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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Symo doubles downs Bulls

Former Bull Mike Symons netted twice as Weston-super-Mare eased past Hereford at the Optima Stadium. Josh Gowling started with just three confirmed signings; Paul White in the sticks, Jared Hodgkiss at right-back and Jamie Grimes at the heart of defence. It was probably the first time I've watched Hereford and known as many players from the opposition than I knew from our own; Weston started with Keiran Thomas, Jacob Jagger-Cane and Symons leading the line, alongside former Forest Green striker Dayle Grubb.

Hereford started the game well and were spraying the ball around confidently along the back-line and through midfield, without causing to much trouble up front. The first opportunity arrived when a short free-kick by White eventually made its way into midfield, and one of the trialists (possibly former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke was who rumoured to be among the many) slid a pass through to the Hereford striker, another trialist, who struck just past the far post from a great position inside the box. Weston then started to grow in the game with Nick McCootie's long-range shot deflected at White. On the half hour mark, Weston took the lead. Good work down the left-hand side by the impressive and energetic Ryan Jones allowed him to cross and Symons smartly back-heeled in. Weston looked to build on their one goal advantage towards the end of the half with White having to be on hand to deny a powerful Greg Tindle header from a corner, before Grubb curled a free-kick just past the post from a good position. Just before the break, the Hereford trialist left-back blazed a long-range left foot shot just over the bar after a quickly taken set-piece.

Without the expected significant changes at half-time, Weston continued to probe on Hereford's goal with Symons causing problems once again. A deep cross from the right was nodded down into his path by Scott Laird, but Symo was denied by a strong defensive challenge inside the box. Hereford sub 'keeper Rhys Lovett was on hand to push away a low Grubb shot from 25 yards, before Weston added a second. It was a familiar sight to Hereford supporters as Symo pounced first inside a crowded box, following good work from Grubb to double Weston's lead.

Further chances followed as the subs started to impact the game - Laird stung the 'keeper's fingertips, before McCootie breezed past Hodgkiss but curled a right-foot shot past the far post from an acute angle. Former Cardiff City youngster Lloyd Humphries snapshot was dragged wide before Hereford mustered up a rare effort on goal, a cross from the left-hand side was headed goalwards by a trialist but it was easy pickings for the Weston goalkeeper.

A useful exercise against a strong Weston team on a pleasent afternoon in Somerset. Hereford kept the ball on the ground but a lack of striking options, combined with unfamiliarity within the team due to the number of trialists allowed Weston to take control. Gowling will be looking to finalise deals for a number of players in the coming week or two, to hopefully go into the final friendlies with a more settled squad.