved to Forest Green Rovers in June 2001.

He was free to leave Bucks Head under the Bosman ruling, and going to the Lawn allowed the pacey 24-year-old, who had turned down approaches from Third Division sides Oxford and Luton, to concentrate on the final year of his geography degree at Bristol University, reported the Gloucester Citizen.

But at the time King claimed Preston-born Travis had been playing Telford and Forest Green off against each other and the player is reported to have wanted a 12-month contract that would enable him to return to League football once his course is finished.

"I'm very annoyed that he is turning his back on Telford after the loyalty we've shown him," King said. "Our coaching made him a better player and he blossomed from the time we spent working on his crossing and his defensive awareness.

"I would have no complaints if he signed for Oxford (where Mark Wright was the manager at the time) But we have bent over backwards to keep him and he's been playing the two clubs off against each other. If he doesn't want to play for Telford than I'm glad he's gone. We don't want players here who don't want to play for this club."

Travis stayed at the Lawn for one season. He rejected a new contract and then joined Stevenage, where he made 67 appearances for the club. Earlier this week he told Comet Online that he was sorry to be leaving Stevenage.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my two years there and I would like to say a big thank you to all the fans who supported me during that time," he said. "The phone went crazy on Tuesday and I must have been doing something right at Stevenage!"


Tam's back

West Bromwich Albion Tamika Mkandawire has returned to Edgar Street for a one-month loan-spell.

He played for two months at Hereford back in the autumn, scoring once, and his signing was confirmed by Hereford's Official Website.

However, the signing of Simon Travis has, as yet, not been confirmed. The club say that they are in negotiations with an un-named player, and hope to complete his signing by tomorrow lunchtime.

It appears that Travis might have joined Barnet but failed to turn up for a medical early this afternoon.

Martin Allen, the Barnet manager, said on their website: "The player has decided to join one of our near rivals in the table."

The Stevenage website also suggests that Travis has signed for the Bulls.

"Having been released from his Stevenage Borough contract earlier in the week, highly-rated defender Simon Travis has wasted no time in finding a new club, having signed for promotion chasing Hereford United. The former England Semi-Pro international snubbed offers from Woking and Barnet to join the Bulls, currently placed second in the Nationwide Conference, albeit a fair way off leaders Chester City," it says.


Parry could step into Giggs' place

Paul Parry could step into Ryan Giggs' position in the Welsh squad as Giggs is suspended for the first two internationals in the next World Cup campaign.

The Western Mail reports that Mark Hughes was delighted with Parry's performance, saying: "He is a tough lad, I have seen that. But I wanted to know whether he has the mentality for this higher stage, and he showed he did.

"He surprised me. He is a young man with no real experience in professional football and he showed skill and confidence out there in front of 47,000 people.

"He showed me he could make the step up and I was delighted with him. It's some big jump from the Conference, but he has certainly given me an extra option."


Another reshuffle for Hereford

Woking are the visitors to Edgar Street on Saturday as Hereford United aim to close the gap on league leaders Chester City, kick off 3pm.

Graham Turner's side will be without midfielder Ben Smith, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and United's boss told the Hereford Times: "It looks as if his season is over and we hope that if he does have surgery then he will be cleared to start next season."

His midfield partner Jamie Pitman doesn't need a hernia operation, though, and should play against his former club on Saturday while defender Ryan Green, who has a hip injury, could make the squad. Loan signings Chris Palmer and Anwar Uddin have returned to their respective clubs, and with no new players yet brought in, United will have to reshuffle their pack.

Graham Turner has told the Hereford Times that he wants to bring in Tamika Mkandawire on-loan from West Brom again, and also wants to sign another player before the visit of Woking, which is another crucial game. It is reported that he already closed in on right-footed player Simon Travis.

He said: "This is a chance to further our promotion aspirations and put our poor home performance against Burton behind us. Hopefully, we can show our fans some of the goal-scoring form that we have displayed away from home."

Woking are in good form, having lost just once in their last fourteen matches, but they have drawn six of the last seven. Yeovil's Chris Giles could play on-loan, while Neil Sharp's hamstring injury has eased so he could also feature. Midfielder Ian Selley is likely to miss the rest of the season, while Chris Sharpling needs a cruciate knee operation.


