We travelled to Hereford in bouyant mood, fresh from a scintillating 5-1 victory over Rugby Town in the league. The only injury concern was Joe Hood, who hobbled off on the stroke of halftime in that match with what looked like a Hamstring Injury. Despite being named in the starting lineup, the City faithful who had made the 160-mile trip were disappointed to see that Hood didn't take to the field but, he was replaced with Lewis Darlington who impressed in midweek.
The Lilywhites had a great opportunity to enjoy a day out against a historic club in a famous old football stadium adorned with memories of 'That' Ronnie Radford goal. It was sure to be a tough afternoon with the Bulls currently operating 2 leagues above City but as with all cup ties, this was going to be about taking chances.
While Hereford dominated much of the possession throughout, It was City that started brightly and forced a corner in the opening exchanges, Battersby taking on the Aaron Skinner, the fullback doing well to block the early Cross. From the resulting corner, Taylor Parr was jostling with the Hereford centreback Paul Downing, but managed to squirm free at the back post, his first time effort missed the target and was directed back across the goal and found its way to Dan Cotton whose speculative shot on the angle deflected off a defender for another corner.
Hereford then came close to getting the opener, a deep cross that was seemingly heading out for a goal kick but recent signing Yusifu Ceesay managed to get a foot on it and was unlucky to see his effort cannon back off the post.
The first real shot on target game came on 14 mins. Stef Broccoli brought down the impressive Alex Babos on the edge of the box, and it was the Bulls playmaker who stepped up to accurately place the freekick into the top corner to give Hereford the lead.
City then lost Jake Battersby who went down in the centre circle went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. The attacking fullback had to be replaced by Mikey Davies on 26 minutes.
Despite the set-back, City were playing some nice football and showed lots of attacking endeavour, Chadwick and Bridges were working hard to breakdown much of Herefords midfield play with relative ease and anything that did get through was dealt with by Black and Parr, the latter doing well to block a strike that looped up in the air and bounced off the top of the bar for a corner.
City's best chance of the match game in the 40th minute, Rolt and Broccoli conspiring to rob the Hereford left back and find Daniel Cotton on the edge of the box, but with the pass fractionally behind him and although Cotton did well to adjust his feet and get a shot on target away, Hereford Keeper Curtis Pond saved down to his right and the score remained 1-0.
2 minutes later and it was 2-0. Ceesay, who had been kept pretty quiet by Pat Staszewski jinked passed the defender and fired a left footed shot across the goal that found the top right hand corner, it was a stunning strike from the Hereford man but not what City deserved for their first half efforts.
The second half started as the first half had, with City in the ascendency. A Scott Bridges cross was punched away as far as Mikey Davies whose powerful volley was always rising over the bar but even so, good pressure from the men in blue. Another chance came when Broccoli out muscled the Hereford Centreback and cut the ball back to Rolt in the box who couldn't quite wrap his foot around the shot and it flew into the disused Blackfriars stand behind the goal.
As the game progressed the 2 teams were just cancelling each other out, Stan Leech came on to replace Bradley Rolt on 63 minutes as the City management team looked to change things up in the front line. It wasn't long before Leech was in on the action, Broccoli causing havoc with the Hereford midfield and breaking free, he squared the ball to Leech who had time to take a touch but such is the pressure in these games, he snatched at his shot the Pond saved easily with his feet.
Tolley came on for the Bulls and with almost his first touch he took a long ball from the back out of the air beautifully on the halfway line, charging into the box and wrong footing Taylor Parr before slotting the ball past the on rushing Joe Welch, a nice individual goal that killed the game and ended any hope of a comeback.
Moments later it could have been four when Hereford were through on goal again against a tiring City team. Joe Welch did brilliantly to narrow the angle and save with his right foot and Hereford thought they had got a fourth but the effort was ruled out for offside.
A disappointing result, not because any lack of effort but because on another day, had we taken those earlier chances the result could have been very different. Hereford showed their class and took their chances but this was by no means as one-sided as the scoreline suggested.
With pride in tact, we bow out of the FA Cup and turn our attention to the league where we face Bedworth United away on the 3rd of October followed by a home match with bottom of the table Rushden and Diamonds on Sunday the 8th in a 2pm kick off.