Next Game: Southport At Edgar Street on Tuesday 13th November at 7.45pm

Saturday, January 12, 2002

Bulls cling on for dear life


Hereford United were lucky not to be eliminated from the FA Umbro Trophy at the third round stage today as Ryman League side Chesham United forced a 2-2 draw at their Meadow ground.

The Bulls had to endure a late period of Chesham pressure and it was only down to some astute goalkeeping of Matt Baker that the Conference hopefuls got away with a draw.

Hereford made two changes to the side that drew at Forest Green Rovers last weekend. The suspended Scott Goodwin was replaced in midfield by Ian Rodgerson, who made his three hundredth competitive appearance for the club, and Jimmy Quiggin dropped to the bench as Gavin Williams returned after injury in attack. Chesham, managed by Bob Dowie, named former Hereford attacker Paul Fewings in their starting line-up, and he partnered the highly-rated Wayne Andrews up front.

The cup tie started with the two sides appearing pretty even over the opening few minutes. Wayne Andrews tested Matt Baker after five minutes following a mistake by Tony James in defence, and six minutes later player/coach Phil Robinson fired an effort wide from the edge of the box concluding a good team move by the visitors.

Paul Fewings fired wide on sixteen minutes as Chesham attempted to find an early goal, and a minute later Ian Rodgerson lobbed goalkeeper Delroy Preddie at the other end - but also lobbed the crossbar. Chesham's Lee Spiller smashed an effort wide before the deadlock was broken after twenty four minutes.

A pass from Robinson released Gavin Williams on the left hand side and the Welshman proceeded to round the goalkeeper before, from an acute angle, knocking the ball past two defenders on the line to hand Hereford a slender but vital advantage.

The goal livened up proceedings in a cup tie that had been entertaining to watch and both Paul Parry and Phil Robinson tested Preddie in the Chesham goal before the home side broke free. With ten minutes of the half left, winger Richard Graham knocked a ball past Matt Baker, who had had a mix-up with full-back Matt Clarke, and the advancing Wayne Andrews ran onto it and had the easy task of knocking it into an unguarded net. Chesham had an equaliser which, to be fair, was deserved.

Andrews went close two minutes later when John Shirley allowed him through, but he scraped the effort wide and the scores appeared to stay level at the break until Ian Rodgerson popped up in the last minute of the half. A long ball from captain Ian Wright found Rodgerson who controlled well and volleyed on the turn to net from close range. The advantage had swung back in Hereford's favour.

Bulls attacker Rob Elmes picked up a knock in the first half and was removed at the break, to be replaced by Danny Davidson. The second period was much less exciting for the opening period with Chesham dominating possession but causing few problems for the Hereford back line. In fact, it was Hereford who came closest to scoring on the hour when a corner met Ian Wright on the back post, and his header was cleared off the line by Mark Boyce. A minute later, Gavin Williams shot over but ten minutes later, Chesham fought back. Paul Fewings' header was caught by Matt Baker on the far post on seventy minutes, and just two minutes later the scores were level. Chesham broke on the counter attack following a Hereford corner and Fewings lobbed the ball over the advancing Baker to equalise.

The closing eighteen minutes were extremely tense. Hereford looked lost and will have been pleased just to get off the pitch. Chesham, on the other hand, played wave after wave off attacks that tested Baker and the nerves of everyone in the ground. Paul Fewings and Wayne Andrews tested Baker's reactions on seventy eight minutes before sustitute Victor Boyle-Renner knocked a ball through Paul Parry's legs for Baker palmed it away. A minute later, Chesham's last real attack saw the ball drop to Andrews, but he couldn't capitalise on the opportunity.

The relief on the faces of everyone to do with Hereford United was evident to see when referee Mr. F. Graham blew for full time. The Bulls would have had few complaints had Chesham found a late goal but they clung on for a replay, which will be held at Edgar Street on Tuesday night, kick off 7.45pm.

No one player for the Bulls deserved the man-of-the-match award. There were mistakes from each of the four members of the defence, as well as goalkeeper Baker, whilst the midfield and attack didn't perform sufficiently to eliminate a side supposedly of lower grading. Had one not known which league Chesham played in, they could have been excused for thinking the teams were on a level par.

The tie was superbly entertaining for a neutral but frustrating in different ways for those involved in the sides competing. The Hereford support probably made about half of those in the crowd of 831.

Chesham United: Delroy Preddie, Alvin Watts (captain), David Pratt, Fitz Hall, Lee Kersey, Mark Boyce (off, 65 minutes), Dereck Brown (off, 65 minutes,) Lee Spiller, Wayne Andrews, Paul Fewings, Richard Graham
Subs: Victor Boyle-Renner (on, 65 minutes), Gary Wotton (on, 65 minutes), Kieran Corcoran, Steve Miles, Richard Wilson

Hereford United: Matt Baker, Matt Clarke, John Shirley, Phil Robinson, Ian Wright (capt), Tony James, Ian Rodgerson, John Snape, Rob Elmes (off half time) Gavin Williams, Paul Parry
Subs: Mark Williams, Lee Evans, Jimmy Quiggan, Alec Kevan, Danny Davidson (on 46mins)

Hereford Yellow cards
Paul Parry (9 minutes, foul) Gavin Williams (88 minutes, unsporting behaviour)

Scorers
Wayne Andrews (35 minutes) Gavin Williams (25 minutes)
Paul Fewings (72 minutes) Ian Rodgerson (45 minutes)

Man of the Match Not awarded
Attendance 831
Referee Mr. F. Graham

Report by Terry Goodwin