Next Game: FA Trophy – Oxford City Away on Saturday 25th November at 3pm

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bees sting Bull's promotion chase

Barnet threw a spanner in the works of Hereford's promotion aspirations as they defeated The Bulls 2-1 at Edgar Street this evening. It was a reversal of the scoreline the last time the two teams met back in August. After a poor first half, Barnet opened the scoring Albert Adomah early in the second period, before substitute Trevor Benjamin powered in a close-range header to equalise. However, the visitors had the final say and to makes matter worse, ex-loanee Nicky Nicolau popped up with the winner.

Karl Broadhurst returned to the starting line-up after a long absense, with Richard Rose dropping to the bench. Lee Collins pushed to left back. Sam Gwynne also came back into the side, with Kris Taylor also dropping to the bench. A debut was handed to Gary Hooper, who partnered Theo Robinson up front, with Benjamin left among the subs. Recent signing Jack MacLeod was also named on the subs bench. Nicolau returned to Edgar Street for Barnet on the left-wing, whilst Leeds bound Jason Puncheon started in central midfield. Old time enemy Ian Hendon was among the Barnet bench.

The game took a while get into any rhythm, with only half-chances falling at either end. Former Histon striker Cliff Akurang headed wide from a Max Porter cross, whilst Robinson's low shot after a lay-off from Hooper was easy for Lee Harrison. Good work from Gwynne down the right-hand side led to Robinson having a shot blocked after a Toumani Diagouraga dummy fooled the Bees' defence. A similar attack saw Gwynne cross for Diagouraga, who instead of dummying, controlled before shooting with his left-foot; Harrison got a hand to it but the ball was heading towards the goal beforer a clearence in the nick of time kept the game scoreless. Simon Johnson looked dangerous when he got his engine up and running, but his end product was poor, with a low shot going a long way past the goal. Adomah's pace caused Collins problems, and when Adomah got in between the Wolves loanee and Broadhurst, he should have scored but his low shot went past the far post. Hooper and Johnson then saw weak efforts be held by Harrison before Barnet threatened from a set-piece. Gwynne bought down Neal Bishop, and it gave Josh Wright an opportunity from 25 yards, but his curling free-kick was gathered by Wayne Brown.

The Bees looked a decent unit albeit against a below par and lethargic Bulls side, although Hereford started the half quickly with Johnson's whipped cross a danger which failed to be attacked. Akurang saw his header from a Wright cross saved; at the other end, Robinson picked out the on-rushing Ben Smith, but a volley from the midfielder went over. Adomah the proved clinical in front of goal as he handed Barnet the lead. Akurang found space just outside the box, and shot goalwards. The ball struck Adomah and fell nicely to the winger, who reacted before Broadhurst and toe-poked into the corner which was greeted with delight by the 56 travelling fans. Hooper tried to be the man to respond for Hereford, but a low shot from the Southend loanee failed to trouble Harrison. Adomah then struck a shot wide after cutting in from the right-hand side; the winger's goal had given him a boost in confidence. Graham Turner made changes as Hereford needed to shake things up, with Benjamin and Taylor introduced in place of Gwynne and Johnson. It proved effective in no time, as Hereford grabbed an equaliser.

The Lilywhites won a corner, and Taylor curled an in-swinger into the danger area where Benjamin peeled away from his marker to nod in at the front-post. The ball was past Harrison before he could do anything about it, and Benjamin had made an instant impact. United were revitalised, and Smith's through ball to Robinson deserved a finish, instead of the block from Ishmail Yakubu. The resulting corner was again taken by Taylor, and Dean Beckwith rose above a crowd of players to head goalwards, but he was denied by a clearence off the line. Brown's long punt forward went over the head of Joe Devera, and fell to Hooper, but he failed to find the goal after Harrison had committed himself; the ball falling over the crossbar.

Good work on the left-hand side from Puncheon saw a cross-field pass find Adomah, but the winger couldn't add to his tally, as he shot wide. Adam Birchall and Ashley Carew were introduced for the ineffective Akurang and goalscorer Adomah as Barnet looked for more options up top. They got just that too. With five minutes remaining, a cross from the right-hand side was attacked by Bishop who had made a burst from midfield. He diverted the ball goalwards, and Brown parried out to Nicolau, who made no mistake with the rebound. The goal was greeted by moans and groans from the Edgar Street faithful, and United had no answer to it. Taylor's free-kick was nodded hopelessly wide by Benjamin, whilst Puncheon's powerful right-foot effort at the death fell wide.

2271 were present to see a poor Bull's performance at Edgar Street. United lacked the cutting edge seen in many games this season, although the introduction of Taylor and Benjamin did give some attacking intent. Hooper performed well, and was handed man of the match by the sponsors, although it is hard to say anyone else deserved it. Tommorow will be a big day for Turner, with the transfer deadline approaching a close. New faces are needed to spice the side up; a right-winger is a must. The return of Robbie Threlfall to training is a huge boost, and if Clint Easton can also regain fitness, United should be able to re-find their feet after suffering three successive defeats. However, it doesn't get easier for Hereford as they travel to second-placed Rotherham on Saturday.

Hereford: Brown, McClenahan, Broadhurst, Beckwith, Collins, Gwynne, Diagouraga, Smith, Johnson, Robinson, Hooper.

Subs: Ingham, Rose, Taylor, MacLeod, Benjamin.

Barnet: Harrison, Porter, Devera, Yakubu, Gillet, Adomah, Bishop, Puncheon, Wright, Nicolau, Akurang.

Subs: Trebes, Hendon, Carew, Birchall, Thomas.