Not only did his side win, but he scored against his former team infront of his former fans, all on his birthday! Not a bad day for Alex Jeannin and Hereford United as they claimed a well earned 2-1 victory against Exeter City at St. James' Park this evening, in front of Sky TV cameras.
The two sides met a month ago at Edgar Street when Exeter emerged 2-0 victors but this time it was Hereford's turn to take all three points. The Bulls lined up with two changes from the starting eleven that took a point at Forest Green on Boxing Day, as Dean Beckwith returned from suspension and started in place of Darren Blewitt. However, it was Beckwith who was at fault as the hosts took an early lead following a good start. The centre back hesistated on clearing a long ball forward and in nipped Lee Phillips to pace into the box and fire a powerful low shot across Wayne Brown, back in goal at the expense of Craig Mawson, and into the far bottom corner.
Craig Farral had already forced Brown into a save, following a long throw-in and The Grecians continued their domination when Jon Challinor met a left-wing cross on the volley, but couldn't direct it on target. Adam Stansfield had forced a corner moments earlier in a rare Bull's attack, as passes went astray from the Hereford midfield and so Exeter were enjoying the majority of play. Jeannin almost gifted his former side a second goal when he sliced a clearance in the box, allowing Glenn Cronin to intercept but he shot against the cross bar.
On the half-hour mark though, Guy Ipoua turned the game around with a wonderful goal completely against the run of play. Jamie Pitman, who'd not been on the top of his game, played a ball into the feet of Ipoua who superbly turned his man, went around another player and fired into the top corner from outside of the box for a wonderful superb equaliser. United grew in confidence from then on and started attacking Exeter more and causing them problems. Stansfield chased down and blocked Paul Jones' clearance, which fell to Ipoua but he fired inches wide.
Stansfield was again causing problems for the defence and was tripped twenty five yards from goal with just two minutes of the half remaining. Pitman touched the ball on and, as though it was scripted, Jeannin placed a peach of a shot into the far top corner to put United 2-1 up. Hereford's celebrations were short lived, one again, though as before the game had restarted Ipoua had been shown the red-card, for no reason clear to most in the crowd. It's being said that he made an "obscene jesture" to the Exeter crowd, although it's thought that the referee may have mis-interpreted Ipoua's actions. So Hereford were in front, but down to ten men, with a whole half to go.
Hereford came out and continued to attack The Grecians in the second half, somewhat suprisingly, and Andy Williams burst into the box early on and seemed to have his legs taken from underneath him, but no penalty was given despite appeals. Craig Stanley helped the ball on, following another good run from Williams, to Stansfield and his shot from a narrow angle went just inches wide of the far post, having beaten Jones. Gary Sawyer came close for the hosts at the other end when he headed a corner just wide but United had been the better side after the restart.
Both sides made a number of changes, the first after sixty-five minutes being when target man Steve Flack was introduced for Exeter when they had just won a corner. United cleared their lines broke quickly through Williams, who knocked a good ball down the line for Stansfield and he outpaced the defenders but was denied by Jones when one on one, as he fired in a low shot. Blewitt replaced Beckwith for Hereford, maybe to deal with the extra threat of Flack, or maybe because Beckwith has been suffering with illness while Santos Gaia and Dean Moxey came on for the hosts. Carey-Bertram replaced Stansfield as the single Hereford striker with less than ten minutes to go.
It was Carey-Bertram who had the perfect chance to seal all three points when he was played through on goal but he was twice denied by Jones, who got down to both of the efforts well. Exeter pumped long ball into the Hereford box but didn't get the goal they so badly wanted, although Danny Woodards came extremely close when he headed over from close range, with Brown already beaten by the cross.
The brilliant result, in front of 4,433 (with around 130 Bulls supporters) means that Hereford move up one place to sixth, and they are now two points outside of the play offs, although they have a game in hand on some sides above them. Exeter are seven points better off than The Bulls, in second place, but have played two more games.
HUFC: Brown, Travis, Mkandawire, Beckwith, Jeannin, Purdie, Pitman, Stanley, Williams, Stansfield, Ipoua. Subs: Blewitt, Mawson, Brady, Evans, Carey-Bertram.
ECFC: Paul Jones, Woodards, Todd, Sawyer, Billy Jones, Taylor, Buckle, Cronin, Challinor, Farrell, Phillips. Subs: Gaia, Rice,Moxey, Mackie, Flack.