The weekend saw the Bulls drop two points after what had been a terrific first half performance against King’s Lynn Town. Sadly, if you don’t convert a penalty when you’re two-nil up it’s almost inevitable that the opposition will be spurred on to fightback. Now it’s up to Paul Caddis’ side to respond positively at Rushall Olympic on Tuesday. Simon Wright takes a look ahead.

If you can keep the nucleus of a Step 3 promoted squad together, it’s possible to make a big impression in Step 2. Think Scarborough, Tamworth, Buxton and also Warrington to an extent. The same might also apply to Rushall. The premier non-league Black Country side (much to their own shock) have surprised a lot of people. They outplayed Hereford at Edgar Street back in August and would have got something if they had had a goal scorer. Mind you, up until his recent move to Southend United, they had the Division’s top scorers in Danny Waldron in their ranks, and were able to surprise many. For instance, they’ve taken four points off Chester. Won at Brackley. And Boston United. Put five past Chorley, and four past Spennymoor. In League matches, they’ve scored more than Hereford. They can be very capable and they have the longest serving manager in the division so our game will be a battle.

Their home and away record are nearly identical which suggests their footballers are just as comfortable on grass as they are on their home 3G surface. Conversely, they are no Scarborough having suffered 6 home league defeats.

The Pics faithful have increased by 45%, an impressive sounding figure until you realise the starting point is a very low one. Their new average of 485 is higher than that of Curzon and Peterborough Sports who all share the insurmountable problem of enduring much bigger neighbours. Rushall have increased their gate by selling cheap season tickets and having the good fortune of hosting Scunthorpe early season.

Dales Lane isn’t totally new to us as we visited in step 5 to play their then tenants Continental Star and we also played out a dull friendly last season. Being our second nearest opponents, an evening fixture at Rushall is accessible to most. Dales Lane was opened in 1977, their 3g built in 2019 so still quite new. Tickets are well-priced at £13.50 for adults to sit or stand if bought in advance. Concessions, which start at 60, are £9.50. You can pay on the day for just 50p more. Parking at the ground is £3. The Pics try to discourage supporters parking in the streets nearby because the residents are unhappy. The one I met a few years back was as red-faced as a Shire farmer. There will be a 32-page £3 printed programme and do bear in mind the above average refreshment hut is cash only.

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Who to pick out in the home squad? The emaciated looking goalkeeper is Jake Weaver, once of Leamington infamy. As the Pics gained promotion last season by winning two penalty shoot outs, he was a major figure in helping them grab that unexpected prize. Another player in fine form is midfielder or sometimes defender Alex Fletcher, who is ex Newtown.

Be aware the home ranks will be dingle-infested. Most will be sporting old gold. Others can be identified from their raucous behaviour. Don’t approach or encourage them and definitely don’t feed them.

Useless fact. Had we played Rushall last season, our squad could have walked from their training ground to Dales Lane via the Rushall canal towpath. In theory. Stumbling along an unlit muddy path at night might not be the best pre-match warm-up.

If you can’t be at the game, you can pay for a stream or listen to the BBC Hereford & Worcester or Radio Hereford FC.

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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