Monday, January 04, 2021

Match preview - Spennymoor Town vs Hereford FC

Hereford FC make the long trip to County Durham on Tuesday to face Spennymoor Town in a match originally due to take place on Halloween, but is now one of nine, yes nine, matches in January.

That long trip had almost been completed first time round when the coach did a u-turn (also now known as a ‘Williamson’) and came back home amid reports that it was rife with a Covid outbreak. That proved not to be the case, thankfully, but the all-clear came too late of course to save the game.

Last season, this fixture ended 4-0 to the home team on the final day of the truncated season, with ace marksman Glen Taylor grabbing a brace. In fairness that scoreline was a bit misleading, with Hereford enjoying plenty of possession without turning it into goals.

Taylor’s still there and already has eight goals this season (one behind Lenny John-Lewis), having finished as one of the division’s top strikers over the last two seasons, scoring 58 goals in that time. If he’s afforded any room for manoeuvre by the Bulls defence, the chances are he’ll add to that tally, although that defence is now a good deal more secure than it was when this match was originally scheduled. As dangerous as he is though, It’s unlikely that his hamstrings have the same magical mystery properties of LJL’s.

Portuguese ex-York midfielder Adriano Moko is another danger, as is fellow midfielder Rob Ramshaw, who invariably knows where the goal is.

2020/21 saw The Moors enjoy their best start to a season for three years, beating Farsley and Chester at the Brewery Field, hardly surprising as they really are a tough proposition on their own patch. Last season they won 12 of their 18 home games and finished in the play-off positions for the second year in a row, having only missed out the season before that on goal difference.

However, things have become a little more patchy recently; they’ve drawn two and lost one of their last four league matches, and were knocked out of the Trophy by Southport on penalties. The one league match they have won recently was at Gateshead, at the same time that Hereford were making heavy weather of showing much threat at Leamington. However, following a rush of blood to The Heed, Spennymoor did play against ten men for much of that match.

They sit in eighth place, a point off the play-off positions and three points ahead of Hereford, with the Bulls having a game in hand. Their match on Saturday against Darlington was weathered off so they'll go into this one full of beans.

A decent draw at Aggborough on Saturday saw Hereford consolidate in mid-table as they get through some of the games in hand they have on those around them. They remain in a modest 14th position, but have still played fewer games than everyone above them up to York and Boston, both of whom are in the play-off positions having played a game less than Hereford, and continue to look like the class acts in the division. Both clubs lie in wait in late January in back-to-back matches which really will show what the Bulls are capable of over the remainder of the season.

Hereford are now unbeaten in six in all competitions since that eight-goal ding-dong defeat at Chester, and as such are hopefully looking forward to matches coming thick and fast as winter progresses, rather than dreading them. It’s somewhat telling to note that in the three games before Brandon Hall regained his place ten goals were conceded, with just three conceded in the six games since. His return has been like signing a new player arguably as influential as the fella at the other end scoring the goals.

It looks increasingly likely that The Shop was merely rested against Leamington with half an eye on the marathon to come in January, and that his hamstrings ping like the strings on a perfectly tuned Stradivarius, and have done all along. If Josh Gowling knocks on your door trying to sell you double glazing DO NOT TRUST the claims he makes about the quality of his product.

Anything close to a full-strength Bulls squad should go into this one with nothing to fear, and if the likely squad announced by the head coach beforehand is missing ten first-teamers, with a handful of actual children brought in as replacements, there’s probably still not too much cause to worry, as it’ll all be a tissue of lies.

There's no question that Spennymoor have some very good players and they're as tough as teak at home, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one – no word of a lie.