Life with the Lions

Hereford secured a valuable three points on Saturday as a result of their narrow 1-0 victory over Guiseley FC at Edgar Street. The Talking Bull co-editor Simon Wright looks back at a match that virtually assured the Bulls’ status in the Vanarama National League North for another season.

Life with the Lions – standing in other people’s shoes..

Hard times to follow Guiseley. I observed their gallant few, glassy-eyed, heading towards their small coach. Their side had for the fourth straight match lost 1-0. Déjà vu all over again for a club who played in Step One last season. “Gave 100% but couldn’t score…” was the phrase used before the game.. and probably after too, garnered with a few adjectives. With their top scorer absent, their horizons were pretty much limited to defence and hoping to nick one. 93 minutes was to lapse before the home keeper was called upon. Earlier, they’d doubled marked Symons and man-marked top scorer Owen Evans and harried the opposition into mistakes. Through sheer grit and determination, they’d almost completely stopped the opposition from having a butchers at goalkeeper Dewhurst. Managerial warnings of jobs being at stake ringing in their ears focused minds. But not quite good enough. One lapse of concentration and it was game over.

The Lions do take some knocking over. Only Chorley have beaten them by more than a single goal this year. Tony Pulis would purr over their defensive work rate, but even that old dinosaur would blanch with their lack of goals scored. With FC United and Ashton United (who’ve scored once in five games) also losing, hope does remain for them. The meeting of Guiseley and Ashton in mid-April promises to be both ugly.. and goalless.

The match made for a grim spectacle. Unfortunately, dull matches aren’t unusual on such tense occasions. Of course, we all wanted more, to see the rip-roaring Bulls of recent seasons scalp opponents once more. We’re in the Big Boys league now and results matter for everybody. Games are tighter far more often. Some Hereford people still need to adjust their horizons. Lots of our Step 2 opposition have access to far greater income than we do. Guiseley have a bloated squad as they did last season, secure in the knowledge they have a multi-millionaire on their board.

For me, this was my first home game for two months and I took much pleasure from simply being there. Sharing thoughts on such topics as fecund fathers, chicken dinners, security at Miami Airport and acceptable shades of pink for wallpaper. So Edgar Street and so good to be back. And my, how B Block has gone upmarket. Prime half-time conversation was the architectural splendour of Golden Valley churches while Nick Brade busied himself on the Times crossword. I was half-expecting the appearance of prawn sandwiches. Still, there was some raucous comments from Adrian Herbert which felt more familiar. Adrian often remains unchallenged as the loudest voice in B Block.

There was in truth not much to discuss from the play. No, that’s a little unkind. There was an impressive showing from our latest ex-Cov loanee (is their short-term quid pro quo to groundshare with the Bulls?) while Bruce Sicknote (Weselowski) managed a decent hour. Hereford were terribly short of players in truth, deciding to spread the misery of absenteeism by recalling Harry Franklin.

Josh Gowling’s late winner upgraded Hereford’s record to one defeat in eleven. Solid if not spectacular progress and relegation worries are virtually behind us. For a side with goalscoring problems, we’ve scored in all bar one of our League games this year.

The best line of the match was surely from Nick Brade, referring to Kingsley James coming on as substitute: “If I was the lino, I’d be saying you aren’t coming on until you’ve finished eating that cat..”

Reasons to be cheerful. With contracts running out in the summer and Academies turfing out by the hundred, out of reach targets become possible. There is much to be positive about.

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