Saturday, January 08, 2022

Pearce dismissed as Bulls lose to table toppers

A single goal is all it took for league leaders Brackley to beat Hereford in the Bulls’ first game of 2022.

And a late red card for influential Hereford defender Krystian Pearce is an extra blow for Josh Gowling’s increasingly stretched squad. 

It’s four weeks since Hereford’s last match, a 2-2 draw with Curzon. To restart the season with an away trip to the table toppers was always going to be tricky, particularly given the departures of loanees Levi Andoh and Dan Smith. It meant Gowling had decisions to make, with Covid still playing its part. Former Bournemouth under 21 captain Dinesh Gillela started at right back after signing on non-contract terms, with Jared Hodgkiss absent through injury. Gillela put in an assured performance in his first Bulls game, getting forward and defending well against a lively Brackley team. Toby Raison started among the substitutes having returned from his loan spell at Merthyr, with George Forsyth returning from injury. 

Brackley had only lost once in the league at St James Park this season, with striker Lee Ndlovu their leading scorer with nine so far.  Ex-Hereford man Jordan Cullinane-Liburd was missing for the home side, having scored in their 3-1 defeat at Kettering last week, with experienced goalkeeper Danny Lewis - formerly of Kidderminster and Solihull, between the sticks. 

Possible Hand Ball?

Hereford matched Brackley for the first hour of this game, with the best opportunity of the first half falling to the Bulls. James Vincent, impressive and vocal in the centre of the park, controlled a high ball, and with his second touch the shot was saved by Lewis. 

Vincent Goes For Goal

The opening period saw both sides create opportunities. It was entertaining to watch without either goalkeeper being particularly busy. Brackley’s Glen Walker had a shot on the turn that sailed over. While Hereford ended the half as the stronger side, it was clear that they were being frustrated in front of goal. 

Gordon With Just The Keeper To Beat

After the restart, Tom Owen-Evans turned and shot, forcing a save out of Lewis. 

But then Tre Mitford made it 1-0 to Brackley; Mitford found space in the area to fire home. 

And that allowed Brackley to control the game, slowing up play and absorbing Hereford advances. George Forsyth was brought on after Luke Haines suffered a calf injury, but the Bulls struggled to break down a resolute Brackley defence. 

At First It Looked Like Haines Had Cramp But It Was A Calf Problem

Matt Lowe’s shot was blocked by Hall, while Lee Ndlovu drilled into the side netting and Hall made a late save from an angled Wes York effort. 

But it was Pearce’s red card that ended Hereford’s hopes. A sliding challenge on York immediately saw the referee show a red card, and from that point Brackley only needed to frustrate Hereford to earn the points. 

Brackley: Lewis, Myles, Yusuf, Murombedzi, Lomas, Dean, Lowe (Wise, 90), Armson, Ndlovu, Mitford (York, 77), Walker.  Subs: Worby, Putz, Lopes.

Hereford: Hall, Haines (Forsyth, 61), Pearce, McLean (Klukowski, 80), Owen-Evans, Storey, Lloyd, Pollock, Vincent, Gordon, Gillela. Subs: Raison, Austin-Davis, Price. 

Attendance: 663

Referee: Kristian Silcock