Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lacklustre Bulls Slip To Fourth Defeat

With Manager Martin Foyle planning to field the same side that lost to Dartford on Saturday, Michael Rankine was forced to pull out at the last minute due to a hamstring problem arising in the warm-up. Chris Sharp bridged the gap. With a last minute space appearing on the bench, youth teamer Jarrod Bowen was drafted in.

With the Bulls kicking off, they showed some early intent with a cross from Dan Walker headed out. Artus’ resulting corner was sent straight into the hands of Rhys Taylor.

Macclesfield were soon on the counterattack and causing problems for Hereford’s back four. Nothing came of this early possession, and the ball was sent long up the field for Sharp to chase. With Sharp holding the ball up down the right, the Bulls were slow to get up to help him, and the ball was cleared by the Silkmen.

Jon Brown had a good chance to give the hosts the lead after 18 minutes, when following a pin-point cross from Artus to Purdie, Purdie played the ball back to Brown for a left footed shot just outside the 18-yard box. His shot was wide, but took a deflection of a Macclesfield defender on the way out for a wasted corner, as well as narrowly missing a sliding Smith.

Dan Walker showed both pace and determination, when a run up the flank saw a cross  into the box which Sharp could not quite stretch far enough to get the finishing touch.

Macclesfield took the lead when a Peter Winn corner was sent in to the far post, and George Pilkington’s header was enough to beat goalkeeper Rhys Evans.

Danny Leadbitter sprinted up the wing trying to get a cross in to the box, but was harshly brought down by Whitaker, who was shown a yellow for his actions. Silkmen keeper Taylor was untroubled by Frankie’s free kick and calmly caught the ball.

An immense period of pressure came from Macclesfield as the half agonisingly drew to a close. Skipper Luke Graham was initially accused of handling the ball in his own area before the ball trickled out for a corner. From the corner, Pilkington headed the ball goal-bound, only for the chance to be blocked by Purdie stood on the line, who was then judged to have handled the ball – referee Barratt disagreed with his assistant and play was waved on.

HT: Hereford 0 – Macclesfield 1

Just 3 minutes into the second half, United’s woes increased, when a Macclesfield corner was only cleared as far as Danny Andrew; he crossed again for Scott Boden to head past the static Evans.

Rhys Evans Well Beaten
Martin Foyle made a double substitution on 51 minutes, which saw both Rod McDonald and Rob Purdie replaced with Chris Bush and Kingsley James respectively.

Taylor threw the ball out, but only as far as left back Andrew. Walker quickly closed him down and the pressure proved too much as Hereford’s winger came away with possession. As Walker went to strike, what would’ve been an excellent goal, Andy Halls slid in to deny Hereford a life-line. Smith was quick to follow up this attempt with a snapshot of his own, but the effort was too wide to trouble Taylor.

Cory Williams injected some life into the game when he replaced Chris Sharp.

Dom Collins Scored Hereford's Only Goal
With 12 minutes still to play, Walker’s flag kick, won from his cleared free kick, dipped nicely for Collins to head downwards at the back post to grab his 4th goal of the campaign.

Collins 'Like A Bird'
Hereford utilised the wings in the dying stages of the game, with both Williams and Walker creating good chances from crosses. Jon Brown could’ve brought the Whites level, but his header was sent wide of the upright.

Cory Williams
In the 5 minutes of extra time, Cory Williams was fouled 25-yards out which set up an excellent chance for Artus to equalise, but his shot was deflected agonisingly wide of the target for a fruitless corner, which did see goalkeeper Evans travel the length of the field, trying to get that illusive second goal.

FT: Hereford 1 – Macclesfield 2
Att: 1,013 with 33 from Cheshire

Hereford: Evans, Leadbitter, Graham, Collins, McDonald (Bush 52’), Walker, Brown, Artus, Purdie (James 52’), Sharp (Williams 74’), Smith. Subs not used: Bowen, Edge.
Macclesfield: Taylor, Halls, Connor, Pilkington, Andrew, Mackreath, Turnbull, Whittaker, Winn, Sodje (Holroyd 71’), Boden (Williams 84’). Subs not used: Branagan, Rowe, Kay.

With Michael Rankine missing from the starting line up, Hereford missed his excellent hold up play and failed to get a foothold in the game; but only up until the last 15 minutes, when the Bulls scored their first goal in 3 games.  Hopefully, with this being the last game in February, the Manager of the Month curse will now be passed onto the next manager.

New month, new fortunes. See you Saturday.