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Bolland Special Wins the Day
By: Jeremy Bailey
THE day is bright and breezy but starts with a hangover, thanks to Batemanâ€™s Rosey Nosey and cheap RosÃ© wine. Just over an hour on the train to Hereford from my piece of Shropshire, well it would have been if the first train hadn't been cancelled and the second one hadn't been 12 minutes late.
We had sat waiting for 50 minutes and missed two connections at Shrewsbury; at least my headache was receding.
The plan was to meet up with â€˜Jimmy the Spyâ€™ and his mate from GCHQ Cheltenham, can't reveal their true identities or I'd have to put you through the shredder! We found each other in the magnificent Victory pub, moved on to The Barrels and then joined the travelling Town fans at the Edgar Street Stadium. I use the word stadium loosely; it hasn't changed much since my last visit, back in the 1970â€™s. We sat in the â€˜Floors to go Standâ€™ with about 80 other hopefuls, the remaining away following were stood to our right behind the goal; our combined total was 261 according to the electronic board.
We started with and stayed with 1-5-4. North on his own up front. Bore on the right, Toner on the left, with Bolland, Hunt and Boshell elbowing each other for space in the middle. Macca, Newey, Fenton and Whittle were where they should be and Barnesy Baby was in goal.
We bossed the whole first half without really creating any open scoring opportunities. The pace, tone and style of play we adopted was vintage Buckley. He has been very busy on the training ground. You could see the confidence in the players, their first touches weren't their last touches, they took possession, looked up, knew where their team mates were and picked them out, we completely controlled midfield with all five finding each other with neat, short passes.
Hereford had their moments of course, Williams on the right was obviously their get out clause, they tried to feed him as often as possible, Newey had to work hard to stop him, when he did get some balls across, Whittle, Fenton and Barnes sorted it out, communication in the penalty area? Whatâ€™s going on? Macca had the first half off as a defender, nothing came down our right.
We had a few half chances, Newey was allowed to travel the whole length of the pitch without being challenged, he however blasted his shot well over the bar, Toner had two chances to score, one he connected with beautifully, but it hit the keeper and the other he hit his volley straight into the ground and it just bounced into the keepers arms. Boshell hit a direct freekick straight at the keeper also; a Whittle header from a corner produced a flying one handed save. Bore was having no luck and North was running his socks off with no reward. Just before half time, Bore robbed a defender and put North clean through, but he was adjudged offside, pity. Barnes did not have a single save to make in the first 45 minutes, he caught everything he had to, and even punched one ball out when in danger, his kicking was fine too.
Half time came and we were happy, Hereford had been poor and we looked like a football team again. Coffee and big Kit-Kat please, I'd had my Chicken Balti Pie before kick off.
Turner had obviously had a word or two to say in the changing room, because Hereford came out a completely different team, same players but a whole new attitude, even their fans noticed and they started to make some noise.
Our first half of total football had shocked them into speechless admiration. They were more purposeful, quicker in the tackle and took the game to us, their left full back, Thomas, who is only a third of Maccaâ€™s age began to push forward and take Sir Macca on, it has to be said, with some success at first. The first 15 minutes was all Hereford, but we slowly came back into it, they were enjoying some dominance for the first time in the game. They even had the ball in our net, but Barnes had been fouled, this sustained pressure was beginning to frighten me, we seemed to have lost our way. Then it changed, as the game opened up we began to pass the ball again, along the ground and to feet. We then have our best chance in the second half so far, Fenton met a corner and his header was going in, keeper no where, a defender on the line hoofs it to safety. Shortly after that Fenton had to leave, Grand came on and I didn't notice any difference to how the back four played, he just slotted in and got on with it.
The game is now fairly even; we have got to grips with this new keener Hereford. North is replaced by Jones and shortly after that Bore is removed for Till. End to end stuff, both teams think they can win it, Jones doesn't really play up front on his own, he hasn't the pace, but he does knock balls on and holds up the play for us. His deft header into the path of a sprinting Bolland, produces our goal, Bolland (photograph by www.danwestwellphotography.moonfruit.com) bursts into their penalty area and from about 15 yards out and to the right of goal hits the sweetest of sweet things into the roof of the net. The Hereford goalkeeper had no chance; he had set himself, but the power and accuracy of the shot was just too much. A goal worthy of winning any game.
Till got knocked out and was unconscious for a while, he played some of his best football while still dazed. The came back on, went off again, came on, went off etc etc. The last 10 minutes or so we were down to 10 men, even when Till was stumbling about on the pitch. We rode or luck a little in those closing minutes, I remember a direct freekick wasted by Hereford and a Sunday pub hacking game in our six-yard box, which we somehow cleared. We still had a chance for Boshell to hit a tame shot on target and the game finished with us wasting a bit of time European Cup style.
I am pleased to report the whole team and their supporters had one hell of a game, The chants for Bernard Morley both during and after the game was nice to hear and it is once again a good feeling to be a Town fan.
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