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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hereford Will Be 'Tough' Said Chester's Morley

Hereford's Marlon Jackson With Just The Keeper To Beat Last October At Chester
Chester's joint manager Bernard Morley feels that the visit of Hereford tomorrow will be 'tough'.

"Looking at the league table it's third against fourth," said Morley.

"And they are going to bring a massive following.

"So potentially it's nearly a home game for them.

"It's so important we replicate the form (at Kidderminster), I have no doubt we'll do that.

"It's probably the biggest game for Chester for the last couple of years in terms of where we are in the table, who we are playing against and getting a good crowd."

It Was The Right Time To Remove Richards Said Graham

Hereford FC chairman Andrew Graham has explained to BBC Hereford and Worcester the decision to part company with Marc Richards.

"I'm new in the chair and I have to look at the long term strategy of Hereford Football Club," said Graham.

"Is Marc Richards right for us and are we right for Marc Richards.

"And the conversation that took place between myself and Marc, and he's happy for me to share this conversation, was that he probably wouldn't be able to commit full time to Hereford Football Club if we went full time.

"Im not in a position to take that forward as a long term strategy so now in my mind is as a board we have to decide as whether we are prepared to, hypothetically, flip a coin on the future of Hereford Football Club and then we decide to go full time and someone says I'm away or do we now start to say this should have been decided upon and we need to move to a different focus."

It was pointed out to Graham that the club would have known Richards couldn't go full time when the appointment was made.

"When we appoint someone as a board we appoint them collectively so the decision to appoint Marc Richards and Tim Harris is not an issue here.

"I don't think the last Chair or the last Board which I was part of was incorrect to make the changes in management. 

"However if we're faced with a position where we don't believe we're able to move forward with the post long term and we believe that we're sustainable enough to perhaps go full time next year then we have to make a decision.

"When Marc Richards was appointed if you look at his contract terms we were looking towards the end of next season but I have to look longer than that.

"It's perfect to have someone in place for those two seasons to build a team and put us in a position where we sustainable enough to push forward and look towards the Conference.

"But if we are now in a position where we think we can do that sooner, may be next year, then I have to look at strategy and Marc doesn't feature in the strategy. Marc understands that and I think that's a mutual acceptance.

"But was it the right time to remove Marc Richards, the original question, obviously we think it is because otherwise it wouldn't have happened."

Around The Ground

A selection of pictures from around Edgar Street yesterday.

Pictures From Hereford's Draw Against Brackley

A selection of pictures from yesterday's 1-1 draw between Hereford and Brackley.

Draw Was Fair Result Said Wilkin

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin felt the draw at Hereford was a 'fair result'.

The game ended 1-1with Hereford's Tom Owen-Evans missing a penalty and Cullinane-Liburd clearing off the line.

"Both sides had a go," said the Brackley manager.

"We had most of the play around the penalty area, reduced them to everything from distance.

"When you look at it we had one off the line and at the end the goalie had to make a save.

"Probably a draw was a fair result overall."

Hereford were awarded a penalty early in the second half.

"I think if you are going to start giving penalties for moments like that we're in a whole lot of trouble.

"Quite what you can do in that situation is beyond me.

"He was probably three yards away when the lad has struck it at pace.

"Then we had a similar moment after that when whoever it was struck one on the edge of the box and speaking to one or two of their players they thought that was equally a penalty."

The game was played at a very warm and sunny Edgar Street.

"The referee did the right thing with putting drinks breaks in, allowing players to get some fluid on board was the right thing.

"Difficult conditions, credit to both sets of players they both had a go in a keenly fought game."

Match preview - Chester FC vs Hereford FC

It’s the second and last of Hereford FC’s ‘true test’ August Bank Holiday matches tomorrow, as they make the relatively short trip up Offa’s Dyke to Chester, in Chestershire, kick off 3pm at Sealand Rd, no the Deva, no the Swansway Chester Stadium.

The first leg of the true test was so disjointed by being split into quarters, and by Brackley choosing to play extremely well in one of those quarters after being gifted their goal, but looking really quite average for the rest, that it’s hard to draw too many conclusions.

