Hereford United bowed out of this years FA Cup this afternoon despite taking a ninth minute lead through Stuart Fleetwood. Hosts, Sheffield Wednesday, struck back before the interval through Darren Potter and added a brace of Morrison penalties and a fine individual Jermaine Johnson goal in the second period to ease into Round 5.
A mighty gathering of Herefordians greeted a team that was unchanged from the previous game and therefore included former Owl, Kenny Lunt, in the starting line-up while another ex-Hillsborough resident, Ryan Green, was named on the bench.
The opening moves from both teams produced little more than a couple of throw-ins before Clinton Morrison's header from a Coke cross went well wide of the target and a Bulls move involving a McQuilkin/Colbeck interchange broke down on the edge of The Owls box.
Then on nine minutes, The Bulls took the lead. Jake Jervis peeled away to the right and was found by Kenny Lunt's probing ball. The Birmingham loanee sent his cross to the back post and Fleetwood was on hand to hammer the ball into the roof of the net.
Wednesday were quickly back on the attack and Richard Rose got in a fine block tackle to deny Teale inside the area but got beaten by a Daniel Jones run that enable hin to pull the ball back to Potter who fired a low drive past Bartlett from just inside the area on the quarter hour.
Kenny Lunt sent Heath away on a surging run down the left but his cross was cut out as Fleetwood closed in to shoot. At the other end, a Morrison and Heffernan combination produced a snap shot which Bartlett was quickly down to smother before Morrison scooped another chance over the bar from just a yard out. For The Bulls, Kovacs saw a set-piece header graze the bar while at the other end some fine hold-up play by Morrison enabled Teale to bring a save out of Bartlett before Fleetwood outpaced two defenders only to see his shot sneak narrowly wide of the upright.
HT Owls 1 Bulls 1
Bartlett had a busy second period
The hosts started the second period on the front foot and Rose collected a yellow card when referee Tanner failed to spot a hand in the face from Daniel Jones but quickly penalised the unbalanced Rose when Jones tumbled to the ground. Tanner was to infuriate the visitors several times during the second half as only one of his watchful eyes appeared to be in working order. Jervis was chopped to the ground off the ball on the halfway line as The Bulls broke down the left but the official missed it completely.
Kenny Lunt was withdrawn on the hour-mark to be replaced by Rob Purdie but the removal of the wise old owl and a shuffle of the midfield seemed to disrupt what had seemed a fairly organised central pack. A series of poor decisions unsettled the Hereford team as their usual tidy passing game deserted them. Colbeck, Featherstone and even McQuilkin were all guilty of cheaply loosing possession but it was Jervis who was the main culprit. Indeed, it was his loss that led to a Jermaine Johnson counter attack down the left, which gave the lead to Wednesday. His cross to the back post found Morrison and Joe Heath tussling for the ball and as Morrison backed in, Heath was adjudged to have fouled. A penalty was awarded and Heath dismissed for supposedly preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. Morrison dispatched the spot-kick in the seventieth minute.
The ten-man Bulls couldn't get to grips with the staff shortage and was no real surprise when Jermaine Johnson added to the score at the end of a mazy run from the halfway line as he buried a fine solo effort into the far corner of Bartlett's net after Jervis had lost the ball deep into the opposition half.
The Bulls then conceded a very harsh second penalty when Townsend was penalised for handball when the ball was blasted at him from close range as he fell to the ground. Morrison again beat Bartlett with the spot-kick but Hereford fans were left wondering how Tanner failed to spot a far more deliberate handball at the other end when Colbeck’s cross was charged down by two upraised hands.
Aiden Thomas and Ryan Green both joined the game late on but The Bulls finished a dispirited team although they received generous applause the travelling faithful amongst the 16,578 who watched the game.
FT Owls 4 Bulls 1
Hereford: Bartlett, Rose, Kovacs, Townsend, Heath, Colbeck (Green 76), Featherstone, McQuilkin (Thomas 81), Lunt (Purdie 61), Jervis, Fleetwood. Subs unused: Stratford, Canham, Weir, Preston.
Sheffield Wednesday: Weaver, Spurr, M Morrison, Heffernan, Coke (Sedgwick 82), Jones, Potter (O’Connor 57), Teale, R Johnson, J Johnson, C Morrison. Subs unused: Jameson, Reynolds, Beevers, Mellor.
It would bold to suggest that The Bulls were unlucky to lose but the final score line did flatter the hosts particularly based on the performance before referee Tanner’s questionable interventions. The normally reliable Richard Rose had a difficult day and the usual midfield passing machine was uncharacteristically off-form while youngster Jake Jervis showed little to suggest that he will be a suitable replacement for the much missed Beastly striker.
So, Cup duty over for another year, see you at the Turkey Pen on Tuesday.