FA Trophy Third Round Replay
THE BULLS were in full charge as they flung Stanley out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle.
The Reds started slowly in the third round replay at Edgar Street and never recovered as Conference rivals Hereford stampeded through the visiting defence.
But they were helped by the dismissal of Stanley defender Mike Flynn which left boss John Coleman raging on Tuesday night.
Even the home press felt the sending-off was harsh as Flynn was judged to be the last man as he tackled Adam Stansfield who had raced forward.
The striker still had a lot to do as he was 25 yards from goal while Stanley's other defenders didn't seem too far away but the referee immediately held up the red card.
But, even before Flynn's 26th minute dismissal, the Bulls did always look the sharper side with their forward line of Stansfield and Danny Carey-Bertram causing no end of problems.
With £4,000 up for grabs for the win, a home tie in the next round against a lower division side of Whitby or Hyde and talks of what a Trophy run meant to the club, it was a shame that the 11 die-hard travelling fans didn't get more cheer about.
Instead the Reds' Conference rivals took the game with a stroll and the supporters will be hoping that the last two games have just been a blip and that there is more to come from their side in their crucial league campaign.
Manager Coleman was philosophical. He was disappointed with the sending off but also scratching his head as to why his side have started so slowly in their last two games.
"We didn't start very well," said the boss. "They took the game to us and we conceded with their first shot on 17 minutes. But the sending off was the turning point.
"The referee said Flynny was the last man but their player had knocked the ball too far. The referee said he thought it was a genuine attempt for the ball by Flynny and would look at the video and maybe rescind it but unfortunately there was no video of the game.
"There was no way their lad was going to score but it was a mistake and it has proved costly for us. It got their tails up and it suddenly became difficult."
Midfielder Paul Cook was recalled to the starting line-up with flu-victim Rory Prendergast dropped to the bench and Jonathan Smith returning as a substitute following his three match suspension.
And the Bulls immediately showed that there was to be no repeat of Saturday's bore draw when Carey-Bertram - on only his second start this season - chipped an effort from the edge of the area which had to be touched over by Paul Crichton.
Hereford's winger Danny Williams then followed up a neat passing move by firing well wide of goal as Hereford made use of the wind on their backs.
And then the Bulls sprung the Stanley off-side trap to good effect. Craig Stanley set up Stansfield with Robbie Williams appealing for off-side. The hitman raced forward and fired home from a tight angle - his 17th goal of the season.
And they could have had two minutes later when Stansfield again charged through but Paul Howarth's superb last ditch tackle stopped him from getting another shot in.
The Bulls striker continued to torment the Reds rearguard, opening them up again on 25 minutes. His first effort was blocked by Williams and the rebound soared over the crossbar.
Stanley were always chasing the game but then disaster struck as Flynn tackled Stansfield as he charged forward. The hitman crashed to the ground and Flynn immediately looked at referee Bob Desmond.
There did seem to be other defenders ready to charge back and Stansfield still had a way to go with the ball running into Crichton's arms but the referee showed experienced campaigner Flynn a straight red. And it could have got worse but, from the resulting free kick, Danny Williams hit the crossbar.
Coleman immediately took off Paul Howarth and put on Smith as the Reds went to three at the back although Lee McEvilly did end up slotting into the left back role at times. Robbie Williams cut out another Stansfield effort while the Reds did carve out an opening from a Cook free kick when keeper Craig Mawson dropped the ball at Paul Mullin's foot but the goalie grabbed it at the second attempt.
Then, from a Danny Williams corner, the Reds once more failed to clear their lines, it was pin-ball in the area and Danny Carey-Bertram was there to blast home number two on 35 minutes.
Stanley then had their best spell. Ian Craney should have grabbed a goal back four minutes later when he capitalised on a defensive mistake and charged into the area but he sliced his shot inches wide of the far post. Then, on 42 minutes, a Craney corner bobbled around the area with Smith and Mullin trying to stick their foot in but eventually it was cleared.
The Reds came out after a half-time team talk hoping to cut the deficit with the wind behind them but instead it got worse. Winger Joe Anyinsah had already fired wide before, from a Danny Williams corner, the ball was flicked on by Craig Stanley and Tom Smith, unmarked at the far post, celebrated his first goal of the season.
Hereford could have added more and this was despite the fact Stansfield was taken off to rest him and Rob Purdie came on after 50 minutes.
He proved a handful on the left wing and one of his crosses found Anyinsah unmarked but Crichton was equal to his fierce shot and Simon Travis' 25 yard drive was pushed out by the Stanley keeper.
Coleman took off Mullin to rest him as the game was beyond them but the Reds still had their chances especially when Smith's header from a Steve Jagielka cross was heading for the net before it was deflected wide on 65 minutes.
But, two minutes later, the Bulls once again found the back of the net. Travis put in a dangerous cross which Robbie Williams failed to clear and Carey-Bertam tapped home from six yards out. Danny Williams blasted over with the goal at his mercy in a lively finale before he was stretchered off while Crichton kept out a Craig Stanley 25-yard drive.
And the Reds finally forced a save out of Mawson on 86 minutes when a fierce McEvilly 20-yard strike was heading for the back of the net before the former Burnley man pushed it away. And there was almost time for Hereford's fifth but Andy Williams fired over from six yards out.
"We battled right to the end and their keeper has produced a great save," said Coleman. "We showed great spirit. We conceded two goals from set pieces and we have got to learn from that. We were too flat footed at theback and it is disappointing."