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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

On This Day In 2007 - At Least It Was Sunny

The last day of the 2006/07 season and an away game for Hereford at Torquay on Saturday May 5th.
 

What a way to end the season; a nice journey to the south coast on a sunny May day to pick up an easy three points against the already relegated Torquay United. Well, you would have thought so but the outcome of a 0-0 draw was not suprising if you look at Hereford United's recent form. Whatever happened to the free flowing attacking football that The Bulls have shown glimpses of this season?

As for the game itself, Graham Turner made two changes to his starting eleven that fell at the feet of rivals Shrewsbury Town last week, both in attack with top scorers Andy Williams and, playing against his former club, Alan Connell. There were also places on the bench for youngsters Sam Gwynne and Jordan Fitzpatrick. However, if the change in the front line was intended to solve The Whites' scoring problems he was wrong, probably because once again the general mentality and service was poor.

Despite having their fair share of shots, Hereford rarely made goalkeeper Horsell work. Ben Smith saw an early shot blocked before Trent McClenahan crossed from the right to Williams. Williams took the ball down and then, with a Roone-esque touch, beat his marker but his low drive rebounded clear off the legs of the goalie. At the other end the visitors had player of the season Rob Purdie to thank for keeping their clean sheet in tact, as he was on hand to head clear off the line when Hill headed goalwards following a corner.

Williams had the ball in the net before Connell lifted just wide, but both attempts were ruled offside, before Torquay had a dominant spell midway through the half but didn't force Wayne Brown into any work. Hill saw a long ranger deflect behind for a corner before Tamika Mkandawire stole in in front of Cooke to deny him a run at goal, after the hosts carved open Hereford's defence with a good passing move. Referee Andy Woolmer (remember him?) drew the half to a close with the sides level.

The second half started with Connell threatening as he floated a long shot wide but then almost connected with a cross from McClenahan, but Horsell managed to punch clear. Williams created some space just inside the box having received the ball to feet from a free kick but saw his curling effort come back off the crossbar before his strike-partner Connell shot into the 'keepers arms when Smith lifted a ball over the defence.

Brown was forced into action, but made easy work of an Rueben Reid's volley before Hereford, like Torquay did in the first half, enjoyed a good spell midway through the half without forcing the goalkeeper into any real action. With little more than fifteen minutes remaining Turner introduced Fitzpatrick and Tim Sills in place of Smith and Connell, but to little avail. Luke Webb fired wide from twenty five yards before Williams hammered off target from a difficult angle.
Williams, Hereford's man of the match, was a key figure in their best attack of the game which started with a quick release from Brown following a corner. He burst up the left and having reached the box squared to Simon Travis. Travis was forced slightly wide though and his shot went across the goal face and behind.

That was The Bulls' best chance of the game, so now it was The Gulls' turn. Woolmer awarded a free kick in a central position just outside of the box, and booked Dean Beckwith for the foul and it took a world-class diving save from Brown to keep the free kick out from Ryan Dickinson, and to keep it goalless as the game came to a close.

The game was, much like many of Hereford's recent performances, a bit of a non-event but the travelling army of 756 will no doubt have enjoyed their day, or weekend in some cases, out. And, although the home fans invaded the pitch at the end of the game, there were fantastic scenes in front of the away end between the two sets of fans, who showed some mutual respect. Many of the Hereford players came over to the fans at the end to thank them for their support; let's hope that wasn't a wave goodbye from Mkandawire (Pictured below).




HUFC: Brown, McClenahan, Mkandawire, Beckwith, Purdie, Thomas, Smith, Webb, Travis, Connell, Williams. Subs: Gulliver, Thompson, Fitzpatrick, Gwynne, Sills.

TUFC: Horsell, Andrews, Woods, Robertson, Robinson, Hill, Hockley, Mansell, Cooke, Reid, McPhee. Subs: Gordon, Wheeldon, Dickinson, McKoy.

Reaction:

Coach John Trewick spoke about the problem after another goal-less outing at Torquay.

"Our biggest problem has been scoring goals, with only 45 from our 46 games, and we will need to analyse why," Trewick told the Western Daily Press.

"Defensively we have done well, keeping 17 clean sheets from which we have collected 37 points.

"We now know what is required in this league and aim to achieve more consistency. We will look back over the season and see how we can improve."

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