Yorkshire Nights

Hereford progressed to the Second Round of the FA Trophy thanks to a 2-1 victory over Vanarama National League South side Billericay Town yesterday. Talking Bull Co-Editor Simon Wright reflects on his day, and the upturn in fortunes of the Bulls in recent weeks.

Strange old day, one outcome of which will be an evening game in York in 2019, to add to another 90 minute evening in a Leeds suburb. Such is the price of Cup success, a phrase I didn’t expect to be using any time soon.

The weather today was grim in the Shire, though even worse in Worcestershire. The M5 was very wet, visibility limited and with temperatures on zero, I wondered not for the first time, whether I had made the right decision. I’m hampered with a painful left arm and have arranged a meeting with a non-Dingle physio coming up on Monday (Yes, I did check) so driving is a little awkward. Temperatures rose steadily to 4 degrees once in the Shire – tropical by comparison.

I put the “tropical” suggestion to volunteer programme seller Adrian Herbert. He looked nonplussed by the idea as he shuffled round awkwardly with his shoes wrapped in carrier bags to keep out the damp. He was even shouting today. promoting his wares, clearly a special talent he learnt from the sweetly-voiced Talking Bull sellers. Hereford’s Las Ramblas was bleak and largely empty today. Even omni-present 50/50 guru Jeremy was not visible although he was definitely “around,” What a tenacious midfielder he would make…

Hereford’s side is taking on a familiar look. That’s fine for those regularly involved but for the rest, I do wonder whether Eliot Richards, Lance Smith and sadly even Ryan Green will be with us much longer. Greener seems to be at the end of a long queue of defenders.

There was one change today with the introduction of Bruce Sicknote but then “Oh no, he isn’t…”, his cameo appearance lasted just 15 minutes. No doubt that is a sickener for the individual but come on, sign a notoriously injury-prone player and then be surprised that he’s not fit to play. I just laughed. Not helpful, I know.

With barely 1,000 in the ground, this was a low-key affair played out in miserable weather. To their credit, the 45 visitors were noisy in their support. One said to me beforehand “we’re just so pleased to be at a club as big as this… ” and the simplicity of the remark startled me.

Although the Essex side took an early lead in the few moments when their No 7 Lafayette actually managed to stay on his feet, they were not convincing. Hereford’s attackers found a lot of space to attack into and used their pace to good advantage.

Owen-Evans equalised with confidence from the penalty spot and we were treated to another knee-slide. TOE is regularly standing out and I have my own concerns that come January, that a professional side may come in for him. Before he signed for us, Tom was always full-time and understandably he’d want to return to that lifestyle and level of income. Photos of knee-slides gets you noticed.

For much of the second half, I couldn’t see a winning goal. The visitors continued to play within themselves and Hereford while highly coherent, couldn’t create much of their own. “Have you written the Billericay ground guide yet?” enquired Nick Brade who invested much time in sharing one-liners with use in this feature. Most had a link with Nick’s theory that the Essex club owner had a name similar to that of a sanitary product. I will leave the rest to your fevered imagination.

Had I been listening, the sound of despair from both commentary teams would have been audible – “no Christmas celebrations on Tuesday for you. You’re needed in darkest Essex and no mistake, guv…” But the B Block survivors were rousing themselves with a few surprisingly co-ordinated tunes and naturally our men in black and white with a few damp patches were inspired.

Cometh the need, cometh a backward Prime Minister at the far post to shock everybody. Ricay roused themselves but still didn’t look like a top of Step 2 side. With the aid of some expert Symo “game management” that would have Tim Harris’s mate Tony Pulis purring excitedly, Hereford saw the match out. No replay.. but no York weekender either.

Another baby step secured at the Street. Our squad under Richards are becoming more together each week, so it is unfortunate three of them are due to leave next month. I can’t say to those who missed the game that they missed an epic and my, didn’t the temperature drop in the second half?

Four games unbeaten does feel good.

Simon Wright

Images courtesy of Bulls News Blog

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