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Hereford United 1 Accrington Stanley 0

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman was left fuming after a penalty decision which left the Reds with ten men - and gifted the Bulls the winner.

ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman was left fuming after a penalty decision which left the Reds with ten men - and gifted the Bulls the winner.

Defender Steve Halford was sent off for the fourth time this season after rushing in with Steve Guinan to prevent the Hereford hitman getting on the end of a Michael Rose cross.

There weren't any loud appeals by the Hereford players but the ref pointed to the spot and gave Halford a straight red. Skipper Tony James converted the spot kick on 75 minutes.

"I can't say too much as I will have an FA charge against me but everyone in the ground knew it wasn't a penalty," said a frustrated Coleman.

"Hacker has been strong, he has put in a good tackle and was being fouled himself. If it is a penalty and a sending off, then the rules of football must have changed.

"The lad has been sent off for putting in a good tackle - we haven't been beaten by Hereford but by a dubious decision."

Stanley were the better side in the first half with Paul Mullin and Rory Prendergast being denied by keeper Matt Baker. Hereford came more into it after the break, and Jon Kennedy had to be at his best to keep out the prolific strikeforce of David Brown and Guinan.

But Stanley held firm against the promotion-chasers until the penalty decision. There was still chances to get back into it and Paul Cook hit a 25-yard strike in the dying minutes which hit the bar.