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Saturday, August 01, 2020

On This Day Twenty Years Ago - Hereford Draw With Oxford

Back to August 2000 for today's archive article. It's pre-season and Hereford are at home to Oxford United.

HEREFORD UNITED 1 - 1 OXFORD UNITED (report by Terry Goodwin)

Oxford United must be commended with the strength of the side that they fielded against Hereford United tonight, but manager Denis Smith must be slightly disappointed with what was a fair result. With former West Ham midfielder Joey Beauchamp, Leeds player Derek Lilley and former Wales Under 21 star Lee Jarman all participating, Oxford were always going to be a formidable side to break down.

Hereford, however, fielded a strong team but Turner left out both Piearce and Elmes to try out a new Craig Hanson - Dai Thomas partnership, the latter on-trial from Cardiff City.

The game itself was a fairly even affair with both Hereford and Oxford creating a fair number of openings, and, it has to be said, a few chances that went begging in front of goal. It was the away side from Division Two who gained the first corner, barely half a minute into the action, but Hereford came back and started pressurising inside the Oxford half.

Craig Hanson again lacked physical presence in his forward role, but showed off his skill on several occasions, firstly with good footwook in the fifth minute before providing a good cross. Perhaps, Hanson should have been in the area getting onto the end of the crosses, not providing them. All in all, the night was one of fairly good football from Hereford. The hoof-and-hope approach against Aston Villa was disposed for good, precise passing. Although this created mistakes, it is much more entertaining to watch for the 864 people inside the ground, and worked well when Snape, Rodgerson and Hanson linked, but Hanson was unable to get to the ball before the advancing goalkeeper. Hanson again showed off is skill after around twenty minutes when good footwork created a cross for Thomas to head just wide of the near post. Despite good play, Hanson's lack of physical presence was underlined around halfway through the first half, when he was bundled off the ball (legally!), something which wouldn't happen to Robin Elmes, for example.

Scott Cooksey had a sturdy game in goal but made one huge mistake with ten minutes of the first half remaining. With Emmanuel Omoyinmi, the former West Ham youngster, advancing upon him , Cooksey grabbed the ball but fumbled it under him. Luckily, the ball went out for a corner which he caught with his usual authority in the box.

Hereford continued to create efforts, with Dai Thomas heading just over and Ian Rodgerson heading just wide. Thomas, a Cardiff striker, had a good game but didn't get the right kind of chances to prove what he is capable of.

With around twenty minutes left, Richie Bernard, an on-trial 'keeper (yes, another!) was brought on for Cooksey and he was truly awful. Firstly, his mistake let the goal in, and soon after he let a header through which had to be cleared off the line by Matt Gardiner. A Joey Beauchamp corner was met by the head on Ian McGuckin for the goal, leaving Bernard stranded.

However, Hereford hit back with eight minutes left. McIndoe took the freekick short and passed to Ian Rodgerson. Dodge then took the ball out wide on the right and from twenty yards hit a screaming shot past Jimmy Glass, the Carlisle 'keeper who sent Scarborough into the Conference, in the Oxford United goal.

This was by far the most impressive home friendly that we have seen so far in the pre-season, but that's not saying much considering the performance against Aston Villa! Whilst the Bulls are still lacking up front, the rest of the team is progressing a treat!

Hereford - Cooksey, Clarke, Sturgess, Robinson, Wright, James, Rodgerson, Snape, Thomas, Hanson, Williams.
Substitutes who came on - Lane, McIndoe, Elmes, Gardiner, Shirley, Bernard.