Hereford 4 Bishops Cleeve 0 – Southern League Division 1 South & West – 29/08/2016

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A glorious Bank Holiday Monday saw me embark on Edgar Street for Hereford’s home clash with Bishops Cleeve. The pheonix club came into the game armed with a 100% record after recording victories in their opening five league encounters, including a 2-0 away win over Barnstaple Town 48 hours previous. The hosts set foot on their own patch for the first time after an eventful FA Cup Preliminary Round clash with Alvechurch – eventually winning 4-2 after going two goals down early on. Bishops Cleeve were also boosted coming into the game after picking up their first three points of the campaign in their last match with a 3-2 home victory against AFC Totton.

With the sunshine beaming down on Hereford, the hosts had no problems in drawing in their highest crowd of the season at Edgar Street with 3,102 in attendance. The momentum of the first half heavily ran in Hereford’s favour, although Bishops Cleeve did fire a warning shot as they hit the crossbar with a header from Mark Magee in the opening ten minutes. The Bulls some found their rhythm and were unlucky not to score on several occasions. The hosts did eventually make the breakthrough in the 44th minute when Mike Symons headed home from Jamie Edge’s cross. Credit must go to Edge for the creation of the goal as he was the only man alert to the situation when the ball was cleared to the right flank from which he provided the assist. Symons duly applied the finish with a powerful header from inside the six-yard box to settle the home supporters nerves going into the break.

Bishops Cleeve faded away in the second half, and they went 2-0 behind in the 53rd minute when John Mills grabbed his ninth of the season. Rob Purdie calmly played a pass into the path of the prolific forward, who duly swept home into the far corner past Cleeve keeper, Matt Wieczorek. Within two minutes, Mills took his season tally into double figures as he capitalised on a spill from Wieczorek with the shotstopper failing to deal with an effort from the impressive Tristan Plummer. Mills pounced onto the rebound to slot home from close range into the far corner to make it 3-0, and in turn deflate the hopes of the visitors.

The goal of the afternoon came shortly afterwards with the game all but finished with 63 minutes on the clock. Pablo Haysham picked the ball up on the halfway line, then managed to evade a challenge before he strided forward to complete an excellent solo goal with a driven finish from the edge of the box. Hereford continued to pile on the pressure in persuit of a fifth, going closest through Mills who crashed an effort against the bar, but unfortunately there was to be no hat-trick for the club’s top scorer.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion for the the 3000+ in attendance as they saw Hereford go five points clear at the top, as well as maintaining their perfect start to the season. The Bulls will now look to continue their FA Cup adventures this weekend with a trip to Romulus in the First Qualifying Round, and they are sure to be favourites when in this rich vein of form.

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