The two sides had met at St James Park on 24th January 1972 for the scheduled Third Round tie, having been postponed twice for rain. Around 2,500 Hereford supporters made the journey to the North-East with Newcastle clear favourites, fielding six internationals in their side. Hereford supporters travelled by rail, road and plane to the game which was played on a Monday night.

Hereford United historian Ron Parrott was one of the supporters who made the journey to the game “There were two special trains that made the trip, leaving Hereford station Monday lunchtime”

Ron’s Train Ticket to Newcastle

Sadly there is no video footage of the game.

The train itineary

We have contacted the Tyne Tees archive who confirmed they didn’t have a camera at the game. As confirmed by then Hereford director (Later Chairman) Peter Hill around the three minute mark on this video from the 1997 reunion. A director did attempt to film the game, but whatever happened to the tape remains a mystery.

Hereford would take a shock lead after 17 seconds through Brian Owen. David Icke had started the season as Hereford first choice goalkeeper but had got injured in a league game at Worcester City and lost his place to Fred Potter. Icke travelled with the squad up to Newcastle.

Icke told Your Herefordshire “Everyone remembers the game at Edgar Street, for me though the best performance was at Newcastle we got a 2-2 draw, They were what is now a Premier League club, to defend like that away from home was fantastic, our two goals were brilliant, we had a centre forward called Brian Owen, he would chase shadows for you and put a lot of pressure on defenders, he was like a racehorse, but nobody could accuse him of being Ronaldo, his 2nd touch was usually a tackle, he opened the scoring in 17 seconds, the ball came to him, he was on the right hand side of the penalty area and he hit a superb shot like a missile. I will never forget the silence of the 40,000 or so Newcastle fans when it went into the back of the net”

Brian Owen puts Hereford in the lead

Ricky George would become a hero a couple of weeks later in the replay. George told Your Herefordshire “The eyes of the country were on us, myself and Billy Meadows had travelled up from London, the likes of Brian Owen and Tony Gough from Bath and Alan Jones from South Wales. We went out onto the pitch to take a look. I remember Colin Addison (Hereford Player Manager) told us to keep our heads up and that we belonged there, he kept telling us we were good enough to put in a fantastic performance”

Ken Mallender had signed from Norwich City that summer he told us “We didn’t really get involved to much with tactics, we were twelve lads who went out and played for each other”

Ricky George continues.

“It was an incredible atmosphere, one of the grandstands at St James Park was being built, but three sides were crammed with around 40,000 fans, We kicked off and took the lead within 17 seconds. Ronnie Radford’s goal will be shown forever, but Brian Owen’s goal at St James Park wasn’t too bad. He whacked a missile into the top right-hand corner. I remember some of the Newcastle fans applauding it. I knew we had to be ready for the charge of the light brigade”

Billy Meadows celebrates Brian Owen’s goal

Newcastle were stunned but quickly turned the score line around to take a 2-1 lead through Malcolm Macdonald and John Tudor.

Billy Meadows in action

Player Manager Colin Addison then equalised for The Bulls just before half time. The strike was a beauty just outside of the penalty area.

Colin Addison equalises

Ricky George told us  “I came on during the second half with 20 minutes to go. Colin (Addison) told me to have a go at their full back and put the pressure on. We nearly won it at the end through Billy Meadows. He went close with a diving header”

Hereford players celebrate

Ron Parrott wraps up the story “I remember arriving back in Hereford station at about 0630hrs the next day and almost sprinting to the nearest newsagent to buy a copy of every newspaper available to read all about it”

Ken Mallender at the final whistle

The eyes of the country were on Hereford United, it would be back to Edgar Street for the replay……

*Photos supplied by Ron Parrott