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

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hero Barlett seals point

Hereford United remain three points above safety after a 1-1 draw at the Globe Arena against Morecambe. Despite Steven Leslie's goal a few minutes shy of half-time, United were thankful to have Adam Bartlett in the sticks, with the 'keeper making a number of excellent saves, before finally being beaten by Will Haining. The crowd of 2016, on a delightfully sunny afternoon will be content with the final result, although the 194 in the away end perhaps feeling the happier out of the two sets of fans.

Kevan Hurst's free-kick was struck straight at Bartlett, after Michael Townsend had given away a soft foul 30 yards out, before the lively Leslie set up Rob Purdie in the centre of the field but a rasping drive failed to trouble Barry Roche. Strong wing-back work from Joe Heath saw the Exeter loanee get to the byline, cutting back to Joe Colbeck, who couldn't keep his shot down whilst a header from the edge of the area by Stuart Drummond failed to trouble Bartlett. A looping shot from Leslie was off-target before the hosts had two good opportunities in the space of two minutes.

The first of these was presented to them after a misplaced pass by Purdie, allowing Danny Carlton to break and his pass found Phil Jevons, who shifted inside Ryan Green before firing just past the far post. Moments later, Jevons was involved, capitalising on a communicational mix-up by Townsend and Stefan Stam, poking the ball through to Carlton but he could only scoop wide under pressure from Bartlett. Good work down the right-wing by Nicky Featherstone saw the former Hull midfielder pick out Kenny Lunt, who sent a strong strike towards goal which Roche had to parry behind for a corner.

United took the lead in the 42nd minute through Leslie, although they could have been one down minutes before when Drummond went close. A free-kick from the right was put in the danger area by Hurst, with Drummond rising highest, only being denied by an excellent reflex save by Bartlett. Yet, soon after, Jamie Pitman's men were at the other end celebrating the opener. Colbeck broke inside his own half before sprinting forward and picking out Leslie, with a right-foot pass. The Shrewsbury winger cut inside his man before shooting with his weaker foot through Roche, who in truth should have done better.

In the final minute of the opening period, Garry Hunter sent a half-volley from 20 yards past Bartlett's post.

The home team start the second-half well with an early chance to equalise falling to Jevons. A ball from the left wasn't cleared, and Carlton hooked it towards the former Huddersfield striker; with plenty of time, he sent a powerful side-foot volley towards the corner from six yards but was somehow denied by an incredible stop by Bartlett. At the other end, Lunt found Fleetwood 25 yards out with the sole striker firing off-target. An unfortunate female Bulls' supporter was on the wrong-end of a misplaced Hurst shot, with the ball striking her on the head and knocking her off her feet.

The Bulls were once again thankful for Bartlett's brilliance as he made another fine save. A spot of head tennis inside the box eventually saw the ball fall nicely for Nile Cowperthwaite, and a right-foot lifted volley looked to be heading in the top corner but the outstretched hand of Bartlett clawed it behind for a corner. The former Kidderminster shot-stopper was finally beaten with 20 minutes remaining; a defensive header out of the box was latched on by Carlton at the byline, with a cut-back finished from 10 yards by Haining.

Sammy McIlroy bought on Chris Shuker for Hurst, as the hosts pushed for a winner and the ex Tranmere winger was soon involved, sending a through ball to Carlton, but he was smartly denied by the outrushing Bartlett. Waide Fairhurst replaced a tired and frustrated figure in Fleetwood, whilst Morecambe introduced both James Spencer and Andy Holdsworth late on, in place of Carlton and Jevons respectively. A persistant run by Leslie eventually allowed the ball to break into the path of Fairhurst, with the loanee firing goalwards but failing to trouble Roche. In the final moments of normal time, Shuker controlled a long-throw but Brown sliced a shot harmlessly wide, after a through ball had found him.

A point a piece at the end of game was a pretty fair result, although Hereford had to defend for large chunks of the second-half. Man of the match Bartlett had an excellent game, with his save to deny Jevons being among the best saves I've seen in 13 years of watching the Bulls. Similar to previous games, chances for United were few and far between, with the formation working well defensively, but too often, lacking numbers in the final third, leaving Fleetwood isolated. Next up for Hereford is the visit of Bradford; a result in this game is a must with safety still far from guaranteed.

Hereford: Bartlett, Green, Townsend, Stam, Heath, Colbeck, Lunt, Purdie, Featherstone, Leslie, Fleetwood (Fairhurst).

Subs not used: Hoult, Kovacs, Rose, Valentine, McQuilkin, Patulea.

Morecambe: Roche; Haining, McCready, Wilson, Cowperthwaite, Brown, Hunter, Drummond, Hurst (Shuker ), Jevons (Holdsworth), Carlton (Spencer).

Subs not used: Jones, Bentley, Shuker, Hendrie, Aley.