Sunday, January 09, 2022

More Memories Of Hereford United's Games Against Newcastle

More memories of Hereford United's cup run in the 1971/72 surfaced in yesterday's Mirror.

In particular Ronnie Radford has spoken about the first tie at Newcastle which ended in a draw before that famous replay which Hereford won.

"In the first game, Brian Owen put us in front after 17 seconds with a goal that was as good as you will ever see,” said Radford.

"He hit it from the corner of the box, it flew across the Newcastle keeper Willie McFaul and got stuck in the stanchion at the top of the net. Absolutely fantastic, it was. 

"There were 39,000 fans crammed around three sides of St James' Park that night because one stand had been demolished. A lot of them missed it because they were still pouring into the ground.

"I'll never forget the fantastic reception the Geordie fans gave us when our team coach pulled up outside the players' entrance. We had already been up there once and it was called off – it made us feel like they were thanking us for coming back.

"But we went toe-to-toe with Newcastle, under lights on a Monday night on their own patch. It was 2-2 by half-time and we matched them all the way.

“I will never grow tired of watching the replay, and what that goal did for a carpenter from Wakefield, but a giant-killing wouldn't have been possible without that performance in the first game.”

There was a long gap between the first game and the replay and the Newcastle squad stayed in Worcester for ten or so days.

"Between the two games, somebody reminded Supermac that Ted MacDougall had scored nine goals (for Bournemouth) in an FA Cup tie against non-League opposition (Margate) in the first round earlier that season. 

"I think Malcolm has always denied saying he would score 10 against us, but when it appeared in a big headline our player-manager Colin Addison pinned it on the dressing room wall and said, 'No need for a pep-talk from me, lads – there's your motivation.' It worked."

In the replay Radford scored Hereford's first goal and Ricky George the winner.

"It was a magical time. Even now, when people talk to me about my goal, I still get emotional about it.

"My wife missed it going in because she had turned round to speak to one our kids, who were sat directly behind her. She would have found out who scored soon enough – it's on TV every year when the Cup comes round, and it never grows old.

"It felt good the moment it left my boot – like the sweet spot on a cricket bat or a golfer's tee shot. On another day, it might have landed in the car park or hit one of the fans up in the trees, but it flew in.”

"It makes me sad when people talk about the Cup losing its magic. For us guys in the lower leagues, it's still our chance to let the big boys know we're around and to make a lot of people happy when they experience something once in a lifetime." 

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