Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Bulls overcome nine man Gloucester

The Referee Watches As Tom Owen Evans' Penalty Goes In The Corner Of The Net
Hereford FC continue their unbeaten start to the National League North campaign with a 2-0 away victory at Gloucester City, played at Evesham. Jake Jackson saw red for the Tigers after kicking out at Jordan Cullinane-Liburd before Keiron Thomas fired Hereford into a first-half lead. The hosts were subsequently reduced to nine men when Fabien Robert picked up a second yellow-card, and Tom Owen-Evans netted a late penalty to make the scoreline look a little more comfortable than it was.

After the weekend draw with last year's beaten play-off finalists Spennymoor, Marc Richards opted to start Owen-Evans in place of Styche, with Rowan Liburd preferred in the lone striker role. Gloucester included former Bull Marlon Jackson in their starting eleven, whilst Robert began in central midfield - the former Forest Green man was reportedly linked to Hereford over the summer.

Nearly 1,300 away fans were present at the Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium with half the ground open to Gloucester and half open to Hereford, leaving some fans with fairly restricted views. Liburd toe poked at Zach Jeacock from 20 yards in a fairly uninspiring opening. On 14 minutes, Gloucester had their best opportunity to lead; a quick break from left to right saw Martin Riley dragged in and left Zack Kotwika with space to control, and steady himself inside the box but he dragged a shot just past the far post from a good position. The turning point of the game came on the 22nd minute; after Cullinane-Liburd was felled by Jackson, the Gloucester man appeared to aim a kick at the Hereford defender. The referee was left with no option but to send off Jackson, with Cullinane-Liburd booked for his reaction in the aftermath.

Noticeably, Hereford were keeping possession well at the back but lacked a cutting edge going forward. Yet, they made the breakthrough on the 34th minute through former Tiger Thomas. Raheem Hanley found room on the left and he cut a pass inside to Jacob Jagger Cane, who in turn found Thomas. The Hereford midfielder drilled a shot into the far corner from 20 yards much to the delight of the travelling support. 

On the stroke of half-time Brandon Hall made a smart save to deny Joe Hanks's swerving free-kick from a tight angle.

After half-time, Jordan Nicholson showed good tenacity to dig out a cross from the left and Jared Hodgkiss found himself in the unusual position of the opposition's box but he couldn't direct his header on target. Hanks tried his luck with two free-kicks in quick succession but failed to trouble Hall, before Gloucester introduced Joe Parker for Kotwica. In the 67th minute, Gloucester found themselves reduced to nine men - Robert, already booked in the first-half, caught Nicholson late and was shown a second yellow. 

Robert Slides In On Hodgkiss Late In The First Half And Gets Carded
Later He Received A Second Yellow For A Challenge On Nicholson

The Hereford Supporters Hoping He Would Enjoy An Early Bath
Robert Noted The Hereford Noise
Bradley Ash replaced Nicholson soon after before Gloucester nearly equalised with a rasping right-foot shot from Spencer Hamilton deflected over the bar when it looked to be goalbound. Jackson then headed over the resulting corner for the 9 men of Gloucester.

Keiran Thomas Clears A Gloucester Effort Off The Line
Hereford however wrapped up their victory when sub Reece Styche, who had replaced Liburd a minute earlier, was felled in the box under pressure by Vincent Harper.

Owen-Evans stepped up and confidently fired high to the keeper's left to make it 2-0. In the closing moments, Ash fired over from 25 yards as Hereford eased to victory.

Played two and four points is a pleasing start for Richards and Tim Harris although this game wasn't the most inspiring encounter. Despite having the man advantage, and later the two man advantage, Hereford lacked some cutting edge up top with the patient build up play needing to go forward rather than backwards. However, a victory and a clean sheet will please the management and set Hereford up nicely for the long-trip to Kings Lynn on Saturday.

Hereford: Hall, Hodgkiss, Cullinane-Liburd, Gowling, Riley, Hanley, Thomas, Jagger Cane, Nicholson (Ash), Owen-Evans, Liburd (Styche).

Subs not used: Pope, O'Sullivan, Symons.

Gloucester: Jeacock, Thomas, Harper, Hamilton, Avery, Knowles, Kotwica (Parker), Hanks, M. Jackson, J. Jackson, Robert.

Subs not used: Richards, Hainult, Smith, King.

Goalscorers: Thomas, Owen-Evans (pen).

Attendance: 1,570 with approximately 1,300 in the away end.