Saturday, February 22, 2020

Yet another home draw for Hereford

Captain Jared Hodgkiss Scored Hereford's Second Goal
Hereford have now drawn 10 times in the league at Edgar Street after throwing away two points this afternoon at home to Darlington.

It looked like the Bulls were on course for a much-needed win after captain Jared Hodgkiss smashed the ball home with five minutes remaining.

But Darlington hit back just three minutes later through substitute Omar Holness.

However, with Blyth Spartans again losing, Hereford are now nine points above the drop, so you could argue it's a point gained in that respect. And at least the Bulls were more lively today and played their part in an entertaining game.

New signing Demetri Brown sat out the game, but Kelsey Mooney - who scored two dramatic goals to salvage a point against Southport two weeks ago - started.

Hereford had a legitimate claim for a penalty in the 19th minute after Louis Laing handled the ball after Rowan Liburd had jinxed his way into the box. But referee Thomas Kirk waved play on.

Jarrett Rivers and Josef Wheatley both had efforts on goal for Darlington, while at the other end a powerful drive from Mooney was saved by Chris Elliott.

And then in the 32rd minute, Tom Owen-Evans saw a free kick clip the top of the crossbar. 

But it was Darlington who took the lead four minutes later. Hesitancy at the back saw Justin Donawa's low cross find Rivers, who had the simple task of tapping the ball home. 

Shortly before half time, Darlington could have gone 2-0 up, but Brandon Hall did enough to prevent Adam Campbell from scoring.

Hereford started the second half well and went close in the 50th minute when Tommy O'Sullivan fired just wide.

And they did level seven minutes later when Lenell John-Lewis' cross-cum-shot beat Elliott in the Darlington goal.

Hereford were now in the ascendancy and the goal clearly upped the tempo. However, Darlington were also a threat themselves and could easily have scored through Stephen Thompson's header 20 minutes from time. Then, in the 83rd minute, Brandon Hall was a relieved figure when his fumbled save from a Ben Hedley shot went over.

It looked like Hereford had won the game when Jason Pope's cross was headed on to Hodgkiss to rifle home with a half-volley. 

The Cross For The Goal Came From Jason Pope, Jared Hodgkiss Then Blasted The Ball Past Elliot - Sorry No Picture

But hesitancy at the back saw Darlington equalise, even though it could be argued that it should have disallowed for offside.

Overall, it is of course disappointing that Hereford again failed to win, especially after going ahead with only five minutes remaining, But performances are clearly improving and interim manager Josh Gowling is clearly trying to get his team to play in the right way. There were plenty of chances created today and more of a purpose in the final third. But there is always a danger that the Bulls will concede and they need to be more solid at the back.

There is another home game next week against an Altrincham side who thrashed them 5-1 earlier in the season. However, if they play with the same vigour and energy as they did today, particularly in the second half, they they could give them a game.

Hereford: Hall, Hodgkiss, Pope, Jagger Cane, Anderson, Riley, Mooney, Owen-Evans, John-Lewis, Liburd (Ash), O'Sullivan (Thomas 81). 
Subs not used: Davies, Raison, Whitlock.

Darlington: Elliott, Hedley, Liddle, Wheatley (Martin 86), Laing, Storey, Rivers (Thompson 89), Hatfield, Campbell, Reid (Holness 75), Donawa.
Subs not used: Watson, Atkinson. 

Attendance: 1,643 (116 away fans).