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Friday, August 10, 2018

Preview: Curzon Ashton vs Hereford FC

The Bulls hit the road for the second time in five days tomorrow, with the Yeomans satnav set for Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, for their third outing in the VNLN as, er, no-one’s really calling it, against Curzon Ashton.

Tuesday’s hard working 0-0 draw at Nuneaton contrasted with the impressive footballing performance against Blyth, but demonstrated another important facet to the new squad – the ability to grittily compete to get something from the game. Having dominated early on without actually breaking the deadlock, Hereford then at least matched their full-time opponents for the rest of the match.

The fact that this will be the third game in eight days could bring a change or two to the starting XI. This may mean some straight swaps (Dinsley for McGrath perhaps), and maybe something slightly more surprising. Jamie Bird was given a few minutes at the end of the game on Tuesday and in that short time hinted at his potential for unlocking defences, so perhaps he could be considered, with JMW stepping down to the bench.

Unfortunately, it looks like this may be a match too soon for Keyon Reffell to be in contention as he recovers from his foot injury.

Curzon finished 18th last season, like next Tuesday’s opponents Leamington finishing on 49 points, just three clear of relegation. This season they’ve experienced mixed fortunes in their opening two games, creditably coming away from Darlington with the points after a narrow 2-1 win, but then getting comfortably beaten 3-0 at home to strongly fancied Chester on Monday. They’ve therefore enjoyed a slightly longer period of recovery than Hereford.

Fans may remember that a couple of seasons ago Westfields took the Mancunians to a replay in the first round of the Cup, losing 3-1 away after holding them to a 1-1 draw on Widemarsh Common.

Of course, it’s still far too early in the season to confidently identify winnable games, but given that Curzon struggled last season, and have never played at a higher level than this in their history, it certainly looks to be one to be optimistic about. 

Regardless of the score on the hour, I for one would like to see Pete Beadle show some faith in the players he’s got on the bench and make a change or two to keep things fresh, especially as the first three games will have been more or less back-to-back in warm weather, inevitably causing fatigue.

It’ll also be interesting to see if the full backs heed Beads’ call for them to push on more. Greenslade looked threatening coming forward and linking with the attackers against Blyth, and it would be great to see more of that. OK, it may leave us open at the back a little, but it’s guaranteed to ensure that the matches this season will be exciting. Still not sure about white-booted full backs though. I recall one from years and years ago, Welsh he was, their youngest ever international, scored quite an important goal once, featured in a song based on Yellow Submarine. The fancy boots never suited him either. I wonder what ever happened to him.

Would love to be on seven points from three games at 5pm tomorrow. Wouldn’t that set things up perfectly for a home match under the lights on Tuesday against one of the division’s likely strugglers.

Finally, what a good example of the importance of the humble space bar at the very start of this preview.

...and finally, finally: "He's got a bit of pace, and he is very, very mobile" - wasn't he ever. Adam Stansfield RIP.