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Club News

In Focus: Bulls v. Robins

10 December 2012

Murry Toms looks ahead to tomorrow's FA Cup replay at Edgar Street.

It will now be at least 44 years until the Abbey Business Stadium hosts a home win over Cheltenham Town's age-old rivals Hereford United after last Monday's 1-1 draw in the FA Cup second round tie.
 
But only the most optimistic, rose-tinted supporter would put their money on that happening any time soon!
 
What is it about matches against the Bulls?!
 
It had all looked so promising when Bury loanee Shaun Harrad had caressed home his sixth goal of the season.
 
But Hereford promptly responded through Josh O’Keefe four minutes later and used every last drop of Conference canniness to force tomorrow night's replay.
 
Now Mark Yates' side face a daunting trip to Edgar Street for the replay, knowing that another unwanted record stands between them and the considerable carrot of hosting Everton in round three.
 
There's a £27,000 bounty for the winner of the second round replay, while ESPN will part with £135,850 to exclusively broadcast the third round tie against Everton - and that's before you take into consideration another bumper crowd.
 
Then there's the prestige of hosting one of the biggest and most famous football clubs in the country, packed with internationals with five FA Cup wins to their name.
 
But memories of Cheltenham's last win at their famous old ground are beginning to fade when goals by Mark Freeman and Jamie Victory, back in February 1999, earned Steve Cotterill's men an important Conference win en route to promotion to the 92.
 
Tomorrow night's occasion then is sure to ooze tension, with shades of our successful replay at Chester City six years ago to land Premier League Newcastle United for only the second time in the fourth round of the competition.
 
On that memorable, and at times chaotic occasion Kayode Odejayi claimed the goal which brought to town the soap opera around then-manager Graeme Souness.
 
The Bulls, like Cheltenham, recorded an impressive away success at the weekend to hand manager Martin Foyle a timely fillip ahead of the big match.
 
They won 2-0 at Barrow courtesy of goals by Ryan Bowman, his seventh of the season, and the in-form O’Keefe, scoring his third in as many games, to elevate them to 11th in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
 
It was only their third away win of an indifferent campaign as it reaches the half-way point, having tasted success at Wrexham (2-1) and Alfreton Town (3-0) in the league.
 
Hereford's home record this season - like Cheltenham's away form - is mixed, winning five and losing three of nine contests.
 
But they remain in touching distance of the play-off zone as Martin Foyle's team bids to return to the Football League at the first attempt.
 
This will be their fourth match in this season's competition, beating FC United away (2-0), fierce rivals Shrewsbury Town at home (3-1) before holding Mark Yates' side at the Abbey Business Stadium.
 
Cheltenham of course produced a display full of character and grit to overturn an early two-goal deficit to notch a hugely-impressive win at Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium, thanks to Darryl Duffy's decisive contribution 10 minutes from time.
 
With Cheltenham's miserable record at Edgar Street in recent times, our best away win of the season couldn't have come at a better time.

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