Next Game: Forest Green Rovers at Home on Wednesday 25th July at 7.45pm

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Romulus and Hereford draw in feisty encounter

Romulus Ground Share With Sutton Coldfield
Hereford FC's first ever FA Cup away game ended in a 1-1 draw at Romulus of the Northern Premier League First Division South. John Mills came off the bench in the first-half to fire Hereford into the lead but Romulus fought back after the break to equalise when Mark Branch scored from the spot. Both sides were reduced to ten men after Cameron Lee was sent off for the hosts for a second bookable offence, and then Pablo Haysham was given his marching orders for a reaction to a foul. 713 were in attendance at Coles Lane for a game that was somewhat spoilt by some fussy refereeing decisions.

Alex Harris made his first start of the season for Hereford, with normal 'keeper Martin Horsell away. Jimmy Oates returned from injury to replace Aaron Birch, with Rob Purdie pushed into a midfield berth. Jamie Cuss also started, with Mills having fallen ill overnight, although he was fit enough to start on the bench.

Mike Symons fired just over the bar in the opening moments after Tristan Plummer had turned his man inside out on the right-wing. Soon after Jamie Willets saw a towering header pushed away by former Alvechurch shot-stopper Matt Sargeant in the sticks and Plummer struck off target with the rebound. Hereford were forced into a change mid-way through the first-period; Cuss hurt his knee and was replaced by Mills. Harris was called into action to deny Malaci Farquharson, who had chested and sent a half-volley towards goal, whilst a floated free-kick by Branch was met by Rory Hill but his header landed on the top of the net.

Hereford nearly took the lead when Haysham's tricky in-swinging free-kick was pushed behind by Sargeant, but from the resulting corner, Hereford took the lead. Haysham sent a dangerous ball into Willets who had two attempts at goal, the second broke to Mills and from the left-hand side of the box, he smashed a crisp strike into the back of the net from 10 yards.

Pablo HayshamTook The Corner

Jamie Willets Got His Head On The Ball

Eventually The Ball Came To John Mills

Who Struck It

And Scored

Peter Beadle's men were fairly comfortable and had opportunities to double the lead in the second-half. Haysham was off-target with a free-kick, whilst Purdie lifted a shot from the edge of the box high over the bar, following good work from Symons. The 'Beast' had a great opportunity to make it two soon after, having been found by a left-foot cross from Oates, Symons back-post header was off-target.

Romulus were having a fair amount of possession but were rarely troubling Harris, until they were awarded a penalty. A pass from the right found Farquharson and despite heading away from goal, he enticed Harris into making a challenge that was not needed, and although it may have been soft, it looked as though the Romulus player was caught. The ref pointed to the spot, and Branch made no mistake, sending Harris the wrong way.

The game livened after the equaliser, but it turned sour for both teams as two red cards were brandished. Having already been booked in the first-half, Lee hauled down a probing Plummer on the right-wing and was shown a second yellow. Then five or so minutes later, the referee equaled things up; Haysham was felled on the left-wing, and in regaining his balance, was adjudged to have reacted to the challenge in an incident worthy of a red card. From my angle, there looked little in it, but the referee deemed it a straight red, and Hereford were too down to ten men.

From the free-kick that followed the Haysham incident, Purdie curled in towards goal and the ball looked to hit a stray Romulus hand, but the official waved away the strong Hereford appeals. Plummer collected a pass from Purdie on the left and tested Sargeant at his near-post with a fierce shot, but the closing moments saw Romulus threaten. Chad Degville-Cross flashed a strike past Harris's post, whilst with the last kick of the game, Branch had an opportunity to win it, following a cheap foul by Symons on the edge of the area. The left-back beat the wall but narrowly missed the top corner, with Harris scrambling.

It was a feisty match at Coles Lane, which can only be described as a proper non-league venue; fans close to the pitch and a real old school feel around the place. Hereford perhaps shaded the play but as has been the case in recent games, weren't clinical in front of goal. Romulus battled well however, and a draw wasn't far off the right result. 

The game however was over-shaded by a poor refereeing display; the man in the middle failed to let the game flow, and arguably lost control of it towards the end of the first-half, when there were a number of yellows brandished to both teams. It really killed it as a spectacle; hopefully on Tuesday when Romulus travel to Edgar Street for the replay, the referee will keep control and allow the game to flow, and the two teams let the football do the talking. 

The draw also ended Hereford's 27 game winning run on the road (with the exception of Wembley - a neutral venue), which stretched back as far as the Westfields away game, played on the August bank holiday Monday.

Hereford: A. Harris, Oates, Green, Willets, Barker, Plummer, Purdie, Edge, Haysham, Symons, Cuss (Mills).

Subs not used: M. Harris, Parry, Birch, Staley, Sinclair, Huntbach.

Romulus: Sargeant, Evans, Branch, Lee, Hill, Farquharson, Degville-Cross, Gibson (Danks), Hailey, Rutty-Smith, Donnelly (Walters).

Subs not used: Parsons, Masidi, Scragg, Welsh.