Saturday, November 16, 2019

Makeshift Bulls Thumped 5-1 at Altrincham

Harwood Bull Reports from Altrincham.

Injuries and absence of players for international games meant that Hereford started this game without a recognised central striker and a cobbled together back four which was missing both the first choice full backs. Any team lining up like that is going to have problems at both ends of the park and so it proved today.

It didn’t go that way right from the start, however. After six minutes Tommy O’Sullivan started a run from a wide position on the left, cutting inside to let go a curling shot which thumped against the post with the home keeper well beaten. 

Two minutes later O’Sullivan’s free kick, after Jordan Nicholson was brought down, from just outside the penalty area was saved by the Robins’ keeper – the rebound fell to Pope but his shot was into the side netting. 

Hereford continued to show some good touches and neat passing, and for a while it looked as if we were in for a good afternoon.

The first warning that it was misplaced confidence came after Wall was put through for Alty and rounded Hall, but Bodenham was back to block the shot for a corner. 

From another corner six minutes later the home side took the lead, the ball dropping for defender Tom Hanningan to score. Two minutes later a low driven cross from White was turned home by Hulme to make it two-nil, and Hereford were in a deep trouble. Within three minutes Hulme was through on goal again, although suspiciously close to offside, and chipped Brandon Hall neatly but to Hereford’s relief the ball came back off the crossbar and was cleared.

It was clear from then on that we were likely to be on the wrong end of a thrashing. The early confidence had gone, and Altrincham kept surging forward. The rearranged defence was not looking comfortable under pressure, and every corner had them looking like rabbits in the headlights. Up front wasn’t looking much better. Vincenti wore number 9 but held his usual wide role – he won a few headers but wasn’t able to find a team mate with any of them. Victor Sodeinde has pace but saw little of the ball, and Nicholson made a few runs but nothing resulted from them.

Thankfully we made it to half time without conceding again.

Half Time: Altrincham FC 2 Hereford FC 0

During half time former Hereford United stalwart Keith Hicks was spotted in the crowd by some of the Bulls fans who asked him if he fancied a game. He said he hadn’t brought his boots, but even without them he might have stiffened the defence up.

The Bulls started the second half well, as they did the first, but again it was a false dawn. After 57 minutes Hulme hit a powerful low shot which Hall got his hands to but it still found the net. Many thought Hall was at fault. 

Brad Ash came on for Sodeinde shortly after – he ran around a lot but made little impact. After 63 minutes Hereford pulled one back – Vincenti scoring with a simple finish from Gowling’s knock down.

It didn’t take long for Alty to restore their three goal lead. Gowling was caught faffing around on the ball and lost possession. The ball was moved forward quickly and played in to man-of-the-match Hulme who completed his hat-trick with a crisp shot. Two minutes later it was five, with the Bulls looking bewildered. The ball was flicked over the Hereford defence to Densmore who slammed it home from a narrow angle.

That was the end of the scoring. Owen-Evans and Bray came on in the latter stages but made little impact.

Full Time: Altrincham FC 5 Hereford C 1

I’ve seen Hereford play at lot worse than that without receiving a thrashing, and to their credit they kept trying to play football until the end. That’s not much comfort however. The scoreline doesn’t lie, they were seriously lacking in the two things that matter in football – scoring goals and keeping them out at the other end, which is pretty much where I came in with my opening remarks.

Hereford FC: Brandon Hall, Jason Pope, Jack Bodenham, Ben Pollock, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, Josh Gowling, Victor Sodeinde, Stephen Dawson, Peter Vincenti, Tommy O'Sullivan, Jordan Nicholson

Subs: Martin Riley, Tom Owen-Evans, Kelsey Mooney, Brad Ash, Alex Bray

Attendance: 1506 with 192 from Hereford.