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Sunday, May 03, 2020

On This Day - Bulls Celebrate Promotion With Convincing Victory

Twelve years ago today Hereford United celebrated promotion to League One with victory over Grimsby Town.

A look back:

Bulls sign off from League Two with win

Hereford United ended their two year spell in League Two with a convincing 2-0 home victory over Grimsby Town. 6020 supporters turned up to Edgar Street to join in the party-like atmosphere to celebrate promotion and were treated to an entertaining match. First-half strikes from Ben Smith and Theo Robinson ensured United finished the season with 88 points, just four shy of Peterborough.
With no pressure on them, Graham Turner handed made six changes to the side that sealed promotion at Brentford last Saturday. Ryan Esson replaced the injured Wayne Brown whilst defensive duo Lee Collins and Robbie Threlfall replaced Karl Broadhurst and Richard Rose respectively. Kris Taylor started on left-wing with Clint Easton missing out, whilst departed loan duo Sammy Igoe and Gary Hooper were replaced by Simon Johnson and Steve Guinan.
The game started with the end of season fell; neat interplay by either team but no end product. Nathan Jarman curled effort was held by Esson, whilst Johnson's burst saw the winger place a shot past the post with his left-foot. An important block from Smith denied Phil Bolland, before the follow-up effort from Danny Boshell forced a fine save from Esson as he dived to his right to push the shot out for a corner in mid-air. Rob Atkinson's long-range effort rose harmlessly over, whilst Taylor did likewise, as he spooned one over from 25 yards. Good link-up from Toumani Diagouraga and Guinan, saw the Frenchman drag a shot past the post from just outside the area.
The opening goal came just ten minutes before half-time, after some good build up. Guinan's precise pass found Taylor on the edge of the box, and from the left-hand side, played a fine ball into the danger area where Smith slid in to finish. Grimsby were nearly level within minutes, when a lack of concentration from Diagouraga saw an awful back-pass be latched on by Danny North, but a toe-poke finish was blocked by Esson, who looked solid throughout. Robinson blasted wide from a tight angle after Guinan had layed the ball on for him, before the Watford loanee got on the scoresheet minutes later. Taylor picked up the ball mid-way in Grimsby's half, and found Robinson with a through ball which the youngster finished with his left-foot. The marking wasn't the best, but Robinson didn't mind, as he notched up 14th league goal of the season. On the stroke of half-time, Guinan's floated pass was controlled by Robinson, but the end product saw him drag his shot wide.
At half-time, Grimsby introduced Martin Butler and Matthew Bird for Jarman and North. The second-half was all Hereford, with some neat football being played. Taylor's trickery took him into the area on the by-line, but Dean Beckwith's strike from Taylor's cut-back was blocked. Diagouraga's energy was well recognised as he won the sponsors man of the match, along with Taylor. The Frenchman's powerful run allowed him to find Guinan but from the left-hand side of the box, the former Cheltenham striker blasted wide. Ryan Bennett's header into the hands of Esson was a rare attack for the visitors. They introduced Andy Taylor for Peter Till but to little avail. Two free-kicks from Hereford's Taylor resulted in half-chances, with Guinan and Beckwith meeting them with their heads, but failing to hit the target.
Trevor Benjamin replaced Guinan, whose role didn't result in a goal, but his all round play was impressive. A huge punt forward by Esson was met by Benjamin, and Robinson raced onto the ball. After setting himself, he blasted a shot goalwards which was palmed by Phil Barnes; the ball bounced nicely to Robinson again, and he headed for Taylor who poked it goalwards, but the defender on the line managed to head it clear to safety. Broadhurst replaced Trent McClenahan, and minutes later John McCombe came on for Beckwith, in what could have been his last appearence for the club with Wolves expressing an interest in the defender. In between the subs, Threlfall curled a free-kick a foot past the post, whilst at the other end, Bolland's long bouncing effort failed to trouble Esson. Robinson tried his best to finish the game and the season on a personal high, with three different chances. A header from a Smith cross bounced wide, whilst a powerful shot after cutting in from the left was blocked by Barnes' body. In the final minute, an ambitious 35 yard lob/shot from Robinson sailed over.
After the match, the players were able to do their 'lap of honour', and were greeted by a huge ovation from the happy fans. As they approaced the end of the lap, there was a mini pitch invasion, but little does it matter; Hereford are up, and League One is the destination for next season!
The match felt like a pre-season friendly, but with no pressure, Hereford were able to play their 'carpet' football freely. It was a good spectacle, with all the side impressing. In particular, Esson looked a good replacement for Brown, whilst loanees Threlfall and Collins had fine games at the back. Diagouraga was in fine form in the middle, and Turner needs to do his utmost to ensure he returns next season. As for his Watford team-mate, a return looks less likely, but the striker has been on great form in the past three games. Next season will see trips to Tranmere, Millwall and Huddersfield, and derbies with Swindon, Cheltenham, Bristol Rovers and Walsall. It's going to be good!
On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone who has read my reports, and hope that they have been worthwhile to you! Now, what to do on these Saturday afternoons? August 9th 2008. I'll see you there.
Hereford: Esson, McClenahan, Beckwith, Collins, Threlfall, Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith, Taylor, Guinan, Robinson.
Subs: Rose, Broadhurst, McCombe, Gwynne, Benjamin.
Grimsby: Barnes, Atkinson, Clarke, Bennett, Newey, Till, Bolland, Boshell, Hegarty, Jarman, North.
Subs: Montgomery, Bore, Taylor, Bird, Butler.

Reaction:

In the post match press conference, as reported in the Grimsby Telegraph, Graham Turner thought a slow start was soon put right:

"We have had an excellent season, not only winning promotion but we have also had some very good cup results and performances. It was important to win the game and I think we did things right after a sluggish start.

We had a few days of celebrations earlier in the week but the players got themselves focussed again. I thought we deserved the win and that we might have scored more goals.''

Mariners boss Alan Buckley was far from impressed with his own side, but admitted the Bulls - and last weeks' opponents Peterboro - were justifiably promoted:

"Both teams look like promotion winning sides for sure, but they had a different way of doing it. Obviously Peterborough had all the finances while Hereford have done it differently, having shown that it can be done by having players with lots of desire and hunger.

As far as ourselves go, we have gone from a mean-looking fighting-machine type of team to one that has totally lost the desire and effort and why that should happen I don't know.''