Hereford turn to Travis

Hereford United have reportedly signed right-sided midfieldr Simon Travis after his recent release from Stevenage Borough.

He was also in talks with Barnet and Woking, but has chosen a move to Hereford, reports the Woking News & Mail.

Travis played twenty-one Conference matches for Stevenage this term, scoring once, and his former clubs include Stockport County, Torquay United, Telford United and Forest Green Rovers. The twenty-six year-old is primarily a midfielder, but slots in at right-back too, and was released by Graham Westley after alledgedly refusing to sign an extended contract at Broadhall Way.

Woking boss Glenn Cockerill said: "Simon said he would have loved to come to Woking but as he lives in Birmingham, he’s decided on Hereford because it’s nearer to home for him."


Uddin praises Bulls

Anwar Uddin is out of contract at the end of the season and has said that he is hoping to land a new contract at Bristol Rovers after his two- month loan period at Edgar Street.

He said: "I had a brilliant time at Hereford. I'm glad that I went. I felt that with two months of the season left, I'd had a good spell there and it was time to go back to Rovers.

"My contract is up at the end of the season and I want to give a good account of myself and see what happens," Uddin told Rovers' website.

Uddin thanked Hereford for helping him regain match fitness. He said: "I played ten games for them and thoroughly enjoyed it.

"I didn't know much about the Conference before I went there, but I was impressed and it's a good standard.

"The training was good because Hereford are full-time. It's a good club and I'm glad I went.

"If you haven't played for a long time, which was the situation I was in before I went to Hereford, your confidence suffers and you start to question your ability. But I've gone there, done very well and feel good in myself. I'm a lot fitter now and I've also got my confidence back.

"As the games went on I got stronger and stronger and that's the whole point in me going there."


Tam is Turner's target

Graham Turner is hoping to persuade West Brom's Tamika Mkandawire to return to Edgar Street for a second loan spell.

The Hereford Times has confirmed that Tam is Turner's main target. The defender was in the WBA reserve squad last Monday but did not get a game.

Should a deal be cemented it is expected that Mkandawire will start training with the Bulls tomorrow.

Meanwhile Ryan Green remains a doubt for Saturday's game with Woking although he has returned to training.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Parry shines on Welsh debut

Former Hereford United winger Paul Parry made his Welsh international debut tonight, just six weeks after his last non-league match.

The Cardiff City player scored a last minute winner for Hereford against Stevenage Borough on January 3rd. Tonight, he set-up Gareth Taylor's goal as Wales hammered Scotland 4-0.

Parry came on in the 33rd minute for Simon Davies, who picked up a leg injury, and his first touch was a pass to Ryan Giggs, setting up Rob Earnshaw's second as he notched a hatrick.

Talking after the match to BBC Wales, manager Mark Hughes said: "It was a great introduction. He looked very comfortable out there. I saw him at the weekend and he played very well so I didn't have a problem putting him in tonight. It was a little bit earlier than I thought, but he did very well."

As part of the deal that took Parry to Ninian Park, his international debut means Hereford United will receive an additional payment from Cardiff.


Telford game will go-ahead

Police intervention has changed the date of a possible replay between Shrewsbury and Telford should they draw their FA Trophy game on February 28th.

Originally it was thought any replay would take place on March 2nd but the Shropshire police have said they require ten days notice of any local derby.

This means that Hereford United will visit Telford on March 2nd for their Conference game as originally arranged.


Hughes on Parry's rise

Welsh Manager Mark Hughes has spoken of his surprise at the sudden rise of former Bulls star Paul Parry, who is set to gain his first full International Cap tonight in the friendly against Scotland. Hughes has asked for unlimited substitutions, so this could give Parry a chance of getting onto the pitch.

"The boy probably doesn't know what's happening to him," Hughes told BBC Sport. "It's a very exciting time for him. But he's come into the squad and he looks quite confident. It's important that when you come into an environment like we create here that you're not overawed by it - you've got to enjoy it."

Meanwhile Parry has been watching Ryan Giggs in training with the Welsh squad. "I play in the position Ryan does, so I'm hoping to learn a few things from him," said Parry as reported in the Western Mail. "The Premiership players are a bit sharper than the rest of us and obviously you are going to pick up things from players like Ryan.