Three conclusions are that firstly Brandon Hall and Simeon Maye are looking like very good signings indeed, secondly that poor Raheem Hanley looks lost at left back, and finally that the centre backs are still switching off at times, despite looking solid, strong and skilful for the majority of the time, and in doing so are giving goals to the opposition that the opposition seldom give to Hereford. OK, that switching off frequently lasted for 45 minutes last season (and not just at the back), whereas at least it now only lasts for a few seconds, although long enough to score a goal.

So OK, there are a few conclusions after all.

Chester are unbeaten this season, although unlike sole fellow unbeatenists York they’ve drawn half of their six matches, leaving them just a point ahead of Hereford. Managed by arch-purveyors of the art of the charm offensive Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, in their second shouty season with the Seals after leaving Salford 'by mutual consent', Chester are looking more like fulfilling the faith the bookies had in them last season when installing them as promotion favourites with Stockport. Very early in 2018/19 they inexplicably shipped eight goals to Blyth and never quite recovered to mount a concerted championship challenge, although surprisingly Messrs Morley and Johnson got through that mauling in the northeast without their hearts exploding.

With the likes of defender Danny Livesey, who has won this division already with previous clubs, experienced fellow defender Simon Grand, and a clutch of players from the managers' previous club Salford, the squad is peppered with gritty get-it-done merchants who know how to succeed at this level.

For the Bulls, this could be a good one for Reece Styche to start in, if fit, having looked lively in a late cameo performance on Saturday. His streetwise know-how would certainly irritate the Chester defence in a way that the Brackley defence wasn’t irritated on Saturday. It was noticeable, however, that he seemed to feel his shoulder after a Brackley defender impressively contrived to somehow commit ten or so fouls on him in one laboured movement shortly after the Bulls' striker came on.

It’s a tricky one, and despite the Bulls’ lofty position in the league it’s still very hard to judge how much of an impact this squad can make over the course of the season. Perhaps given that lofty position, and the fact that performances have been largely just OKish to date, it backs up what many have been feeling about the much-vaunted strength of the National League North not really being there this season. If that’s the case there’s a real opportunity to sneak promotion using the impetus of a new manager and then have a bit of fun with your Wrexhams, your Notts Countys etc next season, who presumably would bring a few more than the 20-odd supporters Brackley mustered.

Anyway, it’s high time Chester lost one, and if Keiran Thomas is fit, allowing Jared Hodgkiss to fill in at left back, there’s immediately a bit more solidity to the team defensively. Let’s hope the Forest wild boar has recovered and is raring to go, but not so much that he gets sent off after five minutes.

I’m away on my hols for the Boston game, but your normal match preview service will resume prior to the Leamington match and continue until the bitter (or sweet?) end in April.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

National League North results and how the table looks

Hereford are still fourth following today's 1-1 draw against Brackley.

York already look extremely strong and are three points clear at the top after thumping Spennymoor 4-1.

The only other unbeaten side are Chester, whom Hereford face on Monday.


Altrincham 1-1 Darlington
Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-0 Blyth Spartans
Gateshead 0-3 Farsley Celtic
Gloucester City 3-0 Boston United
Guiseley 2-4 Alfreton Town
Hereford 1-1 Brackley Town
Kidderminster Harriers 0-1 Chester
King's Lynn Town 4-1 Curzon Ashton
Leamington 3-1 Kettering Town
Southport 0-1 AFC Telford United
Spennymoor Town 1-4 York City


1) York P6 16pts
2) King's Lynn P6 13
3) Chester P6 12
4) Hereford P6 11
5) Alfreton P6 10
6) Guiseley P6 10
7) Farsley Celtic P6 10
8) Gloucester P6 10

REACTION: Simeon Maye on Brackley draw

Simeon Maye - who was the sponsors' man-of-the-match following another impressive performance for Hereford - spoke following today's 1-1 draw with Brackley Town, 

You hear what he had to say below.

Harris assisting board with managerial vacancy

Hereford Head of Football Tim Harris - who is currently interim manager following Marc Richards' departure - says he is assisting the board in finding a new manager/head coach, but has ruled himself out of contention.

Harris has overseen three matches since Richards' sacking and is currently unbeaten.

