Bulls hold rampant Crusaders to 0-2.
Attendance: 323. (8 away fans)
4 weeks ago we would have been reporting on a record hammering this morning as Hungerford showed exactly what this League is about, and the task this new bulls team faces in trying to get back up the league pyramid.
Just for context a moment taken examining what Hereford faced yesterday will help people understand the progress that has been made at Edgar Street since Burnham put 5 past them a few weeks ago.
The crusaders management team of Bobby Wilkinson and Lee Barkis were both professionals with Reading and Fulham, both had careers cut short by injury. Wilkinson has worked with Mark McGhee, Brendan Rogers, and Brian McDermott and was part of the backroom staff for Reading in a Wembley play off final.
On the park they had John Boardman who's has played for Rochdale and the Daggers.
Matty Day with Portsmouth and Oxford United.
Ian Herring with Swindon.
Little wonder then that this streetwise and highly motivated side put Hereford through the most torrid 30 minutes that has been seen at Edgar Street for a long time.
Boardman had scored within 2 minutes, and then the crusaders subjected the Bulls to the sort of controlled bullying that these youngsters had never experienced and initially couldn't cope with.
8 goal attempts, 4 on target, 6 corners and 6 spiteful crosses put Brad Gascoigne and Delroy Gordon under the most severe examination, and apart from the opening goal they withstood it all. Akinde was being bullied by Herring and Day, and couldn't get near the ball let alone hold it up.
There was no hoofball from the crusaders either, the swift passing and movement off the ball had O'Neill, Yafai and Bobes-Gilroy totally bewildered at times.
A thought must be spared for Mahony at left back, who, deputising for Cutajar was taking a mauling.
Quite how the game got to 27 minutes without further addition to the crusaders tally was down to the cussed resistance of this growing bulls team. In any event Akinde at last won a flick on and Javia Roberts cut in from the left lashing a shot wide of the far post.
Having weathered the initial storm they began to get parity, Traore started to torment Diak John, and Bilal Yafai and Bobes-Gilroy were making decent linking moves through the midfield.
A corner from the right was poked goalward and cleared off the crusaders line, Yafai 'scored' in a similar manner to Akinde's effort last week but the fickle nature of officials saw this effort chalked off.
Yafai then played Roberts in but a clever nudge from Herring caused him to miss-control the ball.
Bobes-Gilroy put Akinde through one on one with Strudley with the keeper smothering the ball at the strikers feet.
On 41 minutes Akinde should have put the bulls level having been played in on goal by Yafai, but he lashed the ball narrowly over the bar.
Astonishingly the half ended with the Bulls only 1 goal down, but they should have been level.
Halftime: Bulls 0 Crusaders 1.
Kicking the second half off towards the Blackfriars end Hungerford brought an immediate save from Luke Williams at the feet of Draycott.
Traore and Onyeike combined down the right sending a ball in for Akinde who as on previous occasions took it upon himself to run up a blind alley rather than lay the ball off to either O'Neill or Yafai.
Draycott then headed an inch perfect cross against the post from a pass from Lee Smith on the right when he should have scored.
Then disaster struck. With the bulls right in the game an innocuous 50/50 block tackle from Brad Gascoigne was called for a foul by the referee on the right edge of the bulls area. For some reason an altercation occurred between the felled crusaders player and Sam Bobes-Gilroy which seemed to see Bobes-Gilroy kicked out at and he reacted with a slap of sorts across the side of the crusaders players head. A straight red then for Bobes-Gilroy.
As Pilling was preparing to take the free kick Jon Taylor and Neil Phelps in the bulls technical area were trying to get Williams attention to the positioning and numbers in the defensive wall. Pilling stepped up and planted the shot into the bottom left corner of Williams's net, either an error by Williams in the set up of the wall, or one heck of a curled free kick.
Nevertheless the bulls moved back onto the attack and with Taylor moving Traore in tighter to mitigate the loss of Bobes-Gilroy maintained their efforts to get back into the game.
Akinde again received a ball on the edge of the area and this time Herring and Day put him under so much pressure he ended up playing a back pass to Williams from inside Hungerford's half.
O'Neill then missed an opportunity to shoot with his left foot and trying to switch onto his right found himself being bundled off the ball near the right corner flag by John who played the ball into the path of the impressive Scott Rees who having laid the ball back to John through the inside right channel saw the full back put a searing cross in to Draycott at the far post who managed to scuff his shot wide of the upright from 2 yards out.
In the next Hungerford attack a carbon copy block tackle was again penalised and from a similar spot to his goal Pilling went to Williams right and he produced a parry that he should have caught, but it least his effort attracted 6.5 from the russian judge leaving Gordon to hook away the resulting bobbling ball.
Onyeike then produced a scrambled save from Studley as his free kick was heading in at his near post.
Draycott again missed another sitter from a Diak John cross, Gascoigne blocking his effort on the line and then the same player lashed the rebound wide.
O'Niell shot high over the bar before being replaced by Oyibo, Hawker had already come on for the hapless Mahony.
Gascoigne and Gordon remained solid as rock and actually eventually pushed the play much further up the park. Both were launching brutal headed clearances up-field now rather than the scrambled pressurised efforts of earlier in the game.
Neither side could make any further impression on the game and it ended with the Bulls penalised in the Hungerford half.
Fulltime: Bulls 0 Crusaders 2.
Luke Williams 8.
Obi Onyeike 7.
Paul Mahony 5.
Gary O'Neill 6.
Brad Lee Gascoigne (capt) 9.
Delroy Gordon 8.
Javia Roberts 7.
Sam Bobes-Gilroy 7.
Samuel Akinde 6.
Providing he learns from this he will prosper.
Bilal Yafai 8.
Aliou Traore 8.
Josh Hawker 7.
Joshua Oyibo 7.