"People say the Premier League stars will keep themselves to themselves because they're on big money but I've not found that since joining up with the squad. They are down to earth and they talk to players like myself.

"They've told me that if I get my chance against Scotland then I should just go out and enjoy it. Ryan is a great player and whatever he does you can rest assured that I will be studying him closely. It would be brilliant if I got a chance to play against Scotland but Ryan is still going strong on the left wing. I don't think there's much chance of me taking his shirt!"


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Smith to see specialist

Ben Smith is likely to miss the rest of this season. Graham Turner, speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester, has confirmed that the injury is very serious and is the same as Smith received at the start of last season at Bromsgrove in a friendly.

"He is going to see a specialist. There is a possibility that he will have to have surgery on his shoulder, pinned to stop it popping out in future times," said Turner. "It looks as though his season is over and we have to hope that if he does have surgery then he will be cleared to start next season.

"It is a tremendous blow to us. He's had a good season, not only with his goals but he's very influential in the middle of the park for us. It is a severe blow for us.

"But we managed to get over the Andy Tretton injury and the Steve Guinan injury so I'm sure we're capable of getting over Ben Smith's absence.

Meanwhile Anwar Uddin is staying at Bristol Rovers.

Central defender Uddin is back in their squad after returning from a two-month loan spell at Hereford United and could be on the bench against Huddersfield tonight.


Monday, February 16, 2004

Smith out for rest of campaign

The following news emerged from tonight's Hereford United Liaison Meeting:

- Ben Smith will miss the rest of the season as he needs an operation to pin his shoulder, but Jamie Pitman is set to return on Saturday after fears of a required hernia operation were unfounded. He does, though, have a torn abductor muscle, and was rested at Gravesend in the hope that a ten-day break will ease the problem.

- Ryan Green, though, still has a hip injury and is likely to miss the home game against Woking. He trained today, but did not compete in the regular schedule.

- The loan spells of Anwar Uddin and Chris Palmer have ended, but Graham Turner hopes to bring in new players.

- Chester City are likely to be given 2,000 tickets for the last day of the season, and they will be on sale within the next couple of weeks. Shrewsbury Town will receive 2,800 tickets for the match at Edgar Street on March 27th, after liaison with the police.

- Forest Green Rovers will play at Edgar Street on Tuesday, 16th March, in the final of Herefordshire Senior Cup.

- Hereford United have now received £5,000 from Sky TV for the televising of the Exeter City match on Boxing Day.

This basis for this information is taken from a post on the independent Hereford United fans forum.


Parry delighted with call-up

Paul Parry is delighted to have been called into the Welsh squad for the friendly against Scotland on Wednesday evening.

Parry impressed Welsh manager, Mark Hughes, last Saturday with his performance for Cardiff City against West Brom. On Sunday he was called into the Welsh squad.

Facing the cameras this afternoon Parry said on ITV Wales: "A couple of months ago I was dreaming of playing league football, let alone internationals. I totally did not expect a call-up. I've tried to settle in at Cardiff best I can for now, but to get a call-up is brilliant."

And on BBC Wales the story was told how Paul Parry was somewhere in the crowd at the Wales/Russia game a couple of months ago cheering on players he usually saw only on television.

The report continued: "Three months on and Parry finds himself part of that Welsh squad. No more Aldershot and Accrington for him. And after only a handful of games for Cardiff City, Paul Parry, the player plucked from Non-League football at Hereford a month ago, has been called-up for Wednesday's game against Scotland."

Parry said: "Getting into the squad is going to be a massive experience for myself. Even if I don't make the bench on Wednesday, I'm not going to be disappointed but if I do, it's an extra bonus.

"I know I wouldn't have been in the squad but for drop-outs, so I've got the chance now I've got to take it. If I get the chance to play, I've got to go out there and do my best and hopefully impress the manager for future call-ups."

Team mate Robert Earnshaw said of Parry on Sky: " He's a good player, he's done well enough in the Cardiff team to win a place. He won't look out of place."

The game is live on BBC Two Wales. On Sky you can see the match on channel 102 in Wales but probably 959 in England.


CVA Penalty down to ten points

Any club going into a CVA in the Conference will be deducted ten points instead of twelve as originally agreed by the Conference bosses. It is said that the change is to fall into line with other leagues.

