Saturday, August 10, 2019

Hereford’s Hopes Gash’d Again

Substitute Mike Symons Scored Hereford's Only Goal
Gomez the Mexican Cat watched Hereford at The Walks this afternoon.

King’s Lynn Town 3 – Hereford 1

Given the geographical distance the Linnets v the Bulls is not the most obvious of rivalries, but two seasons ago the teams battled it out to win the Southern Premier League. Despite King’s Lynn doing the double over Hereford, it was the Bulls who were triumphant in the promotion stakes. However, when the Liinnets lost somewhat surprisingly to Slough in the play off final that had a knock on effect of cementing our fate in the National League North. Last season King’s Lynn gained promotion via the play offs and hostilities resumed at The Walks.

The walk from the railway station to The Walks is one of the most attractive to a football ground around, through a beautifully maintained park after which the ground is named. From the 15th century Red Mount Chapel to the bandstand and lines of trees, only Darlington comes close to having such a lovely route and if I say this was one of the highlights of the trip, you will realise that today just wasn’t our day. The ground has open terracing behind the goals, a covered terrace along one side and a large stand with seating and standing in front along the other side.

Of those at Hereford 2 years ago, only Mike Symons, and Jordan Cullinane-Liburd remain whilst at King’s Lynn there are 6 players who were present then including the prolific Michael Gash. Promotion to the National League has meant various changes at King’s Lynn, one of which is segregation, with Hereford fans standing behind the goal at one end with additional places in the stand. With the season just a week in, both teams have made a reasonable start with a win a piece and the bookies made Hereford slight favourites for this game. Having seen both of the games in 2018 I’d have settled for the draw before we set out, with difficult opponents playing at home and a pretty terrible weather forecast thrown in.

There was one change in the Hereford team with Pope coming in for Riley who went off injured on Tuesday and didn’t feature today.

The first 20 minutes or so were a bit scrappy. King’s Lynn had a couple of half chances that went high and wide, but they settled the quicker, and seemed to cope better with the swirling wind. Hereford gained their first corner when Nicholson’s shot was scrambled into the side netting but it was the hosts going the closer. Gash had a shot that came off Pope and another that Hall spilled but recovered in time and then Marriott had a shot across the goal that just needed touch to score, fortunately there were no King’s Lynn players there. But in the 25th minute Hereford’s luck ran out and a cross from the excellent Fox was headed in by Gash, his third goal in three games against the Bulls. 

Hereford’s main chance of the half came when Rowan Liburd put Nicholson through but his shot went wide. In the last minute of the two added at the end of the half, King’s Lynn doubled their lead when Hereford failed to clear a ball pinging around the box and Gash got it through to Henderson who slotted home.

Styche came on for Pope for the second half and after Henderson shot wide for King’s Lynn, he had his first chance when he had a one on one chance that the keeper saved. 

Hereford’s fate was then sealed with the third goal for the hosts, a shot/cross looping over Hall in to the top corner of the net from the right. 

By now it was damage limitation and at this stage I feared we’d be in for a real beating. Hall was our man of the match, palming shots wide and over. Things then got worse for Hereford when Styche was brought down as he went forward, Clunan was booked for the tackle, but the Hereford man fell awkwardly and had to come off in considerable pain, with what looks like a worrying shoulder injury. 

That brought Symons onto the pitch and we actually picked up then. Nicholson brought a flying save from the King’s Lynn keeper and then Symons tapped in an Ash cross to make it 3-1. 

That was it for Hereford though and it was the hosts who nearly added to their total, with Marriott failing to make the most of a Cullinane-Liburd error with another save by Hall.

King’s Lynn looked a really decent side and the continuity of squad has obviously helped. Clunan was playing his 200th game for the club and certainly at home they are a force to be reckoned with. Although Clunan was given man of the match, Nathan Fox and Chris Henderson stood out for me. As for Hereford, we didn’t play well. King’s Lynn looked fitter, stronger, were quicker to the ball, more creative, better than us in all aspects. In fact 3-1 was a decent result for us, it could have been so much worse if Hall hadn’t made some good saves and King’s Lynn hadn’t spurned several excellent chances.

Not sure about that bookie who made us favourites for this game, we were never at the races and Richards needs to pick the squad up before the Telford game on Tuesday. Was this just a bad day at the office, or something more worrying? We have a new squad, a lot of players getting used to one another and already an injury list. I didn’t make the Gloucester game but thought we did okay against a strong Spennymoor side so let’s hope today was just one of those days when nothing goes right and we can go again in another local derby next week.

Hereford: Brandon Hall, Jared Hodgkiss, Jason Pope (Reece Styche 45, Mike Symons 62) Kieran Thomas, Jordan Cullinand-Liburd, Josh Gowling ©, Jordan Nicholson, Jacob Crane, Rowan Liburd, Tom Owen-Evans, Raheem Hanley (Bradley Ash) subs not used Tommy O’Sullivan, Simeon Maye

King’s Lynn: Alex Street, Aaron Jones, Nathan Fox, Chris Smith, Ryan Fryatt, Rory McAuley, Michael Clunan ©, Ryan Jarvis, Michael Gash( Jordan Richards), Michael Gash, Adam Marriott (Sam Kelly), Chris Henderson (Ryan Hawkins) subs not used Alfie Payne, Sonny Carey.

Attendance 1148

New season, clean slate for Richards, Harris et al. Good season ticket sales (certainly far better than I expected), reasonable pre-season and 2 good results, one against last year’s losing play off finalists and a local derby win. And then last night the news that Eliot Richards had left the club – with conflicting accounts from the player and the club. We had an experienced skilful midfielder, arguably one of our best players last season and they can’t find room in the budget? Seriously? This is not bad news for Eliot Richards, I have no doubt he will find a new club but it isn’t a great move by Marc Richards. The reaction on social media was overwhelmingly negative to this news and yet again any goodwill towards the management team dissipates. They say there is no room for sentiment in football but there is for common sense and no-one at Hereford appears to have any.