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Sunday, October 30, 2016

From The Archives - Nothing Compares With Scoring Goals Said May

Seventeen years ago today Hereford United played York City in the First Round of the FA Cup.

Here's a look back at that and other news from the weekend of October 30th 1999.

Firstly Friday October 29th:

HEREFORD United's first-round FA Cup tie against York City at Edgar Street tomorrow, will be preceded by fans praying to a swede in the centre of the pitch.

The bizarre rural ritual was resurrected for the first time in 20 years when Hereford beat Burgess Hill in the fourth qualifying round two weeks ago.

Supporter Jane Griffiths, who used to take part in the traditional ceremony when it was enacted during the early Seventies, recalled: "Before every cup game, supporters would go on to the pitch and place a swede on the centre spot.

"They would then kneel around the vegetable and worship it before it was taken down to the Meadow End of the ground and kicked into the net."

As well as the swede-worship, Hereford's ten-ton mascot, a Herefordshire bull called Kudos, will be paraded around the ground before kick-off.

Hereford's director of football Graham Turner said: "Worshipping the swede may not be conventional, but it proved successful against Burgess Hill, so we're going to try again."

Saturday Oct 30th:

GRAHAM Turner has commented about the former manager John Layton case which was recently settled out of court.

"In total it will have cost the club in excess of £20,000 and a considerable amount of time," said Turner writing in BullsEye.

"It is an amount that hurts us financially, there is no doubt about that, but it is something we can recover from.

"Perhaps the saddest part about it is that the £10,000 settlement figure to John Layton may well be taken to settle his legal bill and he will finish up with nothing.

"It just confirms my statement last week that the only real winners are the legal profession."

HEREFORD United will aim to put last week's shock defeat to Hayes down as "one of those days," reports the Sports Argus.

Manager Graham Turner had urged his players before last Saturday's match to concentrate on the league match, rather than being tempted to think of today's FA Cup-tie with York.

"I don't know whether their minds were elsewhere, they shouldn't have been," said Turner. "I kicked a few backsides before the game but you just get performances like that from time to time."

HEREFORD United 1 - 0 York City

United reached the second round of the FA Cup in an eventful game at Edgar Street. The swede was blessed before the game to bring good luck to the home side, and it did exactly that!

Despite have the best of the play, United were unable to open the scoring in the first half. The York City defence stubbed out any Hereford attacks before they could by formed into decent chances.

The second half brought the long awaited goal, which had been on the cards. Hereford United took the lead with thirteen minutes to go through Leroy May. Gavin Williams set up the effort which was well taken by the striker who had been getting a bit of stick from the crowd during the first half. Despite this, his man-of-the-match award was well earned, and a minor pitch invasion took place as May celebrated the goal with the fans. At full-time, United fans poured onto the boggy pitch which was cutting up during the game.

The York City team were given a talking to by their manager at the end of the match, and an open dressing room window allowed intrigued United fans to listen in, but it was slammed shut by a hand.

This was a truly great performance by Hereford United. After gaining the lead in difficult conditions, the wind and rain making the game hard to play in parts, they defended their lead as required. York City hit the post in the losing minutes, but Mark Jones looked comfortable in the United goal, with no major saves to make. One word to round the game up for United fans - Superb!

Attendance = 2,787

Man of the match - Leroy May

Hereford - Jones, Clarke, Sturgess, Wright, James, Williams, Rodgerson, Taylor, Snape, May, Parry.

Sub(s) who came on - None.

POST Match comments, firstly scorer Leroy May: "I've scored goals in the FA Cup before but never one that has knocked out a league club. I've given up stripping now I'm a full-time footballer - scoring goals is now my life."

And Graham Turner: "Leroy has worked hard, waited patiently, and taken his chance. I was delighted with the crowd's reaction to his goal.

"In the last five minutes we had a couple of lucky breaks but overall we deserved to win. We should have got the ball into their penalty area more often than we did, but there was a good level of performance from everyone."

Sunday Oct 31st:

FORMER male stripper Leroy May defrocked York City with a late winner to fire Graham Turner's battling Bulls into the second round reports the Sunday Mercury.

May stitched up stunned York with a 77th-minute strike to see off their Third Division visitors - then put it all down to swede-worshipping.

Hereford's bizarre pre-match ritual of kicking a swede into the home goal for good luck worked when May found the same net, beating stranded keeper Bobby Mimms and latched onto the end of Mark Taylor's hanging right-wing cross.

Having for once kept his shirt on in the celebrations, the much-travelled Dudley-born striker claimed: "That beats taking your clothes off for a living - nothing compares with scoring goals."

Only playing because of knocks to the Bulls' first-choice front line pairing of Paul Fewings and Robin Elmes, it was May's first start since August after suffering injury problems himself.

And, having scored all his three goals this season as substitute, once again there was not long left when he struck.

"All I remember was a high ball coming in, their defence stopping, and the keeper never coming," he reflected. "I just stuck my leg out and it went in. Although I did have a quick look at the linesman to check it wasn't offside."

It had proved an awful first half, chances having been few and far between on either side, chiefly due to the weather, the unusual pre-match swede ritual having served only to trigger a torrential downpour which left the Edgar Street pitch almost too treacherous to play.

May's off-target far post header via another neat cross from former Walsall and Shrewsbury midfield man Taylor was the closest either side came, and it got little better after the break until May struck.

But, once the Bulls had gone in front, it was a different story as, in a final gripping quarter hour of Cup drama, York bombed forward desperately in search of an equaliser.

Twice they nearly got one, sub Matt Hocking just failing to steal onto Barry Conlon's cross before, deep into injury time, substitute John Williams - the former Midland postman up against his old club - was denied only by the left upright.

But while sub Williams was left cursing at having for once not missed the post, Hereford hung on to make sure they didn't miss out on another slice of Cup glory.