The Bulls came away from The Memorial Stadium with a hard-earned point this afternoon but must wonder why referee Mohareb failed to award a spot kick when Kenny Lunt was felled the box in the second half.
Jamie Pitman, with a string of new loan signings at his disposal chose to leave them on the bench as Youann Arquinn made his first start and Kenny Lunt made a return to the opening eleven. Stuart Fleetwood and Adam Bartlett joined the incomers of Sam Winnal, Will Evans and Tom Barkhuizen on the bench.
In the opening attack former Shrewsbury striker Matt Harrold introduced himself to Ryan Green with a straight forearm into the face but undeterred, Greener calmly won possession and cleared upfield. A neat move involving Pell and Lunt produced no more than a throw before a Rover’s corner was safely gathered by Cornell. Heath’s miss-control presented a chance to McGleish but the Gas’ striker fired straight at Cornell. Former Bull, Craig Stanley, lobbed a ball over the top but Kuffour was well off target.
Arquinn and Facey combined well down the left but Facey’s cross was over-hit and went out for a throw as the strong wind made measured passing very difficult. Pell was sent on a driving run by Lunt but dragged his shot wide of the goal. As Pell started to pull the strings in midfield, his work was interrupted by a disgraceful late challenge from Gill who deservedly collected a caution from the referee. Heath put in a fine cross which Delroy would probably have got too were it not for a crafty nudge in the back which, of course, went unnoticed. Kenny Lunt’s quick throw-in almost caught the Gassers unaware but Virgo was on hand to scramble the ball away.
The referee provided another example of inconsistency when a dangerous Stanley challenge on Lunt went unpunished but thirty seconds later he carded Harry Pell for a late tackle on McGleish. Former Bulls’ trialist Zebroski then picked up a yellow for his challenge on Nicky Featherstone before a Craig Stanley free kick was headed back across the goal by Harrold but the strike from Gill went well wide. Cornell had to be alert to tip a drifting cross away as the wing continued to play havoc with ball more than a foot off the ground.
HT Rovers 0 Bulls 0
Kenny Lunt had a chance early in the second half but decided to try to slide a ball to Featherstone when a shot on goal was probably the better option. Facey, with a fine turn of pace, tricked his way past his marker to win a corner and Lunt’s accurate flag-kcik was headed just wide by Townsend. A Harrold header brought a low save from Cornell before Facey was hauled to the ground when reaching for a pinpoint cross from the overlapping Danny Williams. Again, the referee waived away the Bulls’ appeals. Fifteen minutes into the second period, Pell let fly from 30 yards but his effort bounced off the far post to safety with home ‘keeper Bevan beaten.
A Clist/Lunt corner routine produced a chance for Arquinn but his back post header was just wide. Anthony headed over for the hosts and another deep corner from The Gas was comfortably collected by Cornell before the referee bottled a penalty claim by The Bulls.
Facey crossed from the left and Arquinn controlled the ball and pulled it back to Lunt who was bursting into the box. With a clear sight of goal and as he shaped to shoot, Lunt was bundled to the ground from behind but the referee once again sided with the home team. Danny Williams was starting to get forward more and delivered a fine through ball to Arquinn who whipped in a cross which looked destined for Clist to nod into the open goal before Anthony threw himself into a despairing clearance header. In a similar move, Willians again fed Arquinn and this time it was Pell who fizzed a shot just over the bar from 30 yards.
As the game drew to a close, Harrold saw his shot saved by Cornell and Simon Clist was unlucky when his clipped cross was inches wide of drifting in at the far post.
FT Rovers 0 Bulls 0
Hereford: Cornell, Williams, Green, Townsend, Heath, Lunt, Pell, Featherstone, Clist, Facey (Fleetwood 79), Arquin. Subs unused: Bartlett, Evans, Barkhuizen, Winnal.
Bristol Rovers: Bevan, Smith (W Brown 59), Anthony, Virgo, L Brown, Zebroski, Stanley (Campbell 54), Gill. Kuffour (Carayol 65), McGleish, Harrold. Subs unused: Cronin, Richards.
This was a well-deserved point earned from a Club who have invested heavily in new players and management during the summer. With The Bulls’ keeping their powder dry with the new loan players in was heartening to see the existing squad perform so solidly. Debuts are surely expected from the incomers on Tuesday at Bournemouth in the Paint match and then it will be all to play for against The Daggers next