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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bulls resist Orient pressure

Hereford United had to see off hefty late pressure from Leyton Orient to hold onto a vital 2-1 home victory over their relegation rivals. The Bulls got off to a flyer when Febian Brandy's excellent finish gave them the lead whilst soon after Steve Guinan doubled the advantage with a penalty. Former Hereford captain Tamika Mkandawire pulled a goal back for the O's on the stroke of half-time before the visitors were superior in the second-half but couldn't find a way of getting past Peter Gulacsi in front of 3,286 at Edgar Street including 427 from East London.

Graham Turner made one change from last weekend's defeat to Peterborough with Jennison Myrie-Williams replaced by Matty Done. It is thought that Myrie-Williams has returned to Bristol City after completing his one month loan spell. Guinan shook off a knock to start up top with Brandy whilst Orient opted for a similar strike force; Scott McGleish providing the experience and Simon Church, on loan from Reading, with the youthful legs.

The opening stages provided a warning to Hereford as Orient used set-pieces well and went close early on. A corner from the left was flicked on to Mkandawire who volleyed goalwards but Richard Jackson stopped his effort on the line. The visitors were undone by Hereford in the 5th minute when Sam Hewson picked up the ball inside the O's half and switched the play to Done. The former Wrexham winger beat his man on the left and sent a low pass into the feet of Brandy, who turned quickly before firing a superb shot on the turn into the far corner to make it 1-0. Alton Thelwell headed wide from a Jimmy Smith free-kick before the defender was in the wrong at the other end, giving away a penalty. A long pass from Godwin Antwi was chased down by Brandy and he got in front of Thelwell before having his legs taken; the assistant referee flagged and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Guinan who sent Orient 'keeper Jamie Jones the wrong way to double Hereford's advantage.

On loan Chelsea winger Smith showed good skill to evade the challenge of Kris Taylor before firing straight at Gulacsi whilst at the other end, Done and Brandy again linked up with the latter showing quick feet to beat the challenge of Thelwell but could only shoot into the side netting after running into the box. Soon after, the same pair were at it again as Brandy missed a guilt edge chance. Adam Chamber's mis-placed header gave Done the chance to burst from midfield and he did just that beating his man with ease before spotting Brandy in space. The pass and then the first touch was perfect but the finish failed to match it; the Man Utd loanee only had the 'keeper to beat but fired over from 18 yards. United were made to regret the miss as Mkandawire grabbed a goal for the visitors on the stroke of half-time. A deep free-kick was challenged by Mkandawire and at the second attempt, the Malawian born defender toe-poked home from close-range. In stoppage-time, Mkandawire came close to scoring a second by meeting an Antwi clearence with a full volley but Gulacsi gathered, despite being slightly out of position.

During the interval, both sides made defensive changes. Antwi was replaced by Karl Broadhurst whilst Orient introduced Andrew Cave-Brown in place of Thelwall. It was the home side who created the early chances of the second-half with a cross/shot from Done landing on the top of the net after a good switch of play from Guinan. Minutes later, Done was again involved with a forward pass being controlled by Guinan and an early dipping half-volley forcing Jones into a diving save. Church was replaced by Dean Morgan as the visitors looked for more threat in front of goal to go with their high percentage of possession. Sean Thornton aimed to provide this but a long-shot was always curling away from goal whilst at the other end, a cross from Taylor was knocked on by Guinan into the path of Brandy but his little man's left-foot shot was sliced wide of the post.

A long diagonal pass into the Bulls' box was headed into the path of McGleish and just as the veteran striker looked as though he'd pull the trigger, Jackson made an excellent intervention to deny him the chance. The corner resulted in minutes of continual pressure on the Hereford defence with McGleish's header from the set-piece being headed off the line by Hewson whilst from the next corner taken by Charlie Daniels was nodded just past the far post by Jordan Spence.

United were thankful to Gulacsi in the closing stages as he made two top drawer saves to deny Leyton Orient's front two. Firstly, Morgan showed good strength and pace to get past Richard Rose before chipping over Broadhurst allowing McGleish a good chance to shoot with his eventual effort towards goal being tipped around the post by Gulacsi. The Hungarian shot-stopper then denied Morgan after he had latched onto a forward pass by Daniels before stinging Gulacsi's hands with a powerful right-foot shot from 20 yards. Ryan Jarvis came on for Smith late on whilst Andy Williams replaced Brandy, who looked to have picked up a knock early on in the game. The home support was infuriated when the referee awarded five minutes of added time and Orient nearly made Hereford pay when Jarvis met a cross towards the back-post with his head but he couldn't hit the target. United held on in stoppage time and the final whistle was greeted with a huge sense of relief from the Edgar Street faithful.

It was a vital win for Hereford as they start the big week with three points. The visitors will be disappointed that they have come away with nothing as they put United under a lot of pressure in the second period but man of the match Gulacsi ensured the points go to Hereford. Attacking duo Done and Brandy pushed the Liverpool loanee close for the award with the pair linking up well on a number of occasions. Next up for Hereford is two away trips to Yeovil and Crewe, starting with the game at Huish Park on Tuesday night.

Hereford: Gulacsi, Jackson, Antwi, Rose, Taylor, Gwynne, Diagouraga, Hewson, Done, Guinan, Brandy.

Subs: Veiga, Broadhurst, Smith, Johnson, Williams.

Leyton Orient: Jones, Spence, Mkandawire, Thelwell, Daniels, Smith, Chambers, Thornton, Demetriou, Church, McGleish.

Subs: Morris, Cave-Brown, Terry, Jarvis, Morgan.