Is This Our New Reality?

Hereford lost a home game yesterday. Yes, you read that correctly. The Bulls lost to Bradford Park Avenue. For some it’s surprising, but most Hereford United fans got used to the feeling years and years ago. Many even say it’s to be expected because we’re in a proper league. Mind you, Peter Beadle was clearly disappointed. But what will the response be? 

Losing remains an unpleasant rarity for followers of the Bulls. We’ve hardly ever endured back to back League defeats. A gloomy cloud accompanied me on my return to the Black Country. As we kept telling each other pre-season, we’re now with the Big Boys. Those Big Boys are stealing our toys. Bound to happen at some stage. No team has ever won four straight promotions. New reality has to kick in at some stage. Still struggling with it though!

Today’s defeat, although something of a surprise, was deserved. Visitors Bradford, now reinforced with those all-important brackets, were every bit as organised as I recall from the Play-Offs last season. Somehow, despite a lack of attacking personnel (“only one central striker – and he’s on loan” explained the Bradford press officer to me), their fluidity was often too much for our back four. The Horse deserved his Man of the Match award. His stops prevented a much heavier defeat.

From early on, the word got around this was not our day and much of the game was played out in resentful silence. We were second best in most areas of the pitch. Although our effort and workrate were not in question. Bradford’s constant pressing led to many hurried clearances and high balls in the direction of Harry White which he was never going to win. We miss Symo’s strength. We also were without Myrie-Williams and soon into the game, the Bulls also lost Keyon’s talents. Any club at this level would have problems missing three regular attackers.

There were some fine cameos, that were slightly overlooked in the silence. Horse I’ve already touched upon. In his brief pitch time, Lance Smith played with a freedom of someone recently released from chains. And best of all, there were numerous exquisite touches from Jordan Lam. Opponents beaten through speed and trickery on so many occasions. I was surprised to see him ‘hooked’ in the second half.

I suspect the answer is more complex than signing another striker which in itself is difficult. Beads could in theory sign half a dozen forwards tomorrow but the key is to find better than we already have. That is hard. Its Geography, the travelling, resistance from their current club and .. cost. Established strikers at this level want big bucks. That’s a slippery slope at Edgar Street. Lines must be drawn somewhere. Bradford paid their main striker last season far more than what I believe are Hereford’s pay rates and still he left.

Our squad need to improve as a whole, to learn and develop. And we will. Our latest League cake may need more than one bite to deal with it. That’s our new reality – one which I hope our supporters can adapt to, rather than finding Someone to Blame.

“You’re the best team we’ve played this season” I was assured by Lewis, Bradford’s Press man. ” We didn’t expect to get anything here. You’ll be fine. I reckon you’ll be top ten at least.” Nice guy. Even bought a Talking Bull. Sometimes we need others to see what we can’t see ourselves.

Simon Wright

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