In the end Chester hung on for a point against a barrage of chances from Hereford, but did enough to deserve the draw. Hereford scored their third and fourth header against us this season either side of a scrambled goal from Lindfield and an opportunistic, but very well taken, goal from Seddon. The second half saw John Danby produce a number of excellent saves to help take us out of the relegation zone for the first time since August. Here are some thoughts on the game.
Though they weren’t great in the first half, Hereford really showed the difference between full time and part time teams in the second. They were consistently able to recycle the ball, had a number of extremely physical players and were very good defensively. This was best illustrated by the difference in space in the wide areas in the Hyde and Hereford matches. Against Hyde Lester was very often 1v1 with Lewis Turner getting forward to help out. In contrast when Lester was in similar wide positions late on in the game there were three or four Hereford players around. Even with the support of Kay and Reed we struggled to get crosses in the box.
2. John Danby
Rightly praised for his excellent performance last night. Produced some very good saves and had no chance for either of Hereford’s looped headers. His best save was easily the one where the striker volleyed from close range and he readjusted to get down low to his left. Fantastic.
3. Kevin McIntyre
I hate to say it but… poor again last night. Both goals of their goals came from our left hand side and he wasted possession too often with hopeful balls down the left that were all too high for Mahon and too far for the striker to chase. For a replacement Pugh doesn’t convince me either defensively or in possession (though his long throws are great) and Heath hasn’t had a run of games and so has struggled a little. I think it’s time for Heath to get that run of games.
Neil Young, sometime after our run of five games without, said that he had a formation in mind for the team but that we had to build towards that formation by “earning the right to play”. I didn’t quite understand what he meant at the time, but I think I get it now. We played a 5,3,2 for a while, ground out a few results and seem to be back to a formation similar to what we were playing at the start of the season. The 4,2,3,1 formation we’ve played in the last two fixtures with two wing forwards and Lindfield as attacking midfield/second striker is pretty much what Young wanted at the start of the season – albeit with different personnel. For me, the main reason we’ve been able to move to this formation is the replacement of Harrison (who’s injured) with Jarrett. Jarrett looks to get forward more and is happy to spread the play, even if the odd long pass does go out of play. It gives the whole team a more positive style of play just because someone is willing to play attacking balls. Jarrett is by no means the solution to our problems going forward, but he has certainly helped.
For once the subs that we brought on didn’t noticeably weaken the team. Wilkinson wasn’t really holding the ball up, but his replacement Reed did an excellent job of doing so, easing the pressure of the defense several time. Kay did well at right back, though Lewis Turner was less effective at centre midfield after being shifted over due to Nathan Turner’s injury (hope he’s ok!) and Lester tried hard down the right in place of Seddon but was very well marked. Overall, it was encouraging to see the replacements contributing positively to the overall performance of the side.
Well, that’s all from me for now. Don’t forget you can still vote for the fanzine as FSF Fanzine of the Year on the FSF’s website.