Harriers 1 Hereford Utd 1
away fans: 1031
All square in the battle of the giants
The long awaited return of a real derby game to Aggborough arrived today with the much hyped - mainly by Hereford fans - H & W derby against our old combatants, Hereford Utd. With an away support reminiscent of Shrewsbury and Swansea City they were well and truly up for it and to a lesser extent were the diehard Harriers fans. Just 2200 Harriers fans turned out for this one.
Without Iyseden Christie in the side because of suspension Watkiss paired Gareth Sheldon with Taiwo Atieno as a our spearhead and re-introduced Johnny Mullins back to the side following his loan from Reading. Wayne Evans made way for him, as expected, and didn't even make it to the bench.
After a tentative start to the game Hereford took the lead against the run of play with a wonder goal straight out of the top drawer marked wonder goals. A break in mid field saw Jamie Pitman gain possession of the ball and, although he was dispossessed of the ball cleanly by Martin O'Connor, the ball bounced slightly and sat up perfectly for him to send a stunning volley into Danny Lewis's top left hand corner.
A goal that even the best keepers in the world would not have been able to stop.
Harriers heads didn't drop and they carried on in the same fashion that preceded the goal, although sometimes our passing was a bit suspect. Tai had a shot on goal that was well saved by Brown and Ferrell had a volley from the left hand side of our goal that went well wide.
Just before the half hour mark Gareth Sheldon sent over a cross for the corner flag to play with but Simon Russell gave chase, took it as far as the bye-line, and sent over a sharply angled cross into the box. This time Tai made no mistake as he soared high above the away defenders to put the ball into the net for a well deserved equaliser.
Tamika Mkandawire did get the ball into the Harriers net five minutes later following a corner but it was ruled out after a foul on Mark Jackson.
The sides were then matched equally for the remainder of the half with a variety of chances falling for both teams but a lack of shooting on sight resulted in no further goals.
HT: 1 - 1
The start of the second half saw a change for Hereford with Matt Bailey, a loanee from Crewe, who just didn't look any good. He was replaced by Andy Williams.
This period of the game saw a much more threatening Harriers but it was Hereford that were to get the first shot on goal when Mkandawire sent in another header that went just over Danny Lewis' bar. Craig Stanley then had a shot on goal from well outside the area but last seen it was circling the moon.
We started to gain the upper hand in midfield and could have scored a hat full of goals but again it was our finishing that was letting us down. This inability to shoot on sight is costing us dear and we're just crying out for a striker that can do the simple things and not try to walk the ball into the net.
Tai was probably guiltier than most of doing that although there was one occasion when he did well to bring the ball from the corner all the way to the goal post and then find no one available to pass the ball to. He tried to finish himself but with three Hereford defenders in his way he didn't succeed.
The man he could have passed to, Sheldon, was struggling with a thigh injury and was replaced soon after by an up for it Lee Thompson.
Simon Russell had a chance to score what would have been a goal to equal Pitmans mid way through the half. He had the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal. A quick turn and a shot was unleashed that took the Hereford keeper by surprise and he just about managed to tip it over the bar.
He had to perform an exact same miracle just minutes later when Wayne Hatswell sent in a superb cross that landed perfectly for Taiwo Atieno. The tall , athletic striker connected with a bullet like header that again saw Brown performing heroics to keep his side in the game.
Minutes from the end Hereford could have snatched all three points when Williams got hold of the ball in the area but, just as he was about to shoot, Danny Lewis got down to smother the ball and keep the score and points level.
The final result was a fair one and both sides can be pleased with their own performances and their fans. They gave us something to cheer for once and with Exeter arriving here next and Christie back has the season turned it's corner at last.