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Saturday, August 11, 2018

REPORT - Smash And Grab At Nash

After the chaotic experience at Nuneaton, away fans were treated to a superbly run Curzon Ashton. A small but well-run club house with many pictures of the club’s recent triumphs. A club and programme shop to keep the collector happy. I spotted a Bulmer’s cup programme, but it was in Ireland. Best of all a big terrace to watch a game from, none of the three and four step blandness of so many new grounds, with a tidy main stand opposite.

Hereford welcomed Harvey Smith into the team with Ryan Green getting married. Lewis Hall came in for the injured Myrie-Williams. Hereford were the first to press with Richards winning a cross which he took deep. Smith headed back into the middle of the box, but Mason claimed it. As Curzon Ashton broke forward Liburd came into challenge but fouled. The Curzon Ashton players were quick to surround the referee who surprisingly booked Jordan.

Connor Hughes put a cross in from the left, but the Liburd-Smith partnership comfortably dealt with it. After ten minutes good work by Hall down the left found Lance Smith whose shot on the edge of the six-yard box was blocked for a corner. Curzon broke from the corner with Rowney feeding Guest. Harvey Smith blocking Guest’s shot for a corner. Hughes corner was taken well by Horsell. McGrath got forward on the left and played Greenslade in to be one on one in the box with only the keeper to beat, but his shot was weak and saved by Mason.

Another Hall cross almost found Greenslade who slipped. Curzon Ashton were breaking well and mounted another quick counter attack. Hall was making regular progress down the left and his next ball resulted in a goalmouth scramble with Smith’s effort being blocked. Richard having a good game floated in a beautiful ball and White headed wide.

White got down the left wing, but centre back Shaw was very quick and got back to rob him. Captain Hunt who was very physical and the sharp Shaw were making for a difficult afternoon for White who was isolated by himself for much of the first half. Hall won another corner, but Richards dead ball was cleared. Ashton broke again on 29 minutes and centre forward Ryan Brooke wrestled himself clear and shot across Horsell. The referee called a foul on Liburd which many Hereford fans struggled to see.

Billy Murphy played the pass of Hereford’s season so far with a delightful scoop chip from just outside the box on to the penalty spot, finding Hall who should have placed it but who hit it hard and low with Mason making a very good save.

Just before half time Horsell tries to punch Away Guest’s corner but doesn’t get much power on it. It drops to Baillie whose superb strike rebounds from the underside of the crossbar and Horsell gathers to much relief.

Hereford have had the best of the half but without finding enough cutting edges and Curzon have looked dangerous on the break.

HT 0-0

Over half time the wind got up and became a little blustery. With Curzon having it behind them it allowed them to start to take control in the second half. Thomas on the right crossed for Lance Smith at the near post but his shot just outside the post hit the side netting. 

McGrath had a good shot from 25 yards out. Right back Baillie whose earlier shot had hit the bar puts in a good cross which Horsell did well to claim. Hughes beat Greenslade for pace down the right and put in a cross towards Guest lurking at the far post. Liburd swivelled and stretched to back heel volley away. A superb clearance from the skipper. Much as White was struggling to get change from the Ashton centre backs, Liburd and Smith were comfortably holding Brooke who seemed to be irritated at times by Jordan’s calmness.

Hughes was having a good patch and heading through the middle Thomas timed an excellent tackle taking the ball comfortably, with Hughes falling as he collided with Thomas after the ball had gone away. The referee harshly penalised Thomas for a dangerous free kick. Baillie it hard and low but Horsell comfortably claimed it.

Right back Baillie was buzzing for Nash and fed by McJannet he surged towards goal, Hall sliding in for an important tackle.

Hereford took off McGrath and Hall on 68 minutes replacing them with Dinsley and Bird. A minute late Nash replaced Fawns with Crankshaw. Thomas was booked harshly for a challenge on Hughes, but possibly for a series of fouls although the referee had wrongly called the “worst” of those.

A great break by Hereford sees Lance Smith well placed down the middle but he decides against taking it forward himself and overhits a pass to the rampaging Bird. Hughes was getting forward consistently and when tackled by Dinsley went down a little theatrically. The referee booked Hughes, but it looked as if there was a foul. However, Hughes had never missed an opportunity to go down so perhaps the referee was fed up with the theatrics.

Hereford’s subs injected new much needed life. Curzon had been on top since the break. Several passes on the left between Richards, Greenslade and Bird showed impressive ball retention. Finally, Bird pinged in a cross towards the penalty spot. White pulled forward of his marker, twisting and taking a first time shot on the volley in one graceful movement burying the ball just inside the post, and giving Mason no chance.

Apologies For The Out Of Focus Photos Of White's Goal

Nash responded to the goal by bringing on Cummins for the ineffectual Brooke and McKenzie for Marshall. Both substitutions seemed to bring on some starch as Curzon stiffened up. To the irritation of many Bulls fans Nash had shown a proclivity for going down and managing the referee. A higher level of “professionalism” which Hereford will have to manage. It was notable though that needing a goal and tired in the last part of the match Curzon Ashton became a lot more focused on keeping the game going. Hereford did slow things down with Horsell getting a warning for taking his time.

Eliot Richards With A Shot Late In The Game
Guest fired in from distance but to no effect. Hereford broke and White fired in a fantastic curling shot which Mason did well to save. Having been shackled for much of the game Harry White was now with hid endurance turning the tables on the defenders.

On full time four extra minutes were announced with Sainty replacing the impressive Richards.
Ashton forced corners but did not pose a threat even when their keeper came up in injury time, but Horsell claims again. Finally, with time running out Guest shoots from distance just over the bar.

Hereford just about deserved this win. Curzon played some fast, attractive football, especially on the break. Horsell had a good game apart from one por punch and a near escape when passing around at the back. Thomas had a tricky job coping with Ashton’s most impressive attacker Hughes, and did not get forward as much he has done. Greenslade did get forward more and played his part in creating the goal. Congratulations to Ryan Green on his marriage but it was very impressive first date for Harvey Smith and Jordan Liburd who look a lovely couple. Murphy got through lots of work and played one exquisite through ball worthy of a goal. McGrath was good defensively but did not penetrate going forward. Lance Smith worked hard but missed his best opportunities. He looked better once Bird came on and he was able to play more centrally. Richards looks a quality player at this level and already a player opposing teams are picking out as one to stop. Hall started well but faded. His work on the wings was very good, but he should have done better with the chances he was presented with. Dinsley and Bird coming on livened up Hereford and those calling for more minutes for Bird will feel vindicated. Dinsley’s work is less obvious but just as important.

Three clean sheets, what a well-coached team.

Tuesday night, Hereford 3rd play Leamington 4th, it’s the first top of the table tussle of the season.

Attendance: 416