"I am part of a process and my role is not to be manager of Hereford or head coach of Hereford; my role is to assist the board in making decisions and I will be part of that," said Harris, who was not prepared to say if or when a shortlist of candidates had been drawn up

"My role - and what I feel I am good at - is on the recruitment and contract side and supporting and managing a manager or head coach, whoever that may be."

Harris was speaking following today's 1-1 draw between Hereford and Brackley. 

You can also listen to what he had to say about that game via the below video. He was left frustrated with the way Brackley scored their goal, but admitted that the penalty awarded to his side for handball was fortuitous.

His answers regarding the managerial vacancy are from the 4:12 mark.

Owen-Evans misses late penalty as Bulls settle for a point

Rowan Liburd Scores For Hereford
A missed penalty from Tom Owen-Evans saw Hereford drop two points in their match against Brackley Town this afternoon.

Owen-Evans – who is usually very reliable for the Bulls from 12 yards – blazed his effort over the bar after referee Scott Simpson pointed to the spot for handball after Jordan Nicholson’s shot was charged down.

In truth, Hereford probably only deserved a point against a Brackley side who have been third in the league for the past two seasons.

Hereford made two changes from the team that beat Blyth 1-0 last week. Jordan Nicholson came in for the injured Mike Symons, while Tommy O’Sullivan replaced Jacob Jagger Cane, who failed a late fitness test. Liam Bishop was one of the five named substitutes and came on late in the game.

There were very few chances in the early exchanges, with Brackley goalkeeper Danny Lewis needing treatment after coming out to deal with an opportunity when Jordan Nicholson went through.

Nicholson then saw a free-kick blocked before Hereford opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Brad Ash this time took a free-kick in a near identical position, but saw his effort hit the crossbar. However, Rowan Liburd was on hand to head home the rebound.

Both sides then saw efforts go over the bar before Brackley levelled eight minutes before the break.

Hesitancy at the back between Josh Gowling and Raheem Hanley led to Matt Lowe beating Gowling to the ball and setting up James Armison to score. 

It really was a shocking goal to concede. Gowling totally misjudged Hanley's poor pass, leading to Lowe to cross the ball. 

Brackley then started to get a stranglehold of the game, with some good interplay just before the half time break.

The first period of the second half saw both sides have plenty of the ball without testing either goalkeeper. Hereford made a double substitution in the 62nd minute, bringing on Reece Styche and Jason Pope for Tommy O’Sullivan and Raheem Hanley respectively.

Brackley had a great chance to take the lead in the 74th minute, but Ellis Myles’ low cross was cleared off the line by Jordan Cullinane-Liburd.

Then at the other end, Gareth Dean’s sliced clearance nearly ended in a spectacular own goal. However, Hereford had a great opportunity to make it 2-1 seven minutes from time when they were awarded the penalty. But less said about Owen-Evans’ effort, the better.

He almost redeemed himself with a great effort that was tipped behind at the death, while at the other end, Hereford had to survive a couple of Brackley chances.

On paper, a point against a team who will probably be there or thereabouts again at the end of the season looks ok, but it was definitely two points lost.

Onto Monday now and a very tough game at Chester, who are unbeaten.

Hereford (4-4-2): Hall; Hodgkiss, Cullinane-Liburd, Gowling, Hanley (Pope 62); Owen-Evans, Maye, O’Sullivan (Styche 62), Nicholson; Ash (Bishop 90), Liburd. Subs not used: Bray, Riley.

Brackley (4-4-2): Lewis; Myles, Langmead, Dean, Franklin; Lowe, Byrne, Murombedzi, Walker; Armison (Baker 81), Ndlovu. Subs not used: Holman, Daire, Fairlomb, Audel.

Attendance: 2,585 (26 away fans).

All level at the break

Hereford will be happy that they've got something to hold on to at half time, with the score currently 1-1 between themselves and Brackley Town.

Rowan Liburd scored for the second consecutive home game, before James Armison equalised for the visitors.

Following their goal, Brackley have looked threatening, showing why they have finished third for the past two seasons.

There were very few chances in the early exchanges, with Brackley goalkeeper Danny Lewis needing treatment after coming out to deal with an opportunity when Jordan Nicholson went through.

