Next Game: Hitchin Town at Home on Saturday 18th November at 3pm

Saturday, April 30, 2011

NOT PRETTY, BUT SAFE AT LAST

Ultimately, the result of this one was all-important, with the Bulls snatching a late leveller to ensure League football for another season. The point gained, together with results elsewhere, means that the outcome of next week’s end of term trip to Moss Rose will be academic. As a spectacle, this afternoon’s business, played in bright sunshine, but with a tricky wind, was a nervy, disjointed affair with a paucity of lively action. Panic seemed about to set in when Bradford converted a late penalty, but Stuart Fleetwood equalised with a direct free kick minutes from the final whistle.

Fleetwood's free kick hits the post and goes in - pictures from Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal.

David Syers made an acrobatic attempt to open the scoring for the visitors, clad in their traditional “egg and bacon” strip. Adam Bartlett watched as the shot drifted tamely wide. Fleetwood then drew a foul from Ex-Bull Robbie Threlfall, and John Leslie’s free kick was cleared by Luke Oliver. Fleets then misplaced a pass and the speedy Omar “He’s Making Eyes At Me” Daley got free from Ryan Green. The pass was collected by Jake Speight who forced Bartlett into a confident stop. Again the in-form keeper denied Daley by claiming a hanging cross at full stretch.

Joe Colbeck embarked on a purposeful run, and a neat move involving Rob Purdie, Leslie and Kenny Lunt did not finish with a shot on target. Another move involving the same cast once more lacked the final, telling delivery. Nicky Featherstone then raced onto a through ball and went to ground in the area, and a hopeful appeal for a penalty was waved away. Lunt and Featherstone played Purdie in, but a timely intervention by Lee Bullock prevented a shot. Colbeck unselfishly cut a ball back for Fleetwood, which fell just behind the striker. After a quick piece of counter-attacking from the Bantams, Gareth Evans’s long range effort cleared the bar by some margin, and just before the interval Daley was able to waltz unchallenged through the centre of the park, though this too came to nothing.

HT: HUFC 0 BRADFORD CITY 0

After the break, Daley’s cross took a wicked deflection which Bartlett kept a wary eye on to make the save. Speight was then thwarted by Joe Heath with a well-timed tackle. Stefan Stam then pulled Speight back just outside the box, avoiding what seemed an inevitable card, and the resulting free kick was headed clear by Michael Townsend. News that Accrington had taken the lead against Barnet was greeted with the afternoon’s biggest cheer thus far. Neither side had troubled the opposing goalkeeper, as the game became littered with misplaced passes.

Leslie turned cleverly inside to set up Fleetwood whose shot from an angle had too much altitude. At the other end, Syers’ attempt lacked power and direction. Bartlett’s wind-assisted clearance was mis-read by Oliver, but the giant defender recovered in time to give away a corner, just before Colbeck, the subject of some banter from visiting fans, could intervene. Bantam banter? Then a Fleetwood drive was beaten to safety by Lenny Pidgeley. The game seemed destined to remain goalless as fans’ reacted to news from elsewhere on the scoreboard, and calculated what each new goal meant in terms of the league table. Waide Fairhurst did well to direct an awkward header goalwards, but Pidgeley scooped the ball round his post.

Just 9 minutes remained when James Hanson, a master at playing the simple ball, collected a return pass and ran into the area. Before he could cut it back, he was clearly pulled back by Stam, and referee Mr Phillips had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Speight stepped up to slam the ball past Bartlett. For a few minutes, Hereford seemed to go to pieces, giving the ball away cheaply and not achieving any fluency in their moves. Then with 87 minutes on the clock, the desperate Bulls were handed a lifeline. Fairhurst went on a marauding run, only to be checked on the edge of the box by Lewis Hunt. Fleetwood assumed control of the situation. Taking the kick himself, and ever mindful of his recent goal drought, our Stu lashed an unstoppable drive into the far corner of Pidgeley’s net. The relief shown by the team, management, and the fans was palpable.

Many of the team celebrating after the game

FT: HUFC 1 BRADFORD CITY 1

Attendance: 3219, including 254 Yorkshiremen.

HUFC: Bartlett, Green, Townsend, Stam, Heath, Leslie, Purdie (Fairhurst 58),Lunt, Featherstone (Kovacs 90), Colbeck (Patulea 86), Fleetwood.

BRADFORD CITY: Pidgeley, Oliver, Hunt, Threlfall, Daley (Williams 82), Worthington, Bullock, Syers, Evans (O’Brien 59), Speight (Dean 90), Hanson.
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