A Conference spokesperson told confguide.com: "We said at the outset that we would fall in line with the other competitions and to be fair to all parties we've made it retrospective. We wanted to see what the Premier League decided before we acted and now feel that we have a fair system throughout football."

This means that if Exeter lose their appeal they will have ten points deducted from their total.

Confguide are also reporting that Exeter have been charged with a breach of player registraton rules, regarding Dwane Lee, who the Conference say wasn't correctly registered before an embargo was placed on the club.


Display of predatory finishing

This report of Saturday's game comes from this morning's Times:

HEREFORD UNITED got their pursuit of Chester City and automatic promotion back on track in the finest manner possible as their forward pairing of Steve Guinan and David Brown feasted at Stonebridge Road on Saturday. The strikers grabbed two goals apiece in a display of predatory finishing, being in no mood to let gifts go to waste as the Gravesend & Northfleet defence committed a series of untimely mistakes.

In many ways, the first was the worst. No sooner had Ben Abbey touched in the ball to give Gravesend the lead in the fourth minute than Hereford equalised. A collective collapse of concentration from the restart of the sort that managers rant warnings about ended with Rob Purdie being brought down by Paul Wilkerson, the goalkeeper, and Tony James hammering home the penalty.

Hereford’s second came from a free kick taken after a lengthy delay during which Ben Smith was helped off the field with a dislocated right shoulder. A similar injury forced Smith to miss the first three months of last season and Hereford are awaiting the doctor’s verdict as to the seriousness of this latest setback. Michael Rose’s left-foot strike from 30 yards pinged off the inside of a post and Brown pounced to put away the rebound.

The third followed Lee Shearer presenting the ball to Brown, who slipped a pass to Guinan, who dipped his shoulder, shimmied and planted the ball past Wilkerson.

Abbey again exploited uncertainty in the Hereford defence to make it 3-2 in the 37th minute and raise Gravesend hopes going into the second half. They had, after all, drawn 3-3 away to Hereford in September. But when another blunder brought Hereford their fourth goal, in the 67th minute, the home team’s discipline and self- belief drained away. Lee Skinner was caught out by a cross, slipped and let Brown clear; his shot clipped Chris Moore on an ankle and curled cruelly away from Wilkerson.

The fifth goal saw Purdie turn and speed away from an ineffectual challenge down the right. From his cross, Brown committed Wilkerson before laying the ball off to Guinan for his partner to put away his second goal.

Andy Ford, the Gravesend manager, was not seeking to hide behind the disadvantage of being a part-time club up against full-time opponents. “It’s this home form that concerns me,” he said. “Away from home we can spoil things a bit easier. At home we’ve got to be a bit more creative and we’re lacking in that area sometimes.

“But I think today we had to look no further than our defending in individual cases. Their movement was too good for us today. Their front two were very, very good. They gave our back four a bit of a torrid time.”


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Fixture backlog could affect Bulls

Both Shrewsbury and Telford have played several games less than leaders Chester and Hereford in the Conference so far this season.

The two Shropshire clubs were due to have Conference fixtures on Tuesday evening but both have been postponed to later dates because of cup games.

Shrewsbury were to have played Aldershot, but the Shots have to play their Trophy replay with Tamworth that evening. Telford were scheduled to meet Scarborough, another team behind with their games, but the Bucks now face Margate in the FA Trophy 5th round on Tuesday.

The delays could affect Hereford United as the Bulls are due to play Shrewsbury on March 27th which, if Shrewsbury get through the next round, is the day set aside for the Trophy Semi-final.

Shrewsbury were due to play Telford in the Conference on February 28th but that is the date for the sixth round of the Trophy in which both clubs could be involved.

It may be unlikely but it is possible should Telford win their game against Margate and therefore play in the next round on Feb 28th and draw their tie, then a replay might have to take place on March 2nd, then the Conference game with the Bulls would have to be moved.


Parry called up for Wales

Paul Parry has been called into the Welsh squad for Wednesday's friendly with Scotland.

BBC Wales is reporting that Cardiff City winger Paul Parry has joined Mark Hughes' injury-ravaged Wales squad to face Scotland in Cardiff on 18 February. The 23-year-old former Hereford player has impressed at Ninian Park since his transfer in January.

