Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Bulls into play-off places following fine away win

Peter Vincenti And Josh Gowling - Scorers Of Hereford Goals
Report by Terry Goodwin

It’s now four wins in a row from Hereford, who put in an assured performance against a determined Leamington side. The Bulls have a renewed confidence and purpose, digging in defensively but looking more creative in attack to earn three points on their travels in Warwickshire. 

Going into the match, an upturn in results had brought the feel good factor back for Hereford under Russ Slade. The Bulls knew Leamington would be a tough challenge after their 3-3 draw at Chester last Saturday as the Warwickshire side felt they could’ve collected all three points on the Welsh border. 

A damp New Windmill Ground had suffered after a couple of days of heavy rain, but the pitch was playable albeit the surface was slick! Leamington manager Paul Holleran was happy with the conditions ahead of kick-off with a tricky wind having an impact when the ball was fired into the night sky. 

Hereford made changes from the side that won 1-0 against Kettering on Saturday, with Rowan Liburd and Reece Styche dropping to the bench. Jason Pope and Mike Symons started, giving Hereford a slightly more defensive shape. 

Leamington had the best of the early exchanges with the Brakes’ most dangerous chance coming midway through the opening period. A ball into the box found full-back Junior English but it sailed wide of the far post. 

At the other end, Tom Owen-Evans had a shot from an acute angle that went high and wide, and three minutes later, Hereford created their best opportunity of the half. It was really lively performance from Peter Vincenti, and this time his cross found Jake Jagger Cane ten yards out. His header forced a brilliant save out of Leamington’s on-loan goalkeeper Jake Weaver, who palmed it over the crossbar. 

Hereford grew as the half developed, with Mike Symons looking for openings up front. But it took a strong tackle from Jordan Cullinane-Liburd on Jordan March to quash a late attack from the home side, just before the half drew to a close. 

Hereford started the second half as they finished the first - full of energy and enthusiasm. A minute after Leamington’s Kieran Dunbar had fired wide, Hereford broke the deadlock. A mistake by Stephan Morley saw Peter Vincenti head home at the far post to open the scoring. 

Hereford never looked back. Fifteen minutes later, Josh Gowling made it 2-0 after substitute Rowan Liburd’s initial effort was blocked, dropped to the defender who drilled the ball into the bottom corner. 

The home side tried to respond. A Reece Flanagan free kick was driven over the crossbar, and Kieran Thomas made a dramatic clearance, heading off the line to maintain Hereford’s clean sheet. Then the Bulls pushed for a third, with Bradley Ash coming off the bench to force a good save from goalkeeper Jake Weaver, and then firing across goal and just wide in added time. 

In all, this was an accomplished Hereford performance. They built from a steady defensive base in the first half, growing in confidence and creativity to earn three points and moving into the play-off places. 

Hereford: Hall, Thomas, Bodenham, Pope, Cullinane-Liburd, Gowling (capt), Vincenti (Ash, 71) Jagger Cane, Symons (Liburd, 60), Owen-Evans (O’Sullivan, 82), Nicholson. Unused subs: Styche, Finn. 

Leamington: Weaver, English, Morley, Gittings (Lane, 90), Hood (capt), Mace, Dunbar (Shamsi, 71), Flanagan (Keane, 80), March, Edwards, Anderson. Unused subs: Taylor, Newey

Attendance: 611