Saturday, January 22, 2005

Dominant Bulls pay the price

Hereford United had most of the play this afternoon at Edgar Street, but were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline as Dagenham & Redbridge snatched a victory to complete a double over United. Former Hereford United loanee Anwar Uddin converted one of the Daggers few chances for the only goal of the game.

Graham Turner had several players who were not fully fit, but still only made once change from the F.A. Trophy victory on Tuesday. Danny Carey-Bertram has a tweaked hamstring and so David Brown replaced him in the Hereford attack. Tamika Mkandawire was back in the squad after injury, as was Lee Mills, but both only made the bench.

Hereford rarely forced 'keeper Tony Roberts into a save throughout the game, but they created several "half chances". Brown's touch after Craig Mawson's long clearance failed to take him away from the onrushing goalie, who managed to smother at the feet of Brown. Craig Stanley's half volley following Adam Stansfield's cushion header was saved by Roberts before Danny Williams benefited from a good run by Joe Anyinsah, but couldn't beat Roberts from a tight angle.

Lee Goodwin was taken off within half an hour of the start and was replaced by Tony Boot due to injury. Simon Travis won a corner that fell to Jamie Pitman, who headed back into the box before having the ball returned by Anyinsah, but his left footed drive was over. Dag & Red forced their first real chance of the game after thirty five minutes, and it proved to be the decisive moment in the game. A free kick was awarded on the left by referee Amy Rayner which was crossed into the dangerzone by Glenn Southam and Uddin connected with his head and diverted the ball into the bottom corner.

The dangerous Chris Moore was denied by Tom Smith after a good run into the penalty area as the Daggers looked to double their lead immediatly. The Bulls were delt a blow when Adam Stansfield had to be subbed and then taken to hospital with concussion. His replacement Rob Purdie was straight in on the action, heading down Tony James' long pass for Pitman whose first time shot was saved. Purdie drove a left footed effort from the right of the penatly area and forced a save out of Roberts before Stanley fired wide from twenty yards before the interval.

Both sides made changes at the break, Shane Blackett replaced Craig Mackail-Smith for the visitors. Lee Mills and Mark Robinson were introduced for Danny Williams and Ryan Green, who were both pre-match doubts. Travis paced onto Mill's accurate pass on the right but his cross/shot went untouched across the goal face. Anyinsah then delivered a similar cross but this time the inswinging pass bounced just wide of the far post. Smith then squandered what was arguably Hereford's best opportunity of the afternoon. He lost his marker and met Purdie's corner with a powerful header that was inched over the bar from six yards out.

Mawson presented the ball to Scott Griffiths with a loose throw out, but the shot from the left of the goal was at Mawson. Dagenham worked most of their openings on the counter attack as the Bulls pressed for an equaliser. Moore was played in behind the defence but his shot was just wide of the far post, which was a let of for United. Moore was again causing trouble for the defence soon after, but Mawson saved with his legs after Moore got away from James. Pitman linked up well with Purdie on the right and the latter's shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Stanley opened up the visitors defence with a good pass to Travis on the right, but his cross was literally inches too high for Brown who awaited in the penalty area. Pitman crossed for Travis who connected with a diving header, but it hit Ashley Vickers and went out for a corner. Hereford forced sucessive corners in injury time, the first of which fell to Robinson at the far post who returned the ball into the middle but it was Vickers who was first to it and he put it behind again. Anyinsah's twenty five yarder went close in the third minute of added time in Hereford's last effort for an equaliser.

Hereford's supporters in the crowd of 2,510 will once again be unhappy with the performance of their side who really should have made more out of the possesion that they dominated. The Bulls need more imagination and need to be more clinical with their shooting or the play off places will slip away from their grasp. The 74 away fans though, will be more than happy to have completed a double on Hereford this season having seen their side demolished 9-0 by the same opponents last season.

HUFC Team: Mawson, Green, Travis, Smith, James, Anyinsah, Williams, Pitman, Stanley, Stansfield, Brown. Subs: Mkandawire, Robinson, Hyde, Scott, Mills.

DRFC Team: Roberts, Foster , Goodwin, Vickers, Griffiths, Clark, Uddin, Southam, Bruce, Moore, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Boot, McGowen, Blackett, Overland, Judge.