Hereford United have been knocked out of the GLS Conference Cup at Edgar Street this evening, following a 1-0 defeat in a highly unentertaining fixture with Northwich Victoria. Hereford's side boasted a whole different starting eleven to the one that started against Canvey Island on the weekend, reflecting how important they felt the Cup competition is.
Hereford had one trialists on the team sheet tonight and a number of players from the youth team. Paul Collins played the whole match at left back. Sam Gwynne was named in the midfield. Mark Smith, Lewis Jones and sub goalkeeper Carl Lewis were the other youngsters on the bench. Kyle Patterson, from West Bromwich, also played for the full ninety minutes in the attack.
Ryan Green had to put the ball out for a corner at the far post following the ball across the face of goal from Chris Gaghan as the match got of to a slow start. David Brown had a volley from thirty yards out that needed a tip over the bar from the fingers of Andy Ralph in the Northwich goal. Andy Williams headed Gwynne's cross straight at the stopper soon after. Michael Byrne cracked a twenty-five yard effort wide of the goal after a good run from half way.
Brown then saw his effort from outside of the box saved smartly by Ralph, who got down low to his right well. In United's last chance of the half Williams managed to latch onto a ball from outside of the box, hook it back into the middle for Brown who volleyed against the cross bar from no more than eight yards out.
Around five minutes into the second half Nortwhich broke the deadlock when Byrne reacted before the Hereford defence, who seemed to try to hold an offside line, to a loose ball in the area and fired in past Scott from close range. Brown tried to hit back immediately, but his shot was just wide from twenty-five yards. Williams then gave Byrne another chance when he gifted him with the ball with a cross-field pass, but he couldn't take advantage of the situation as he fired wide.
Byrne was again the danger for Hereford's defence when he raced onto a through ball but was denied by the legs of Scott. He had the ball in the back of the net again soon after, with a header, but he was judged to be in an offside position. The Bulls saved the best chance until the last minute but after good work by Brown on the right and then by Patterson, who crossed from the by-line for Lee Mills, the ex-Premiership striker managed to blaze over the bar from six yards out.
The 347 in attendance were probably not too worried that Mills had missed though, as it would have meant an extra half an hour to play in this pointless cup, something that the background staff at Hereford had made clear before the game that they did not want. Hereford are out of the cup in the fourth round, but they won't loose any sleep over this cup defeat.
HUFC Team: Scott, Green, Tretton, Smith, Collins, Gwynne, Patterson, Hyde, Brown, A. Williams, Mills. Subs: Travis, Mkandawire, Jones, Smith, Lewis.