The Bucks went into this game with one win, one draw and one defeat to their name, albeit manager Gavin Cowan had been satisfied with his team’s performances over the opening week. On this occasion though, the Bucks weren’t unlucky with finishing or due to poor officiating; they simply created very little against a Bulls side who had the game’s brightest offensive talent in Brad Ash.
Gavin Cowan started with the players who took to the field for the second half against Gateshead on Saturday. Marcus Dinanga had ignited a second-half firestorm in that game, and he kept his place, but saw little of goal in the opening 45 minutes. The closest the Bucks came to finding the net was a Chris Lait shot from just inside the penalty area, Lait swaying to his right and firing in a shot that Brandon Hall took no chances with, even if it looked to be going just wide.
The hosts had more of the meaningful attempts on goal, albeit from outside the penalty area. Only one of those shots, from Mike Symons, gave Corey Addai any reason to act with real urgency, diving to turn an effort from the Bulls no.9 out for a corner.
The game took place less than 36 hours after Hereford had dispensed with the services of head coach Marc Richards, and the Bulls showed plenty of heart and fighting spirit, which on the night proved to be enough.
The second half started with neither side able to take a grip of matters with sustained possession. However, on 57 minutes the game’s decisive moment arrived. Ash latched onto a flick-on from Mike Symons and flashed in a shot from the angle, Bucks keeper Corey Addai saved at his near post but the ball bounced back into play and Rowan Liburd nodded the ball into the unguarded net.
Cowan withdrew midfield pair Adam Walker and Ellis Deeney for the extra creativity of James McQuilkin and Henry Cowans, but despite more possession and territory the Bucks created few clear chances. McQuilkin buried a free-kick straight into keeper Hall’s midriff, Hall then denied Marcus Dinanga, star-jumping at his far post to parry the striker’s header for a corner.
Dinanga then whistled an angled shot over the bar with a frustrated Williams begging for a cross to the far post. The game got a little tetchy, and some late Bucks pressure brought corners but no clear sightings of goal, as Cowan’s men fell to defeat on a night where the manager admitted his side had lacked endeavour.
AFC Telford United: Addai, White, Morley, Deeney (Cowans 61), Sutton (c), Streete, Lait (Brown 70), Walker (McQuilkin 61), A.Williams, Dinanga, Knights.
Unused Substitutes: Tharme, Royle, Cowans, McQuilkin, Brown.
Cautions: Morley, Sutton, McQuilkin.
Hereford FC: Hall, Thomas, Hodgkiss, Maye, Cullinae-Liburd, Gowling (c), Owen-Evans, Jagger-Cane, Symons, Liburd, Ash.
Unused Substitutes: Pope, Bray, O’Sullivan, Nicholson, Carey.
Cautions: Owen-Evans, Symons.
Referee: Michael Barlow.
Assistants: Mark Pearson, Richard Watson.