Nicholson then saw a free-kick blocked before Hereford opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Brad Ash this time took a free-kick in a near identical position, but saw his effort hit the crossbar. However, Liburd was on hand to head home the rebound.

Both sides then saw efforts go over the bar before Brackley levelled eight minutes before the break.

Hesitancy at the back between Josh Gowling and Raheem Hanley led to Matt Lowe beating Gowling to the ball and setting up Armison to score. 

Brackley then started to get a stranglehold of the game, with some good interplay. However, it remains 1-1 and Hereford will be confident that they can create more chances, as long as they keep it solid at the back...

Team news versus Brackley

Hereford have made two changes for today's game against Brackley Town. Mike Symons was struggling last week so misses out. Jordan Nicholson has taken his place. Meanwhile, Jacob Jagger Cane has failed a late fitness test so is replaced by Tommy O'Sullivan. Keiron Thomas is still injured.

1) Brandon Hall
2) Jared Hodgkiss
3) Raheem Hanley
4) Simeon Maye
5) Jordan Cullinane-Liburd
6) Josh Gowling
7) Tom Owen-Evans
8) Tommy O'Sullivan
9) Rowan Liburd
10) Jordan Nicholson
11) Brad Ash

12) Tom Pope
14) Alex Bray
15) Martin Riley
16) Liam Bishop
20) Reece Styche

Gloucester May Go Full Time

Hereford Defeated Gloucester At Evesham Earlier This Month
Gloucester City are to consider whether to go full time once they return 'home' to Meadow Park hopefully next year. Currently they are ground sharing at Evesham.

Chairman Alex Petheram feels they need to make the transition if they are to compete in the National League.

"For us to really progress and even entertain going into the National League, even through winning the play-offs, we have to take either the full-time model that Kidderminster and Chester have done or do hybrid model which is becoming more and more popular," said Peteram as reported by GloucestershireLive.

"That would give us three days a week training plus the Saturday match. Currently we train for a maximum of three hours a week, unless of course we’ve got a midweek game.

"Returning to Meadow Park remains both my and the club’s number one off-the-field task.

"For us to progress it (going full-time) is something we need to look at when we are back at Meadow Park."

Today's National North Fixtures

Hereford Go Close Against Brackley Last March
There is a full compliment of fixtures in the National North League this afternoon.

Altrincham v Darlington
Bradford PA v Blyth Spartans
Gateshead v Farsley Celtic
Gloucester City v Boston United
Guiseley v Alfreton Town
Hereford v Brackley Town
Kidderminster Harriers v Chester
Kings Lynn Town v Curzon Ashton
Leamington v Kettering Town
Southport v AFC Telford United
Spennymoor Town v York City

Probably the match of the day is at Spennymoor (20th) where leaders York are the visitors. Spennymoor have only played three games, all away, to date this season as improvements to their ground have only just been completed. However York would still be expected to win

Guiseley (2nd) drew their last game at Boston (15th) whilst their opponents Alfreton (8th) put four past Bradford PA (21st).

King's Lynn (3rd), 3-1 winners at Telford last Saturday, have had a decent start to life in the National North and should be be good enough to take three points from Curzon Ashton (6th) who lost at home 1-0 to Kidderminster.

Hereford (4th) have won their last two games under interim manager Tim Harris. Brackley (13th) defeated Altrincham last Saturday and will be tough opponents.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Pictures From Under 18's Win Over Stratford Last Night

A selection of pictures from last night's under 18's game at Wellington where Hereford defeated Stratford 3-1.

Edgar Street Is Never An Easy Place Said Brackley Manager

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin has said that Edgar Street is never an easy place to go.

He takes his squad to Hereford tomorrow for a National North League fixture. On Monday they play Gloucester.

Last year Brackley won two games at Edgar Street.

"Hereford are still a big club at this level," said Wilkin.

"They didn’t have the season last time that they would have hoped for but they will provide a stern test.

"Gloucester are back at this level but at this stage, teams are trying to work out their levels, we’re not where we want to be but that’s the same for other teams.

"If you’re not at the right level, teams will find you out in this division. If we can take four out of six points that would be a good weekend.

"Off the back of a good win we can get the players together to reflect on what we’ve done well and where we’ve not done so well and hopefully take the positives into the next game."