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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Narrow home defeat for Bulls

Huddersfield Town all but ended Hereford's slim chances of avoiding the drop with a narrow 1-0 victory at Edgar Street this afternoon. The only goal of the game came in the second-half from Michael Collins when he flicked home from close-range. Otherwise, the game was very equal with Jennison Myrie-Williams and Febian Brandy both superbly denied by highly rated 'keeper Alex Smithies in front of 2979 present, including 553 from Yorkshire.

Hereford made two changes after the mid-week success at Carlisle with both mid-week loan signings being introduced. Marc Pugh replaced the injured Matty Done on left-wing whilst Myrie-Williams, starting his second loan spell with the club, replaced Simon Johnson on the right. The visitors included former fans favourite Lionel Ainsworth in their strong team, which also had places for Gary Roberts, Michael Flynn and former Everton striker Danny Cadamarteri.

The first-half failed to produce any goals but there were plenty of decent chances at either end. Myrie-Williams nearly opened the scoring with a spectacular effort flicking the ball over an opposition player's head before smashing a volley goalwards which was superbly denied by a strong hand by Smithies. Brandy had shouts for a penalty after he looked to be bundled over in the Town box before at the other end, a loose ball from Dean Beckwith was pounced upon by Anthony Pilkington who saw a powerful low shot blocked by Peter Gulacsi and a follow up effort by the former Stockport County attacker was pushed behind by Gulacsi once again. A good break from Hereford, starting with a pass to Toumani Diagouraga from Myrie-Williams allowed the Frenchman to make a 40 yard sprint before feeding Brandy on the right channel with space; the Man Utd loanee cut in and sent a right-foot shot towards goal but once again Smithies made a strong save to deny a goal.

Huddersfield had another good chance courtesy of some sloppy play from United with Ben Smith this time playing a loose pass and a good move allowed Cadamarteri to play a one-two with Pilkington but his shot lacked power and was straight at Gulacsi. Brandy fired over from 30 yards after a pass inside from Kris Taylor whilst a lack of communication at the back saw Gulacsi and Beckwith get in a tangle and the ball broke to Cadamarteri, who attempted a lob from 25 yards but failed to hit the target. An overlapping run on the left by Taylor was found with a pass by Pugh and a cross into the box was met by Brandy, with a volley but he couldn't hit the target whilst just before half-time the visitor's showed their strength in midfield by brushing aside a challenge before Pilkington tried his luck from 25 yards and was only a few inches away from finding the corner.

At half-time Richard Jackson replaced Beckwith, who had picked up a knock towards the end of the first half. Richard Rose pushed into central defence with Jackson slotting into his preferred right full-back position. A pass into the box from Taylor was controlled by Brandy, who span to create a shooting opportunity but he dragged his left-foot shot across goal and wide. Veteran striker Andy Booth replaced the ineffective Ainsworth, who received a standing ovation from the home support. Flynn sent a volley a long way wide of Gulacsi's goal after good chest control whilst Pilkington managed to bring down a long free-kick on the right before turning Taylor and shooting with a left-foot shot which flew over. The visitors were looking for the height and strength of Booth who, with a chested touch, set up Pilkington but his effort was heading wide although Gulacsi chose to hold it.

The Terriers grabbed the only goal of the game with 17 minutes to go after a long-throw from Nathan Clarke was flicked on by Booth and Collins ghosted in to flick past Gulacsi at the far-post from close-range. United tried to respond with Myrie-Williams beating two on the right before firing wildly over but the visitors continued to press; Cadamarteri fed a pass to Tom Clarke who had found space away from Pugh and he picked out Pilkington inside the box but he was denied by Gulacsi who gathered at the second attempt.

Graham Turner decided to sub a sub, with Andy Williams replacing Jackson and the Bristol Rovers loanee nearly equalised when he controlled a low-cross from Myrie-Williams. The Hereford born striker struck goalwards and his strike went into the side netting courtesy of a deft deflection. Smith had a number of chances towards the end of the game, the first of these saw space open up in the middle and he shot straight at Smithies from 25 yards. James Berrett replaced Roberts whilst Johnson came on for Pugh. In stoppage time, Smith sent a half-volley on to the roof of the Blackfriars End before the same player lifted a left-foot shot well over, despite having time to control, after being picked out by Guinan.

It surely is the final nail in the coffin for Hereford with an nine point deficit to the teams outside the relegation zone. A slight hope is still there with 11 points seperating Hereford and four teams, although these four have played two games more than the Bulls. The re-introduction of Myrie-Williams provided some spark on the wings although Pugh offered little on the left. The visitors will be delighted with the win; this is their first success on the road this year and also the first of Lee Clark's reign, which started against Hereford in December. The next installment of the relegation battle comes at Hartlepool next Saturday; the Pools are one of the four teams within sight of Hereford so this game really is 'must-win' for more than one reason.

Hereford: Gulacsi, Rose, Broadhurst, Beckwith, Taylor, Myrie-Williams, Diagouraga, Smith, Pugh, Guinan, Brandy.

Subs: Veiga, Jackson, O'Leary, Johnson, Williams.

Huddersfield: Smithies, T. Clarke, Butler, N. Clarke, Williams, Ainsworth, Flynn, Collins, Roberts, Pilkington, Cadamarteri.

Subs: Eastwood, Goodwin, Kelly, Berrett, Booth.