Blast from the past

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Andrew Cornell looks back at Blues’ games on July 13th

 

Back in 2004 we started the preparation for our first Conference South season with a change from the usual pre-season friendly visitors from Essex and Herts when manager Peter Taylor brought Hull City to Bishop’s Stortford. The Observer provided a good detailed report.

 

The friendly at Woodside Park entertained without calling on its headline act – Nicky Barmby.

Hull City paid Leeds £lm for the former England midfielder, but Tigers boss Taylor was unwilling to risk the club’s most expensive signing against the Blues.

 

For his part, Martin Hayes was unable to give the home supporters their first glimpse of

Mervin Abraham in a Stortford shirt. Abraham, recruited during the summer for a significantly more modest sum than Barmby, was out with a slight back strain.

 

However, the crowd of around 500, which included England coach Sammy Lee, saw neat

touches and turns from Blues triallist Leon Green, a striker who was with Weymouth last

season. Goalkeeper Rob Elliott, released by Charlton. Athletic in the summer, also impressed with smart reaction saves during the first half. Last season’s Nationwide Division Three

champions provided stern opposition, but Hayes’ side did not buckle and played some

constructive, neat football.

 

However, the home attacks were largely thwarted by a disciplined Hull defence which got men behind the ball quickly. The Tigers, who included six first team regulars in their starting line-up, roared ahead on nine minutes. A quickly-taken free-kick from Michael Keane found the unmarked Danny Allsopp and his glancing header flew into the far corner.

 

Shortly afterwards, Green turned a Hull defender and laid the ball into the path of Alex Martin, whose 12-yard shot hit the crossbar and rebounded down onto the line, before being cleared.

Richard Howell also came close with a shot on the turn. The home goal was threatened three times in the closing minutes of the first half. Elliott made a brilliant point-blank save to

deny Allsopp and then dived well to keep out a header from ex-Hendon player, Junior Lewis. Allsopp’s rising shot also cleared the bar.

 

Early second-half action saw a Steve Butler header force a save from Andy Walker, who had replaced Elliott in the home goal, while at the other end Dave Rainford fired over. Hull doubled their advantage on 57 minutes. Ian Ashbee’s through ball down the inside right channel found Aaron Wilbraham, whose first touch clipped a home defender before rebounding back for him to prod the ball over Walker.

 

The rest of the game saw each side push forward without much penetration with Stortford’s attacks often being terminated by the offside flag.

 

2013 BSFC 0 Colchester United 2 – Friendly

 

2004 BSFC 0 Hull City 2 – Friendly

 

Author: Dave Ryan