Yesterday, he was given the highest mark by several journalists for his performance in the Bluebirds team against West Bromwich Albion.

It is thought that Parry may be the first player to have made the jump from the Conference level to being selected for an international squad within six weeks of leaving. The game is live on BBC2 Wales from 7.30pm, and accessible nationwide on through the Sky Digital platform.


Selection problems for Turner

With several players injuried and the two loan players due to return to their clubs, Graham Turner could have a selection problem for next Saturday's game against Woking.

As far as is known Ben Smith is out for most, if not all, of the rest of the season after his shoulder injury yesterday. Jamie Pitman has hernia trouble and it is bound to need attention sooner than later. Sometimes players can cope with this type of injury, Matt Clarke was a case in point last season, for a while but with Pitman missing yesterday's match it has to be assumed that he could be out for a few weeks.

Ryan Green was rated as 50/50 for yesterday's game earlier last week so hopefully he will be back soon. Jordan King was also on the injury list but it is thought that he will be available next weekend.

As regards the two loan signings, both were due to return to their home bases after yesterday's game. However Anwar Uddin is not featured in the Bristol Rovers squad on their official site, whereas when he first came to Edgar Street mention was made of his loan to the Bulls. Whether this can be taken to mean that he is able to continue on-loan to Hereford is not certain.

Chris Palmer from Derby has had the difficult task of taking over Paul Parry's place in the squad. Whether he has, in Turner's opinion, fitted in well enough for Derby to be asked if his loan spell can continue remains to be seen.

However even if the two loan players stay for another month, the Bulls look short of a mid-field man to take Ben Smith's place. Graham Turner will need to bring someone in early this week to give any player time to slot in at Edgar Street.

Turner usually plays his cards close to his chest, but if the Bulls are to remain in contention for that top spot, he will need to strengthen his squad urgently.


Turner's comments on yesterday's game

Graham Turner has been quoted in today's Non-League Paper talking about yesterday's win at Gravesend.

"We had our hands full with the size and power of Gravesend, especially when they were able to pump set pieces into our box, said Turner.

"But overall, we played well when we had the ball, we created good opportunities and we deserved the win - but we had to work very hard for it.

"We've had four very tough away games in the league and to come here and win shows a bit of character.

"We were a little bit light last year in terms of real determination to win the tougher games but we have proved in recent weeks that when it's tough we can go away and win games.

"We've got to keep the pressure on Chester. There's still a lot of football to be played but we've got to keep on their tail and hope they slip up."


Saturday, February 14, 2004

It's not over yet

Steve Guinan, speaking on BBC Hereford and Worcester, thinks that today's win by the Bulls will put the pressure back on Chester.

"We had to get three points today. If we had not won today I think they (Chester) would have thought the championship was theirs.

"It was important that we don't let that gap too big. Now we've closed it again, perhaps they're thinking Hereford are still up for this and they are going to chase us down to the wire.

"Hopefully we can close a few more points and narrow that gap and it could come down to that last game of the season. That's what it might have to be."

Meanwhile Andy Ford, the Gravesend manager, said after the game: "Going forward, Hereford were very, very good. But four goals were individual mistakes, how do you combat that?"


Smith's injury is worrying for Bulls

Ben Smith was badly injuried at Gravesend this afternoon, as he dislocated his shoulder.

Steve Guinan, in an interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester, said of Smith: "I think everyone is concerned. We have all been asking how he is in the dressing-room. He is in hospital at the moment. I think his shoulder has popped out and it just depends how he is.

"I've asked Rich (O'Kelly) and the doctor who was here. Sometimes it can be six weeks. Hopefully it's not going to be like it was last season when he was out for a few months.

"He's a big concern for us because he's been one of our main players with his goal tally. So he will be hughly missed if he is out."


Bulls back to winning ways

Hereford United closed the gap on Chester with a convincing 5-2 win at Gravesend this afternoon.
Whites' bombardment sinks Fleet

Gravesend & Northfleet 2 - 5 Hereford United

Hereford United left Stonefield Road with all three points this afternoon after they defeated Gravesend & Northfleet 5-2. United were without Jamie Pitman and Ryan Green for the clash due to hernia and hip injuries respectively.

