Preview: Hereford vs Stratford – FA Youth Cup

Pop along on Thursday 19 September and support Hereford in the FA Youth Cup 1st Qualifying Round. The young Bulls beat Telford on Thursday night to make progress and now face Stratford Town.

Here is the Talking Bull match preview by Simon Wright who looks ahead to the tie.

After the vibrancy of the Young Bulls victory in Shropshire over Telford in the Preliminary Round, Radio Hereford considered it only right and proper to promote the next round, which is a home tie against Stratford Town.

Only certainly the fixture will be at the Street on Thursday September 19th as the Round has to be played that week and the first team already have a re-arranged home game on Tuesday. It is unfortunate for our lads that their big moment is squeezed between the Gateshead League game and the FA Cup on Saturday. Some Shire-based supporters will consider that two evenings at the Street in one week is OTT.   It’s a bigger commitment for sure but if the Black Country-based elements of the Radio Hereford radio team are willing to drive down on both Tuesday and Thursday then maybe you could get down there?

If it helps your decision-making, admission will only be a few quid to see our 16- and 17-year olds on the big stage. Players like Archie Muirhead and Morgan Evans who glide past opponents, the imposing figure of Toby Raison at the back and pacey full backs Ollie Guinane and Chis Corten. Especially pleased to highlight young Chris as he sensibly re-tweets Radio Hereford posts. If you plug us, we’ll plug you. We’re quite shameless…

It’s a one-off Cup game so must be settled on the night and Youth Cup rules insist on a standard 3 substitutes set-up. That’s a change from the rolling subs in Hereford’s League games. There is a benefit for players but for supporters it’s so hard to keep track. Even harder for commentators.

Our opponents Stratford are very proud of their youth set-up. Travelling supporters who saw our first team win narrowly at the Moodchimp, might remember the volume of advertising hoardings trumpeting the strengths and joys of their Academy programmes.

Town offer a 2-year footballer education scholarship to 16-year-olds. That combines a BTEC Level 3 extended diploma with football training delivered by the Town first team coaches four days a week. They have more contact time than our first team! Their teenagers play a League fixture every Wednesday afternoon plus evening matches in the separate Midlands Floodlit Youth League which Stratford won comfortably last season. (By weird coincidence, Hereford and Stratford met last month in their first League game of 19/20. Happily, the Bullocks won 3-1.) Stratford make much of the fact their scholars have GPS vests to monitor performance, access to both grass and 3G pitches plus recently had training sessions delivered by Ian Holloway and Dean Holdsworth.   A scholarship programme is surely a short-term objective for our Academy.

In the last Round, Stratford crushed Bromyard 5-0, which could easily have been ten nil had not the Yard keeper been in fine form. Given the difference in status, the score wasn’t a shock. Last season, the Warwickshire club were eliminated in the Second Qualifying Round by Sutton Coldfield.

Just to clarify, there are 3 Qualifying Rounds after which the EFL clubs enter at the First-Round stage. The AFC Telford Academy reached the First-Round last season so imagine their shock going out in the Preliminary Round this year to a club without a scholarship programme.

The Stratford tie promises to be a tense, exciting evening. Please come along if you can. Our potential future stars would love to see a decent crowd. If that’s not possible, Radio Hereford will be covering the action live.

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