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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bulls play out goalless draw

Hereford United drew 0-0 with Southampton this evening in front of an attendance of 1209 at Edgar Street. Three trialists, Sam Oji, Richard Langley and Jerry Ani were included in the starting line-up, whilst Darren Randolph was preferred in goal to Craig Samson despite the latter's fine performance against Bristol City. The Saints started with the trio of Jason Euell, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Stern John leading their attack.

The first-half saw few chances for either side. Nathan Dyer thought he should have had a penalty when he fell under a challenge by Robbie Threlfall, but the referee said no. A fine cross from Richard Rose was met with little conviction from Ani, whilst Dyer's rising shot failed to trouble Randolph. David McGoldrick dragged a shot past Randolph's far post, before Dyer was stretched off following a collision with the on loan Charlton 'keeper. Jake Thomson replaced him on the right-wing.

Tommy Forecast replaced Bartosz Bialkowski in goal at half-time, whilst Grzegorz Rasiak and Marek Saganowski were introduced in place of Wright-Phillips and John. The second-period started quickly, with Saganowski shooting wide at one end, whilst Rose blasted over from the edge of the box at the other. Threlfall tried his luck after cutting in from the left, but a bobble meant his right-foot shot ended up at the back of the Meadow End. A powerful burst through the middle by the impressive Toumani Diagouraga resulted in the Frenchman shooting past the post, whilst McGoldrick curled a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards. Excellent defensive blocks in quick succession from Dean Beckwith and Threlfall denied Southampton's attackers, before a Saganowski chipped effort was caught by Randolph.

Kris Taylor, Steve Guinan, Bradley Hudson-Odoi and Clint Easton replaced Ben Smith, Langley, Ani and Threlfall mid-way through the second-half but it was Southampton who continued to threaten. Saganowski again smashed a shot past the post from 25 yards. McGoldrick was replaced by Joseph Mills with fifteen minutes remaining, whilst Jack MacLeod and Ashley-Paul Robinson came off the bench to take the place of Matty Done and Simon Johnson. Mills nearly scored the winner late-on, but a quick-fire shot inside the box was held by Randolph.

The signs were encouraging this evening, although United still look a little light up front. The defence was in top form today though, with Beckwith, and his trialist partner Oji looking very solid. Langley looked tidy in midfield, although Diagouraga stole the show with some superb passing, tackling and quick-feet. Up top, Ani put himself about well, and won a large amount of headers, whilst also holding the ball up well to bring others into play in the untried 4-5-1 formation. United's next game is their final friendly when Premiership new boys West Brom travel to Edgar Street. Kick-off is at 7.45pm on this coming Friday.

Hereford: Randolph, Rose, Oji, Beckwith, Threlfall, Johnson, Langley, Diagouraga, Done, Smith, Ani.

Subs: Samson, Taylor, Breen, MacLeod, Jones, Gwynne, Robinson, Easton, Moses, Guinan, Hudson-Odoi.

Southampton: Bialkowski, James, Thomas, Perry, Surman, Dyer, Wotton, Euell, Wright-Phillips, McGoldrick, John.

Subs: Forecast, Hatch, Racine, Thomson, Mills, Saganowski, Rasiak.