After a promising first half display, United produced a second period surrender that saw them lose 4-1 at AFC Bournemouth last night. An early goal by Tom Barkhuizen was cancelled out before the break and then a second half weakened by substitutions saw three further goals by the hosts.
Jamie Pitman gave starts to his three new loan players. Will Evans started at right back, Barkhuizen on the right of midfield and Sam Winnal up top with Arquinn. Stefan Stam and Adam Bartlett both returned from injury. Marc Pugh wore the seven shirt for The Cherries.
The Bulls started brightly with Arquinn feeding Winnal but his strike was cleared for an uneventful corner. Then Evans played a long ball down the flank for Barkhuizen who got past his marker before crossing. Then twelve minutes into the game The Bulls took the lead with a well-worked goal.
Kenny Lunt chipped a ball forward to Arquinn who made a determined run down the left before his driven cross was met by Barkhuizen who tapped in at the far post.
Marc Pugh jinked his way into The Bulls’ box box his shot from fifteen yards went straight to Bartlett before nippy Nathan Byrne got a cross in from the right, which Hereford scrambled to safety.
Arquinn’s hard running almost produced a second goal when he got to the ball before the keeper but his squared pass was cut out just before Lunt, who was charging into the box, could stab home. The Bulls continued to look a good match for their higher graded opponents with Arquinn causing problems with his height and speed while Harry Pell was always looking to break forward from midfield.
Lunt played a delightful through ball to Winnal and the incomer helped it on to Arquinn who should have don e better than blast over from inside the box.
Then just before the break, Pugh levelled for Bournemouth when he turned inside Evans to fire past Bartlett from 12 yards.
HT AFCB 1 Bulls 1
Hereford emerged for the second half with Cornell replacing Bartlett that fuelled speculation the thigh strain may not have fully healed. A short corner routine produced a cross that Stam headed over at the back post before Bryne, again dangerous down the right, produced a cross which deflected away by the defending Lunt. Pell produced a surging run that finished with a goal-bound shot that was blocked before a similar driving run saw his effort go over the bar. Sam Winnal also went close with a snap shot.
Fleetwood replaced Arquinn after an hour and five minutes later the hosts took the lead. The ball was worked quickly from the midfield when Fleets lost possession and striker Doble slipped the ball between Stam and Townsend for substitute Stockley to fire past Cornell. Ten minutes later it was two when Pugh combined with Stockley for the striker to net again.
Pugh cut in from the left but his low shot skidded wide of the post and the fourth arrived with eighty-five minutes on the clock. Heath played the ball out towards Mcquilkin but the combination of an under-hit pass and Quilks’ hesitancy allowed MacDonald to pinch the ball and shoot home from well outside the box. Kenny Lunt rolled passed two defenders in the box to square the ball back to McQuilkin but James’ rising shot was high over the bar from just inside the area before the referee sent the crowd that included around eighty hardy souls from The Shire on their way home.
FT AFCB 4 Bulls 1
Hereford: Bartlett (Cornell 46), Evans, Stam, Townsend, Heath, Barkhuizen, Lunt, Pell (McQuilkin 71), Clist, Winnal, Arquin (Fleetwood 61). Subs unused: Featherstone, John.
Bournemouth: Jalal, Purches, Barrett, Cooper, Cummings, Byrne, Gregory (Arter 46), MacDonald, Pugh, Lovell (Stockley 58), Doble. Subs unused: Flahavan, Baudry, Fletcher
This was very much a case of “a game of two halves”. In the first half United were easily as good as the hosts but following the withdrawal of Arquinn and Pell after an hour, the pace and urgency completely went out of the side which made it a disappointing evening for the travelling fans. Evans started well but unsurprisingly, Pugh got the better of him later in the game while Winnal and Barkhuizen were promising until the disruption of the substitutions.
It must be hoped that the changes were prompted by the bigger picture of saving the team for the League match on Saturday against The Daggers. The £4.50 carvery in The Bull at Downton was, however, excellent.