Valiant Bulls undone by in form Redditch.
Attendance: 617 (94 away)
John Taylor's under-cooked young Bulls side were literally run into the ground by a confident well drilled Redditch United at Edgar Street this afternoon.
The lack of any pre-season action was clear to see as the Bulls couldn't cope with match hardened opposition.
The game kicked off in appalling conditions particularly underfoot and as Redditch took the game to the Bulls attacking the Meadow End pools of water were already gathering down their left flank.
In spite of this Redditch set off at breakneck pace moving the ball swiftly from flank to flank and causing any number of problems for the Bulls back four. The central pairing of Gascoigne and Barrientos were continually left floundering and Gascoigne in particular was struggling to hold the left flank alongside O'Reilly.
On the other side of the park Jamie Molyneux's direct running was consistently turning Oneyeike inside out and a number of early raids were just about scrambled away by the Bulls defence.
One such foray saw Molyneux get to the byline but his attempted cross was cut out at the cost of a corner. The ball was swung in at pace under Williams Crossbar and under challenge the ball squirmed through his hands and almost bounced into his goal inside the left post, somehow the ball was cleared off of the line for a corner on the right.
This next corner was cleared as it swung outwards and was met by Barrientos's header.
Another move down the left saw Redditch move the ball across the face of the Bulls penalty area and screaming drive from Sammons cannoned off of the base of Williams right hand upright and back out of the penalty area.
Hereford were struggling to make any impact apart from sporadic breaks by the lively Javia Roberts who was battling to get any sort of progress going down the left flank.
Ramirez was also making valiant efforts to get the midfield ticking over but his acumen with diagonal balls for the front two to run onto was wasted time and again as they proved to be somewhat static and laboured in their efforts to connect.
Redditch though continued to dominate the game and took the lead on 24 minutes when a confused effort to close down Sammons on the right between Gascoigne and O'Reilly, saw the ball squared to Jermaine Hylton who ran through a gaping hole between the Bulls centre halves and although Luke Williams made himself as big as possible Hylton just managed to move the ball wide enough to beat the keeper inside his left hand post.
The Bulls looked stunned and for some reason Gascoigne appeared to be preoccupied with some sort of injury to one of his feet. Indeed his body language and demeanor gave the impression that he wanted to be replaced. This didn't happen though and he struggled for the remainder of the game.
In any event the period following the Redditch goal saw the Bulls begin to gain some sort of foothold in the game.
Roberts again and again made forays down the left flank and on one occasion managed to cut inside and lash an attempt wide of Hornby's right hand upright.
Leandro Browne, who had replaced Diop was involved in some good interchanges with Samuel Akinde on the edge of the Redditch penalty area but they just couldn't quite produce the final ball.
Ramirez also showed some fine touches as the Bulls at last strung some passes together, but again Redditch were too organised to be broken down.
Redditch indeed to continued to threaten and on three further occasions Williams was relieved to see powerful shots pass wide of his right hand upright.
The Half Time whistle came as a relief to the overworked Bulls, and Redditch must have wondered how the lead was only one nil.
Hereford United 0-1 Redditch United.
The Bulls kicked off the second half as the weather deteriorated further, with puddles clearly visible on the pitch. Indeed the Bulls players seemed to be struggling to cope with the conditions as Redditch again picked up the pace.
Molyneux continued to torment Oneyeike, while Sammons was making hay with the obvious hole down the right that the almost immobile Gascoigne was leaving between himself and O'Reilly.
Bilal Yafai replaced O'Reilly and Steve Vetier replaced the innefective Baker-Kone.
Immediately the Bulls looked more composed on the ball and for the first time in the game the ball was being moved swiftly between the Hereford midfield with Vetier also beginning to unsettle Flanagan.
A sweet through ball from Ramirez saw Sam Akinde bearing down on goal only for a desperate block from Mutton deny the attempt getting through.
A Redditch break saw Molyneux again cause havoc and his curling shot at goal was gratefully pouched by the well placed Williams.
Redditch then went down to 10 men when Mutton struggling to contain Ramirez on the halfway line literally kicked the midfielder into the air. Referee Matthews had no hesitation in showing the centre half a straight red card, and there followed something of a confrontation as the Redditch player took an age to leave the field.
The Bulls having now gained a foothold were moving the ball around the park in neat triangles until on 68 minutes an astute slotted ball by the impressive Ramirez put Vetier away on the right. The midfielder turned Flanagan inside out before squaring the ball to Oneyeike who smashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Needless to say the Bulls Fans roared their appreciation for the way the youngsters had battled their way back to parity, and fully expected them to go on and win the game.
These ideas were short lived however as on 80 minutes an attacking free kick for Hereford was cleared up-field By Redditch and another attack down their right saw what was effectively a surrender as not a single tackler got near the right sided Redditch players and a driven cross was turned in at the far post by the recently introduced Spencer.
The celebrations by the 10 men of Redditch must have cut deeply into the Bulls after the way they had fought not only a confident team but also the conditions to square the game.
The closing 10 minutes saw Redditch regain control and the exertions of the Bulls players saw a number of them going down with cramp.
In the dying seconds though another move down the right flank saw the ball squared across the Redditch penalty area and after skillfully shifting the ball onto his left foot Akinde had an almighty swipe resulting in an ''air shot'' which saw the ball roll harmlessly to the Redditch right back who cleared up field with relish.
Akinde went down with what appeared cramp, while half the Meadow End crowd were still trying to work out what had happened!.
Redditch closed out the game easily from there, but it has to be said that this Bulls side have certainly got something about them.
Full Time: Hereford United 1-2 Redditch United.
A disrupted, indeed non existent pre-season has meant that these young players have been thrown in at the deep end and are having to develop player combinations and get match fit in the cauldron of League games.
Today saw the problems this is causing, it is either tension or lack of match hardness that is bringing these players up short, maybe even a combination of both.
Redditch were a well drilled and organised side that effectively were able to along with the conditions run these young Bulls into the ground.
The signs though are encouraging, Roberts, Ramirez, Yafai, Williams, and Vetier are certainly players in the Bulls mould.
The Edgar Street faithful are certainly appreciating the way these players are buying in to the Bulls ethos.
Patience is needed by all while this rebuilt side finds it's feet.
Luke Williams 7
Obi Onyeike 7
Daniel O'Reilly 6
Josh Oyibo 7
Brad Lee-Gascoigne 4
Adrian Barrientos 7
Javia Roberts 9.
Already looking to be in the Lionel Ainsworth mold.
Salvador Ramirez 8
Sergi Mor Diop 5.
Samuel Akinde 6
Abou Baker-Kone 6
Bilal Yafai 7
Steve Vetier 7
Leandro Browne 7