Writer: Alan Brown
Date:Sunday February 25 2007
Plenty of enthusiasm, effort and endeavour but in the end both sides were frustrated by a combination of poor finishing and resolute defending.
Hereford missed a succession of chances - agonisingly shooting and heading straight at the Rochdale 'keeper Matthew Gilks on far too many occasions.
Bulls' boss Graham Turner kept faith with the same side as the one which thrashed Lincoln City at Sincil Bank on Tuesday. However, Tamika Mkandawire, Simon Travis and Glyn Thompson all returned to the substitutes bench after injury.
Rochdale opened brightly forcing consecutive corners, and this proved to be a feature of the match with Dale eventually notching up 18 flag kicks during the match.
Hereford eventually found their passing game and had two claims for penalties waved aside in the first period.
However, it was Dale who went closest to scoring in the 23rd minute when Dean Beckwith allowed the ball to bounce over his shoulder enabling Adam Le Fondre a clear run on goal. Thankfully for the Bulls Wayne Brown came to the rescue with a save, but in truth the Dale striker made it easy for 'Superman' by shooting directly at the advancing goalkeeper.
At the other end Alan Connell went close for the Bulls when he rose to head a 27th minute Trent McClenahan cross goalwards, but his effort dipped too late and the ball flew over the crossbar.
During this period United's pivotal player again appeared to be Steve Guinan whose general linking and intelligent use of the ball caused Dale many problems.
Indeed, just after the half-hour mark Guinan should have put Hereford in front.
Connell pounced on a loose ball just outside the Rochdale penalty area before sweeping over a cross. Guinan hovered in just the right spot, but just couldn't get a foot to the ball and the chance went begging.
Right on the stroke of half-time Guinan was well positioned to connect with Andy Williams' hanging cross, but this time headed straight into the grateful arms of Gilks.
United stepped up a gear at the start of the second period with the impressive Danny Thomas showing plenty of character and determination down the left flank. From one of his crosses Connell could and should have put United ahead in the 51st minute. Thomas' flighted over an inch-perfect ball but somehow the Hereford striker headed straight at Gilks.
Dale then experienced their best period of the match and only a double block prevented Adam Rundle making what would have proved to be a decisive breakthrough. First Rundle was denied by a flying full length save from Brown, and McClenahan got his body in the way of the marksman's follow up attempt.
Both Guinan and Connell then got caught out by Dale's increasing use of an offside trap, whereas Glenn Murray assumed a greater role up front for the visitors. His sheer physique and powerful upper body strength appeared to be gaining an advantage over Richard Rose at the back for Hereford.
Dale almost capitalised in the 66th minute as Murray surged into the box, holding off Rose in his wake, before squaring for Le Fondre. Somehow though the Dale striker slipped over at the vital moment and Beckwith raced in to hack clear.
There was still plenty of time for either side to seize all three points but Guinan once more headed straight down the throat of Gilks when teed up by a Ben Smith cross in the 76th minute.
Rochdale substitute Lewis Dodds also squandered a good opportunity with only Brown to beat, but back came Hereford again as a long clearance from United's keeper bounced kindly for Guinan in stoppage time, however, for once the on-loan marksman couldn't find the back of the net as his firm low drive was palmed away for a corner by Gilks.
So all-in-all a fair result but Hereford will now need to gain positive results at both Chester and Hartlepool this week if the Bulls are to mount a play-off bid.
Date:Sunday February 25 2007
FLASHBACK: Ainsworth inspires Hereford (Thursday October 28 2010)
Capital date for Bulls board (Monday September 20 2010)
Capital date for Russon (Tuesday August 31 2010)
Video Vault; RIP Adam Stansfield (Thursday August 26 2010)
London Bulls Launched (Thursday August 26 2010)
Kovacs bullet seals Hereford win (Sunday August 8 2010)
FLASHBACK: Hereford run riot at New Street (Sunday July 4 2010)
Video Vault; The Bulls Crossbar Challenge 2006 (Thursday June 24 2010)
Video Vault; Bristol City v Hereford 6-May-1986 (Friday June 11 2010)
Video Vault; Northampton v Hereford 6-Sep-1992 (Thursday June 3 2010)
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