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Thursday, April 23, 2020

On This Day - April 23rd 2002

BN looks back to April 23rd 2002 and the HFA Senior Invitation Cup.

HEREFORD United take on Swansea City at Edgar Street tonight in the Herefordshire Football Association Senior Invitation Cup Final, kick off 7.30pm.

The two sides haven't met since 1996 so tonight's encounter should revive an old rivalry from Football League and Welsh Cup days. Swansea are playing in their third HFA final, but their first two were back in 1950s.

"It has not been played for several years and usually it is held during pre-season but we want to win it and keep the cup in Herefordshire," said Bulls chairman Graham Turner.

Hereford coach Phil Robinson will be without defenders Richard Holmes (hamstring) and Dean Barrick (unavailable) but midfielder Ian Rodgerson is fit again.
   
HEREFORD United 2 - 1 Swansea City (report by Terry Goodwin)

Two late goals from substitute Steve Piearce ensured the Herefordshire Football Association Senior Invitation Cup remained in its rightful place - the Edgar Street trophy cabinet - as the Bulls overcame third division Swansea City 2-1.

Hereford named a slighty understrength side in preparation for Saturday's trip to Stevenage Borough. Matt Baker and Gavin Williams were left out of the squad, with Stuart Jones and Rob Elmes replacing them. Ross Diamond was also named in the starting eleven as Scott Goodwin dropped into the full-back position. John Shirley also started with Dean Barrick and Richard Holmes both missing. On the bench, Ian Rodgerson returned and Mark Lowery made his first Hereford appearance.

Swansea, under the management of Nick Cusack, played a fairly strong side. Hereford fans welcomed the return of ex-Bulls attacker John Williams.

The opening goal came after just two minutes. Scott Goodwin allowed John Williams through on the Swansea right of the box and as he approached Jones, the ball was cut across. Steve Watkin had no problems tapping it into an empty net from close range.

A couple of minutes later, Hereford had a superb chance to equalise. A long cross ball from Ross Diamond was picked up by Jimmy Quiggin, who cut in from the left before smashing the ball onto the bar. It bounced down and was cleared away by Swans captain Kristian O'Leary.

From then on, the first half was a rather disappointing affair. Swansea should have gone two goals up when a Williams cross ran behind Jonathan Coates, but Hereford had the better of the play. On the half hour mark, Diamond wasted an opening at the other end when his angled run from the left ran across the area and just wide of the far post.

Both sides made use of their five allowed substitutes, with Hereford making four over the whole evening. Graham Turner's final change came twenty minutes from time when Rob Elmes fell to the floor, rolling around in agony. He had appeared to have injured his upper leg and the stretcher was called, although he hobbled off. The ex-Halesowen attacker is now expected to miss Saturday's trip to Stevenage, and Mark Lowery came on to replace him.

With seven minutes left, Hereford were on top. A long pass from John Snape proved the catalyst for a superb run by Paul Parry on the left. He ran inside before crossing a low ball which substitute Steve Piearce converted easily. Swans goalkeeper Jason Jones appeared stunned by the goal!

As the rules read, the teams were set for a penalty shoot-out. Hereford continued to surge forward, with Parry smashing the ball over the bar from a Chris Rowell cross. Then, in added time, Piearce cut in from the left as the Swansea right-back fell over, before send a low shot from close range into the back of the net. In the ninety second minute, Hereford had the lead.

There was little more action on a night which saw Hereford pick up their first Trophy since 1995/96, when they last won the competition. Since then, Bristol City, Shrewsbury Town and Newport County have all won the prize, so it's good to have it back where it belongs - at Edgar Street.

Hereford United: Stuart Jones, John Shirley, Scott Goodwin, Phil Robinson, Ian Wright (captain, off, 56 minutes), Tony James, Ross Diamond, John Snape, Rob Elmes (off, 73 minutes), Jimmy Quiggin (off, 67 minutes), Paul Parry
Subs: Steve Piearce (on, 56 minutes), Lee Evans, Ian Rodgerson (on, half time), Chris Rowell (on, 67 minutes), Mark Lowery (on, 73 minutes)
Scorers: Steve Piearce (83 minutes, 90 minutes)
Man of the Match: "The team!"
Attendance: 435
Referee: Mr. S. Moggs 

After the game:

FOLLOWING last night's 2-1 win over Swansea City in the HFA Senior Invitation Cup Final, Hereford United attacker Steve Piearce has hinted at his likely departure.

Piearce, who came on for Ian Wright with just over half an hour left and scored twice, told the Evening News: "It's nice to finish at Edgar Street with a brace and win the cup for Hereford."

Some people, including BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens, have called for the match to be played in pre-season and the disappointing crowd of just 435 reflected this.

The United squad members were presented with the Trophy by the former Hereford MP, and President of the Herefordshire Football Association, Sir Colin Shepherd.