Bulls Rescue Port Point
Bulls vs Southport 02022013
Hereford United fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Southport in a scrappy affair at Edgar Street.
By Chris Phillips @ Edgar Street
Manager Martin Foyle made three changes to the side that faced Alfreton Town, with new signing Kingsley James handed a first start and Dan Hanford replacing James Bittner in goal. Sam Clucas also returned after a spell out with injury.
The Bulls started the game in reasonable fashion, moving the ball around well without creating any clear-cut opportunities. However, they went incredibly close in the ninth minute when Clucas forced a good save from Southport goalkeeper Tony McMillan after a decent passage of play from the hosts.
United looked comfortable, but it was evident both sides were struggling to dictate possession on a pitch which had been battered by the elements in recent weeks.
Stam: Almost latches on to corner-kick
The visitors started to grow into the game as the half wore on, forcing a succession of corners. However, they did not look like threatening Hereford’s goal in what was turning into a game for the purists.
It was a half devoid of any real quality with no clear-cut chances bar Clucas’ early effort.
But the game sparked in to life in the 32nd minute. Southport's Shaun Whalley took advantage of a deflected clearance to finish well beyond Hanford.
The hosts were stunned into action and came close to responding but Ryan Bowman could not find the target from eight yards.
A good spell of pressure saw Hereford go close again but Clucas blasted his shot over. It was turning out to be a frustrating afternoon for the Bulls.
The second half began like the first did, in scrappy fashion with neither side taking a foothold in the game. Southport's Scott Kay was booked for a professional foul, while Bulls debutant Kingsley James made his way in to the book soon after for a similar challenge.
Hereford had another spell of decent pressure but failed to find their way through a stubborn Sandgrounders defence. The visitors then saw another player booked, Geoffery Boku, for a foul on Clucas as the Bulls continued to go in search of an equaliser.
Despite the pressure, Southport held out and soon after doubled their lead in the 68th minute courtesy of a well-placed header from Neil Byrne. Clucas failed to clear and was caught on the ball, allowing Whalley to put in an excellent cross for Byrne to flick home.
Foyle brought on Brian Smikle and Marlon Jackson in the hope of salvaging at least a point from the game.
The changes began to make a difference and Hereford finally clawed themselves back in to the game in the 74th minute with an excellent finish from leading goal-scorer Bowman to give the hosts a chance of an unlikely comeback.
Bowman: Pulls goal back for the Bulls
The Bulls made it 2-2 in the 84th minute after a good spell of pressure. Josh O’Keefe headed in well beyond McMillan to cap an excellent revival from the hosts.
O'Keefe: Heads home equaliser
The visitors could have snatched it at the death but Whalley skied his chance over and the result in hindsight was probably a fair one.
Hereford United: Hanford, Corbett, Graham, Stam (Jackson 72), Musa, Watkins (McDonald 88), O'Keefe, James, Clucas, Sharp (Smikle 72), Bowman.
Subs not used: Heath, Carruthers.
Southport: McMillan, Smith, Grand, Owens, Byrne, Whalley, Ledsham, Benjamin (Parry 77), Chalmers, Kay, Poku.
Subs not used: Hibbert, Joyce, Almond, Tames.
Booked: Kay, Poku.
Attendance: 1,513 - 83 away.
A full Gallery of this match, plus many other photos from official Hereford United photographer Steve Niblett, can be viewed and purchased here.