An action packed first half saw five goals, the first after four minutes was for the 'Fleet. A cross from the left wasn't succesfully cleared and the ball fell to Ben Abbey who volleyed in from an acute angle at the back post. Within a mintue the Bulls had equalised after 'keeper Paul Wilkerson felled Rob Purdie in the box. Tony James hammered the ball into the roof of the net from the spot.

Early in the game Graham Turner was forced to make a change when Ben Smith dislocated his shoulder, the same one that he dislocated shortly after his move to Hereford. Smith was seen leaving in an ambulance and has had an x-ray after the game. Smith is expected to miss the rest of the season. Richard Teesdale replaced Smith in the five-man midfield, with Anwar Uddin, Tony James and Andy Tretton making up a three-man back-line.

Hereford won a freekick when Smith was injured, which Michael Rose smashed against the post from twenty-five yards. The ball rebounded kindly to the impressive David Brown who volleyed home. There were many chances for both teams in an end to end half and it was no suprise when the fourth goal went in after twenty-two minutes. Teesdales pass found Brown who played a neat pass through to Steve Guinan and he made no mistake in slotting the ball past Wilkerson from inside the box to make it 3-1.

Abbey scored a second for Gravesend in the thirty-seventh minute putting a powerful shot through the legs of Matt Baker to give the home side a glimmer of hope. Hereford had a cast iron penalty turned down in the thirty-ninth minute when Rob Purdie, once again raced into the area, and was tripped by a defender, but the referee decided that Purdie had dived, and booked him.

A bright start to the sencond half saw Chris Palmer dribble into the area and hit a hard shot at Wilkerson, who parried the shot away. Guinan had another chance which landed on the roof of the net. Gravesend had a chance to get back on level terms in the sixty-third minute when Andy Drury slid in at the front post but knocked the ball wide following a counter attack down the right wing.

David Brown doubled his tally for the day in the sixty seventh minute when his low shot was wickedly deflected and rolled into the bottom left corner. Hereford searched for a fifth and two minutes after the fourth Guinan thought he had got it, but was deemed offside after a shot was palmed away by the goalie. Rose had a fourty-five yard shot hit the roof of the net when he spotted the 'keeper off his line. Gravesend didn't give up hope though, but a last ditch clearence by Anwar Uddin and a good tip over the bar from Baker kept United in front.

Hereford finally got their fifth of the afternoon in the eighty-nineth minute from Guinan. His twenty-first goal of the season was a simple tap in after Browns shot was blocked by a defender. The attendance of 1,230 was made up of around 150 away fans who went home delighted.

Written by Brian Goodwin - 14th February 2004.
Gravesend & Northfleet Hereford United
Paul Wilkerson Matt Baker
Lee Gledhill (off, 68 minutes) Andy Tretton
Lee Shearer Michael Rose
Chris Moore Rob Purdie
Justin Skinner (captain) Anwar Uddin
Andy Drury Tony James (captain)
Lee Protheroe Danny Williams
Steve Perkins (off, half time) David Brown
Robert Owen Ben Smith (off, 12 minutes)
Ben Abbey Steve Guinan
Roy Essandoh Chris Palmer
Subs Subs
Francis Duku Ben Scott
Rob Howarth (on, 68 minutes) Richard Teesdale (on, 12 minutes)
Steve McKimm (on, half time) Mark Beesley
James Pinnock Daniel Carey-Bertram
Alex O'Reilly Dean Craven
Yellow cards Yellow cards
Paul Wilkerson (unsporting behaviour, 5 minutes) David Brown (foul, 26 minutes)
Lee Gledhill (foul, 33 minutes) Rob Purdie (diving, 39 minutes)
Adam Drury (unsporting behaviour, 45 minutes) -
Steve McKimm (unsporting behaviour, 82 minutes) -
Red cards Red cards
- -
Scorers Scorers
Ben Abbey (4, 37 minutes) Tony James (penalty, 5 minutes)
- David Brown (13 minutes, 67 minutes)
- Steve Guinan (22 minutes, 89 minutes)
- -
Man of the Match Rob Purdie
Attendance 1,230
Referee Mr. P. Miller (Bedfordshire)