Possession may be nine-tenths of the law, as the saying goes,
but it meant little in terms of the final score as the Bucks were held by
Hereford. Gavin Cowan’s team saw much more of the ball, but some snatched goal
attempts, some decent saves from keeper Matt Yates and a defensive effort worthy
of Stonewall Jackson frustrated the Bucks’ attempts to make it two home wins in
The Bucks made just one change to the side that started the
2-1 win over York City in their previous game, Ross White into the defensive
unit in place of the injured Zak Lilly.
The Bucks sought to tame the Bulls straight from the opening
whistle; the visitors were on the back foot and in just the third minute Darry
Knights put a deflected low shot from the edge of the penalty area just wide of
Yates’ left-hand post. From the corner that resulted Shane Sutton almost found
the same side of the net, rising imperiously at the far post to head back
across goal and just wide.
The early onslaught continued. Daniel Udoh went down under a
challenge in the penalty area, and as his appeals were being waved away Knights
reacted to fire the ball just side of the post again, this time from around the
penalty spot. The visitors were struggling to cope; Udoh was flagged narrowly
offside, Cowans brought a low save from Yates and then Udoh was penalised for
controlling the ball with his arm as he tried to latch onto a ball forward.
Just as Bucks fans were surely feeling a goal must come, it
did, but at entirely the wrong end of the feel for their liking. In the 22nd
minute, and on a rare visit to the Bucks half, some loose play gave George
Lloyd a chance to get a shot away from around 8 yards; Andy Wycherley partially
blocked the effort, but it had enough momentum to roll into the net, tucking
itself just inside the keeper’s right-hand post.
The 500 or so away fans in the Frank Nagington Stand end of
the ground celebrated with abandon, whilst the Bucks and their followers looked
rather non-plussed; “how on earth did that happen?”
The goal sparked Hereford’s most enterprising spell of a
game they spent largely defending; Udoh had further penalty appeals denied
before Tom Owen-Evans saw a shot deflected wide for a corner. From the kick, Theo
Streete’s attentions stopped Jordan Cullinane-Liburd capitalising with a header
at the far post. The Bulls’ central defender went down injured shortly after,
and from the restart on 35 minutes the Bucks equalised almost immediately.
Ellis Deeney forced Hereford to concede possession in tandem with Knights, and
when Udoh picked the ball up 20 yards out he still appeared to have work to do;
however, Udoh took a touch before powering in a shot that beat a screened Yates
and went in off the inside of the keeper’s left post. Yates, perhaps feeling
the ball was going wide, had dropped to one knee, and pivoted around to see the
ball nestling in the opposite side of his net.
Any thoughts that normal service would be resumed were dismissed,
at least for a while, when Lloyd went close again, making headway into the box
before putting his shot against Wycherley’s far post before the Bucks cleared. Referee
Kirkley was having a busy evening, booking the Bucks’ Royle as well as O’Sullivan
and Thomas for the Bulls, all before half-time; the last goal attempt of the
half came when, from a free-kick, the visitors didn’t pick up Theo Streete. The
defender was stretching for the ball when he directed his effort wide of Yates’
HALF TIME: AFC Telford United 1 Hereford 1
The Bucks began the second half in a similar way to that in
which they began the first half, although the Bulls won an early corner when
Sutton and Wycherley had a communication breakdown, giving Lloyd a sniff of a
chance. The Bucks defended the opportunity, and then set about creating their
own; Steph Morley crossed from the left and Knights, unable to work a shooting
chance, set up Ellis Deeney, whose stinging shot was turned around the right
post by a deflection. Within a couple of minutes Knights was involved once
more; from an attack down the right, a cross into the six-yard box was met by
Knights but saved instinctively by Yates, the keeper then blocking his
follow-up effort too.
After that initial flurry of excitement, the game became more
cagey. The Bucks were still enjoying much of the possession; however, Hereford
were sitting deep, often with all but one man behind the ball. The Bucks were
moving the ball around from side to side, trying to stretch Hereford and create
the opening they sought. Gavin Cowan introduced Andre Brown and Adam Dawson as he
looked for a way to break though, but the Bulls weren’t budging, and the
chances just wouldn’t come. For the visitors, James Roberts put a free-kick from
30 yards safely into Wycherley’s grasp, then Danny Greenslade cut in off the
flank and put his shot across goal wide, the effort not needing any
intervention from Wycherley.
At the final whistle, there was little doubt that Hereford
were happier with their point than the Bucks were; however, manager Cowan
refused to be downbeat, expressing frustration but also satisfaction in his
side’s performance, one that had just missed a touch of ruthlessness in front
FULL TIME: AFC Telford United 1 Hereford 1Hereford: Yates, Thomas, Greenslade, Cullinane-Liburd,
Wassall, Smith, McGrath, O’Sullivan, Roberts, Lloyd, Owen-Evans.
Unused substitutes: Jackson, Murphy, Finn, Horsell.
Scorers: Lloyd (22)
Bookings: O’Sullivan, Thomas, Owen-Evans, Cullinane-Liburd, Lloyd.