Saturday, March 31, 2012
Hereford United turned in a lacklustre performance against Rotherham this afternoon to lose to a Lewis Grabban goal scored late in the first half.
Richard O’Kelly gave a first start to James Chambers and Delroy Facey returned to lead the attack while Tom Barkhuizen and Nicky Featherstone replaced James McQuilkin and Sam Clucas who were missing through injury.
The Millers were quick to take charge of the game after Barkhuizen’s early crossfield ball was intercepted. Grabban sent over a teasing cross from the right, which Towner sliced out for a corner. The flag kick was scrambled away for a second which in turn led to third from which Millers centre back Cresswell was allowed to get in a towering header despite climbing all over Townsend. Lunt sent Peniket away down The Bulls left but Cresswell was across to clear at the expense of a throw. Barkhuizen deep throw caused concern in the home defence with keeper Taylor eventually clearing off Facey for a goal kick. There seemed some question over whether Facey had been pushed by Taylor but Bulls players around the incident made little of it.
Neat work by Chambers sent Colbeck clear on the right but Joe contrived to run straight into a defender and The Millers were able to break upfield where Pringle lifted a shot over the bar. Rotherham striker Revell seemed to have the measure of Townsend as he won the majority in the air and also outpaced The Bulls defender on the ground. Bradley cross was headed back across goal by Revell but Grabban screwed his shot wide of the upright before a Peniket break down the right saw his cross cut out just before it reached the onrushing Facey. Revell again headed over and Evans glanced one wide as the hosts continued to dominate the first period. Peniket put a header over the bar and Barkhuizen’s dash to goal was halted by Cresswell before, on the stroke of half time, The Millers took the lead through some sloppy defending.
A relatively harmless looking cross from the left found Cornell and Stam leaving it to each other and Grabban nipped in, unmarked, to nod into the gaping net.
HT Millers 1 Bulls 0
Rotherham had controlled the midfield during the first period utilising a central three and O’Kelly responded at half time by introducing Will Evans in place of Facey with Peniket moving to a lone striker role.
Featherstone forced a corner and Barkhuizen’s kick was head back across goal by Stam but young Tom’s volleyed effort was blazed high over the bar. At the other end, Grabban had Towner tied in knots but Lunt arrived quickly to clear the danger and clear upfield to Colbeck. Joe made ground threateningly but then wasted the opportunity when his over optimistic shot from 30 yards sailed over. The Bulls found themselves three on three but Barks delayed his release to Peniket and, again, the chance was lost.
Colbeck’s stabbed ball into the box bobbled off a defender to Peniket who laid off to Evans but the ball just didn’t sit right and Will’s shot rose to safety. Revell pulled a shot just wide and an Evans shot was deflected away for a corner. Grabban and Revell both missed chances while at the other end, a pair of Colbeck crosses both failed to reach their intended (I assume) destinations. Barkhuizen put another over the bar and Will Evans was just wide of the target as the hosts played out reasonably comfortably to take all three points in front of 3237, which included 189 very despondent Herefordians.
FT Millers 1 Bulls 0
Hereford: Cornell, Chambers, Stam (Anthony 89), Townsend, Green, Barkhuizen, Featherstone (Elder 85), Lunt, Colbeck, Penniket, Facey (Evans 46). Subs not used: Bartlett, Purkiss.
Rotherham: Taylor, Bradley, Cresswell, Mullins, Wood, Grabban, Taylor, Schofield, Evans (Cadogan 78), Revell, Pringle. Subs not used: Warrington, Tonge, Harrison, Hoskins.
Despite an increase in goal attempts in the second period, there seemed to be little chance of a glut of goals from United this afternoon. Rotherham bossed the midfield in the first half and although the introduction of Evans brought some balance, there was not much to encourage the fans who became increasingly concerned as the game progressed. The chant of “if you’re all going to Newport clap your hands” probably summed up the feelings nicely.
On individual performances, some questions must be asked of Stam and Cornell for their part in the goal although when it’s that close to the net there really only should be one person in charge. James Chambers did OK although there was a lack of overlapping which may come with match fitness. Towner was beaten too often while Stam was generally untroubled apart from one strange back header and Green continues to look out of place on the left. The midfield lost the first half battle but improved with the addition of Evans. Facey got no change out of Cresswell although neither, for that matter did Elder. Peniket looked a bit lightweight against the big Millers defence. Barks was bright if inaccurate while Colbeck continues to defy logic most of the time.
It was a fairly quiet walk back to the cars after the game with even the most optimistic now beginning to contemplate the possibilities of next season. However, there are still six games with eighteen points to play for.
As has been said before, all is not lost. Even more important now to get behind the lads on Friday.