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Thursday, June 28, 2018

We've Been There Before - Darlington

Continuing BN's look at clubs Hereford will play this coming season, Darlington is another team now in the National North that Hereford have met before.

This report on a game played on April 12th 2008.

Super Hooper fires Bulls to win

Hereford United grabbed an important away victory at Darlington courtesy of a second half goal from Gary Hooper. With Stockport beating Peterborough, nothing less than a victory was required and Hooper came up trumps by smashing in mid-way through the second half to the delight of the travelling army. The three points confirms that Hereford will appear in the play-offs, although the hope is for much greater things.
Image result for gary hooper hereford bulls newsThere were two changes from last weekend’s dramatic late draw against Chester City, with Sammy Igoe making way due to injury. Simon Johnson replaced him to line up against his former club. John McCombe was also ruled out, with Karl Broadhurst coming in at centre-half alongside Dean Beckwith. Former Bull Rob Purdie started on the right-wing for Darlington, whilst striking duo Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu and Tommy Wright both started, despite doubts over their match fitness.
The game started slowly, on a tricky pitch, with the first chance falling to Clint Easton after a long free-kick by Wayne Brown had found him via a large bounce, but the winger’s half-volley was blocked by Neil Austin. A deep corner by Easton found Hooper at the back post but his powerful effort was also blocked, before United’s encouraging start nearly found a goal, after some good work from Ben Smith and Hooper, Easton collected on the left-hand side of the box but dragged a shot wide. The winger was at the centre of everything Hereford did in the early stages, and a shot with his right foot took a huge bobble on the turf, and Darlington ‘keeper David Stockdale managed to block the shot…with his head!
The Whites continued to probe, with Steve Guinan slicing wide after a quick one two with Hooper whilst a few minutes later, Guinan’s header released Easton on the left, and he cut in but saw his shot held by Stockdale. Richard Rose got forward well to support Easton, and his clipped cross was nodded harmlessly over by the stretching Hooper. Darlington’s first chance of note fell to Purdie, as he cut in from the right-hand side and shot with his left-foot; the ball took a slight nick of a Hereford man and fell a yard or so past the post. Just before half-time, a Purdie corner was headed back across goal to Michael Cummins who tried to lob Brown with a header, but the former Chester man clawed it over the bar.
The second half started equally, with Purdie looking the main danger for Darlo. His cross-field run resulted in a free-kick; the set-piece was blocked, and two following efforts were also blocked as United defended heroically. At the other end, Rose won the ball in a dangerous area on the left-hand side and cut in, but failed to test Stockdale from the angle. Wright had two half-chances in the space of a few minutes; firstly he headed without power at Brown after Austin had crossed, whilst a break allowed him to shoot from 20 yards, but again, there was little power in it and Brown was equal to it.
Purdie was the only player who really tried to get the ball down and run at Hereford, this time another forward run and a slipped pass to Ndumbu-Nsungu allowed the striker to shoot, but he caught it badly and it fell harmlessly wide. The Bulls took the lead deservedly, after Hooper had won the ball in the final third. He blocked an attempted pass, and the ball rebounded to Johnson who immediately gave it back to Hooper. His pace took him into the box, but his initial shot was saved; however, he collected again, set himself before blasting into the back of the net to hand The Bulls the lead.
A series of subs were made in a short space of time; Theo Robinson replaced Hooper, whilst Darlington made three changes. Scott Wiseman came on for Austin, Ndumbu-Nsungu made way for Ricky Ravenhill and finally, Craig Nelthorpe took the place of Ben Parker. United saw out the final minutes confidently, and both Guinan and Robinson struck shots into the arms of Stockdale, whilst the closest Darlington came was in the midst of a series of corners, Wisemen glided a header past the post.
At the end of the day, Hereford won and that’s all that they can do, but other results didn’t go brilliantly for United. Stockport’s victory at Peterborough means County keep up the pressure on Hereford, whilst Posh will try to win promotion in their next game at Edgar Street. MK Dons also failed to win, and they will be going out to win promotion on Tuesday, when Hereford are the visitors once more. Today though was a good start to the so called “Week of death” with the defence looking strong, including Broadhurst who was a worthy replacement for McCombe.
Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Beckwith, Broadhurst, Rose, Johnson, Smith, Diagouraga, Easton, Guinan, Hooper.
Subs: Esson, Collins, Taylor, Gwynne, Robinson.
Darlington: Stockdale, Austin ,White, Foster, Parker, Purdie, Cummins, Kennedy, Valentine, Wright, Ndumbu-Nsungu.
Subs: Kazimierczak, Miller, Nelthorpe, Ravenhill, Wiseman.