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Monday, July 02, 2018

We've Been There Before - Nuneaton

Continuing BN's look at clubs now in the National North, today a game at Nuneaton from September 12th 2000, a time when the fuel pumps in Hereford ran out.


In seventy six years of football, Hereford United had never won four consecutive away matches - until now! After 2-0 wins at Kettering and Hayes, a 3-0 victory over Woking and then tonight's victory at Nuneaton Borough, Hereford can finally say that they are having their best away run ever!

The seven match unbeaten run has also been extended to eight matches after tonight's win, something which will please manager Graham Turner immensely. Prior to the match, Turner said: "We were slightly disappointed with the level of performance on Saturday but it was a good point for us, all things considered. But we are still in good nick and this is a good opportunity for us to bounce back", and so it was! Former Hereford 'keeper Chris MacKenzie appeared in goal for the home side, making the victory even sweeter for the travelling Herefordians.

United were unchanged from the side which drew with Hednesford on Saturday, and Nuneaton made two changes from the side that drew at Dagenham on Saturday. Thackeray was replaced by Williams and Mark Taylor for Brennan.

The match started brightly with early shots coming from Delton Francis on ten minutes, which went narrowly over Cooksey's bar, and the main of the attacking play came from United. Firstly, with their first major attempt on goal, Hereford took the lead as a Matt Clarke cross from the left was hit low past MacKenzie to give United a vital early cushion.

An even game where both sides probably deserved something, the match was not as one way as it may appear. However, the Unitec advantage was doubled just five minutes later as John Snape knocked a ball through to Kerry Giddings, just outside the penalty area. The striker then hit a superb effort which beat MacKenzie for the second time in the match. Retaining possession for the majority of the half, United had the chance to extend their lead and eventually did so on twenty four minutes. With Phil Robinson on the scoring trail, the former Stoke captain hit a cracking shot which MacKenzie saved but Nuneaton broke and Terry Angus' header was only just cleared off the line by United stalwart Ian Rodgerson.

Nuneaton should have clawed back a goal prior to half-time, but Lee Charles messed up one chance and then Barry Williams hit two headers goalwards - both were cleared off the line by Ian Wright and Chris Lane. Meanwhile, Giddings had a chance cleared by Brennan and then Wright's header met Gavin Williams, but the Welsh striker headed wide of the target.

After the break, Nuneaton came out in a better frame of mind and only took two minutes to break down the Hereford defence. Scott Cooksey conceded his second goal of the season from new Nuneaton striker Marc MacGregor, signed from Forest Green Rovers for £35,000 in the summer. A cross from Mike Love on the left was headed in from ten yards by MacGregor.

Scott Cooksey was kept under pressure for much of the remainder as Nuneaton attacked the Hereford goal. However, Cooksey and Nuneaton striker Francis clashed and treatment for Scott took several minutes. The former Shrewsbury man made a save from Sykes, and soon after James cleared a vital ball from Love.

Scorer Kerry Giddings was replaced by Robin Elmes with fourteen minutes left, but yet again the former Halesowen striker made little impact on the game. John Snape should have put the game beyond doubt in the dying minutes when Robin Elmes missed the ball and Snape caught on, hitting a low drive but it was cleared by a defender.

The referee, Mr D Naylor from Sutton-in-Ashfield, had a very uneventful night as only made one booking in the ninety minutes, a sign that both sides played the game in a good spirit. However, this record was wrecked in the final minute when, after Kotylo had been booked late on for a foul, both Simpson and Williams were cautioned for unsporting behaviour.

Just 1,362 watched the match at Manor Park, maybe due to recent poor results for the home side, more likely due to the fuel shortage at the moment! Whatever, the away support was dramatically reduced through a shortage of petrol in Hereford - I understand nearly every garage is out. Nevertheless, the two hundred fans that did make the trip to deepest Warwickshire will come home pleased with the three points.

Hereford - Cooksey, Lane, Clarke, Robinson, Wright, James, Rodgerson, Snape, McIndoe, Giddings, Williams
Substitutions - Parry (35), Elmes (76).

Man of the Match - Scott Cooksey