The perennial play-off club Brackley visit us over Easter, for our last but one home game. Their points total in last 11 games? FIVE. Hereford have amassed 11 in that time, and yet the Bulls are now struggling to score – let alone secure points!
Simon Wright looks ahead to what could be a vital game for both ends of the table.
This season might be Brackley’s sixth entry into the Play-offs but they’ve yet to win one. They appear to be just as stuck as us in National League North in their own way. Is it worse to be in the play-offs and lose every time or not be in them at all?
In charge was Roger “own goal” Johnson in his first experience as gaffer, appointed the day after the previous manager Kevin Wilkin was sacked in late September. Day after. Hmmm. Wilkin clearly had to leave having lost one of his last six games including comfortably beating Hereford 2-1. What kind of form is that?
Johnson did have a certain reputation for mishaps in his playing career and not just for his collection of own goals. He was once infamously sent home from training for being drunk. Following his departure after just 7 months in charge, there are arguably mishaps in his managerial times too. It all started so well for him with a 17-game unbeaten run. Then progress stalled.
Somehow, Brackley even managed to lose at home to both Telford (relegated) and Leamington (one away win all season). On the road, they’ve only picked up one point in the last six games and overall, they have fewer away points than Hereford. Their last away win was at Kidderminster in mid-February and everybody gets points there. Our visitors have only one win in the last 11 games and clearly, there isn’t much patience in Brackley.
It’s probably significant that their main defender, Captain and now acting manager Gareth Dean is currently missing through injury and Culliane-Liburd is deputising. I think we can understand why. Brackley have a large and mature squad with 10 players aged 30 or over.
Top scorer is Callum Stead with 12 goals. Brackley do have a bunch of strikers to support him. Joining last month is former Bull Theo Robinson. Since his Hereford days, he’s swapped clubs 26 times. He’s been a free agent since November, in fact has barely played any football for a year. Theo has made 7 appearances for Town – his 18th club, though is normally a bench warmer.
Another familiar name is 34-year-old Adam Rooney. Well over 600 games, including nearly 200 for Aberdeen behind him, Adam’s played two thirds of matches this season with 6 goals to his name. They have two other forwards who are clearly not very good.
Town accounts have a positive balance of £1.1 million, underpinned by assets totalling £1.3 million – presumably the ground and their various impressive bars and function rooms. No else in our League get close – the next highest is sub £400,000. Clearly with modest gates and in a town of barely 16,000, those monies came from elsewhere, presumably the pocket of owner Allan Leighton.
Overall, we have a so-so record against the Northants crew. There was one victory, sadly this came during covid so there was no-one present to see it. There was some drama at the end of last season when Hereford battled back from 2-0 down to draw against a Brackley team with hopes of automatic promotion. Been a while since we have seen such drama. Monday feels like a chance to improve that record.
There will be one last chance to purchase the last Talking Bull. The few remaining print copies will be pedalled by the debonair Steve Alexander by the ticket office.
Be there if you can. You will miss HFC once the season is over. Honest.