Town beaten at Hereford
First half nightmare as Town go down at Edgar Street
Town's first visit to the famous Edgar Street ground of Hereford proved to be a stormy affair as they were hit with 4 goals in a crazy 10 minute spell in the first half.
Town made one change from the team defeated at Kings Lynn with Guy Clark replacing Liam Francis at the back. Playing 3-4-3 with forwards Taylor, Luckie and Ahenkorah up front.
Town playing into a fierce wind and driving rain the home side dominated the opening exchanges. Hereford were always on the front foot and Town's rearguard struggled to clear the ball any distance and the majority of the game was being played in Town's half. The home side were winning all the challenges in midfield where Town just couldn't get hold of the ball and little was seen of Town as an attacking threat.
Hereford continued to press and some last ditch tackles by Recci and Summerfield kept the scores level. It only seemed a matter of time that the deadlock would be broken but it took until the 28th minute for the home side to go ahead and that then the floodgates opened.
It came when Gary Preen cut in from the left and let fly from 20 yards, it went straight at Connor in the Town goal but somehow went clean through the keeper into the net much to the delight of the massed home supporters behind the goal.
Town responded when good work by Ahenkorah and Luckie fed the ball to Summerfield but he couldn't keep his volley down it flew over the bar. With the wind clearly a major factor in the game Town needed to try and get to half time without conceding again but it wasn't to be.
Just four minutes later former Town player McGrath picked the ball up wide on the right and seemed to too easily evade a couple of challenges and he cut inside and with his left foot fired into the far corner beyond the dive of Connor.
The home support roared their side on and 2 minutes later Preen picked up the ball 30 yards out and was allowed plenty of time to let fly again and it flew in off the damp surface to make it three.
Town's players were struggling to keep the home side at bay and they gifted a fourth when two Town defenders left it for each other and the grateful Gethyn Hill nipped in to force the ball in from 10 yards. It nearly got worse when on the stroke of half time leading scorer Mills cut into the box but his shot hit the foot of the post and was hacked clear.
HT Hereford 4 Stratford Town 0
Manager Carl Adams no doubt had some stern words at half time with his players and at least Town started the second half with the benefit of the wind and rain behind them.
It proved to be the case as Hereford didn't control the game as they had in the first half and apart from a smart save by Connor in the 52nd minute Town came into the game more. A more aggressive approach saw Fry and Clark pick up bookings and on 55 minutes Town nearly got one back when Ahenkorah cut in from the left and Horsell in the Hereford goal tipped his shot over the crossbar.
A double substitution followed on 76 minutes with Fry and Taylor replaced by Stephens and Marsden, followed by Hancocks for Clark. The effect was immediate as Town started to get the ball down and pass their way through midfield and after an exchange of passes a delightful pass from Grocott put Stephens through and he finished with ease.
Two minutes later Town scored again as another well worked passing move down the left saw the ball strike the post and Jaz Luckie had the easiest of Tap ins to make it 4-2. The sense of anxiety was felt all over the ground by the home supporters as Town started to show real signs they might get another. But as much as they tried Hereford held firm and with Town pushing forward a long ball was held up in the wind to deceive Towns defence and substitute Symons ended with the easiest chances to make it 5-2.
So two disappointing away performances against sides expected to challenge for the title at the end of the season. A chance to bounce back on Saturday when Town take on Redditch United at the MoodChimp Stadium this Saturday in The Emirates FA Cup.