Next Game: Pre-Season Friendly - Melksham Town Away on Saturday 7th July

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Easton Equaliser Gains Posh Point

A second half Clint Easton, pictured pre-season, equaliser sealed an away point for Hereford at pre-season favourites Peterborough. Posh had taken the lead in the first half when Craig Mackail-Smith tapped in from close range, but Easton's fine finish meant the points were shared, with both sides level in the league.

As expected, Trevor Benjamin returned to London Road to face his former employers. There was one other chance in the line-up, perhaps surprisingly, Lionel Ainsworth was dropped to the bench, with Luke Webb replacing him on the right hand side. The home side named last season's League Two player of the year, Dean Keates in midfield, whilst names known to Bulls fans from the Conference days, George Boyd, Aaron Mclean and Mackail-Smith all started.

A free-kick from the left hand side resulted in John McCombe flicking a header wide, whilst the tricky Boyd caused problems at the other end, and smashed a shot into the body of Wayne Brown. Mclean also threatened, meeting a Keates free-kick from the by-line but putting it over. Set-pieces were the main source of chances in the game, with Easton putting a wicked ball which elluded everyone but narrowly went past the post. A sliced clearence from Chris Westwood deflected past the post after good work down the left wing by Easton. A snap-shot from Robinson after a corner also gave the Peterborough defence cause for concern, but goalkeeper Mark Tyler was more than equal to it.

A fine burst in the middle of the park from Boyd, allowed him to find Mclean on the wing. The former Grays striker cut in, and crossed low for strike partner Mckail-Smith, but his effort was blocked and then smashed clear. Once again, a free-kick threatened the Posh goal, with Webb taking charge of duties. He swung the ball in, and Tyler mis-judged. The ball looked to be heading in, but Tyler managed to push the ball out for a corner. The earlier chance for Mckail-Smith should have acted as a warning for United, as the striker pounced to put the home side in front. The Bulls were down to 10 men, with Trent McClenahan off the field receiving treatment for a head injury, and Hereford were punished. Newton picked up a pass on the right wing, and a poorly timed tackled by the otherwise impressive Kris Taylor allowed the winger to cut in, and cross for an easy tap-in for Mckail-Smith.

Despite Webb picking up a booking, and having a tough time up against Jamie Day at left back, Graham Turner opted to keep it the same after the interval, with Ainsworth remaining on the bench for the time being. An early chance fell to Benjamin, meeting Easton's cross, but putting his header wide. Easton also crossed for captain Karl Broadhurst, but again, the header was wide of Tyler's post. Former Walsall stars Keates and Westwood combined, with the latter heading a corner over. Quick-thinking from a throw-in resulted in Charlie Lee smashing a shot over the bar, before Ainsworth was introduced in place of Webb. Good hold-up play from Benjamin resulted in Ben Smith driving a shot wide, whilst Mclean headed over at the far post from yet another Keates set-piece.

Peterborough will look back at the game, and point out their missed opportunities which seemed to have cost them the three points. Mckail-Smith was one of the guilty party. Despite his goal, he failed to find the net after some fine build up play put him in on goal but Brown closed him down and made a fine save to deny him. Rene Howe then replaced Mckail-Smith, and within minutes, Hereford were back on level terms. A long punt by Brown caused problems, as Posh failed to clear, and Easton won the ball from Newton on the left hand side. The winger produced a fine finish from an acute angle on the edge of the box, to beat Tyler in the far corner and level terms. Posh looked for a response, with both Chris Whelpdale and Gavin Strachan introduced late on, in place of Newton and Keates, but they rarely threatened. They did though very late on, with a quick throw-in, allowing Mclean to pace down to the by line and provide a low cross for Boyd, but the former Stevenage attacker could only fire over from all of three yards, after some good pressure from McClenahan.

The point keeps both sides level in the table, with United lying sixth currently. Watched by 5008, Peterborough looked a good outfit, with some tricky individual players, but Hereford stood tall against them, and deserved the point. In particular, the back-line impressed, with good performances from both McCombe and Broadhurst. The latter however will miss next week's encounter with Darlington, after picking up his fifth booking of the season.

Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, McCombe, Broadhurst, Taylor, Webb, Diagouraga, Smith, Easton, Benjamin, Robinson.

Subs: Ingham, Rose, Ainsworth, Gwynne, Johnson.

Peterborough: Tyler, Gnapka, Morgan, Westwood, Day, Newton, Keates, Lee, Boyd, Mclean, Mckail-Smith.

Subs: Jalal, Branston, Whelpdale, Strachan, Howe.