Match Report : 17/11/2012


City were unchanged for a fifth successive game as they returned to Blue Square Bet Premier action with this home game against Hereford United.

There was a new face on the bench, meanwhile, with teenage winger Aristide Bassele going straight into the squad having joined on a youth loan from AFC Bournemouth 24 hours before kick-off.

Bright sunshine greeted the two teams as they were led out of the tunel by referee Mike Bull and once the pre-match formalities were done and dusted play got under way with the Imps attacking the Bridge McFarland Stand from the off.

City got off to an encouraging start, pushing the Bulls' defence on the back foot from the first whistle as they looked for an early breakthrough; good work from Adam Smith seeing him win a fifth minute corner which was claimed at full stretch by James Bittner.

Alan Power then headed a Peter Gilbert cross wide as City went on the attack again with a fine piece of build-up play down the left whilst on the opposite flank Jake Sheridan's first taste of the action saw him win a second corner which was half-cleared before Smith was fouled 25 yards out. Power's free-kick though curled over the bar.

Hereford's response saw Will Evans test Paul Farman with a low long range skidding effort whilst at the other end Bittner was at full stretch to tip over a Sheridan header from a left-footed Smith centre.

Lincoln-born Sam Clucas won Hereford's first corner in the 17th minute but Boyce cleared his lines when the ex-Imp swung in from the quadrant. Boyce then pushed Bowman but the quickly-taken free-kick came to nothing

Midway through the half referee Bull had words with Jamie Taylor following an aerial challenge with Stefan Stam as the game became a stop-start affair with a number of stoppages seeing little flow to the game.

When play was allowed to take place Hereford won another corner but before this was taken Mr Bull spoke to both Bowman and Farman following after the duo clashed in the six-yard box. Although the corner was cleared, the Bulls pressed again with Bowman heading a Clucas cross well over.

Bowman was then forced off with a cut knee before returning to the fray whilst a cynical challenge on Taylor earned Simon Clist a 34th minute caution. Bittner punched Power's resultant free-kick away to safety.

Dan Gray and ex-Imp Joe Heath then went nose-to-nose after the former was felled by the latter; a booking apiece being the outcome, although with Gray's punishment being his fifth of the season he will be forced to sit out the FA Carlsberg Trophy trip to Tamworth.

Four minutes before the break Bowman was booked for dissent after Stam was penalised for a foul on Taylor before Smith fired the free-kick over.

Two added minutes was indicated and in the first of these the Imps edged themselves in front with a goal of the highest quality from top scorer Jamie Taylor.

Taylor's 11th of the season came after a visiting defender failed to get any purchase on a clearance following an Alan Power forward ball and the City striker promptly lobbed the ball high over the back pedalling Bittner from fully 40 yards with the ball bouncing a foot out before crashing against the back of the net.

HT: Imps 1 Hereford 0

Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with the first incident being a yellow card for Stam after he scythed down Power in front of the City dug-out.

It was a cagey opening to the second period with neither goalkeeper tested in the first few minutes but this changed when former City man Josh O'Keefe picked out Ryan Bowman with a clever reverse pass in the 55th minute and with only Farman to beat the United striker neatly slotted home to level the scores.

City looked for a quick response with Smith testing Bittner with a long-range strike before Power lifted an effort a foot over from 20 yards.

This proved to be Bowman's last taste of the action as he left holding his hamstring five minutes later. Kyle Perry was his replacement whilst Brian Smikle came on for James McQuilkin at the same time.

Hereford's goal apart, a quiet half continued and in a bid to inject some fresh impetus, Vadaine Oliver and Colin Larkin replaced Alan Power and Jamie Taylor.

Their introduction was immediate as when Gray hurled a long throw into the danger area, Oliver's first touch saw him flick the ball on with the luckless Simon Clist duly heading into his own net from point-blank range.

Play restarted after treatment was administered to 'keeper Bittner who took a knock in the build-up to the goal and when it did resume, Gray had a header blocked from a Mills corner after Heath had spooned a clearance over the bar.

At the other end a Hereford corner, which came after Fofana cleared a free-kick, was hacked away for a throw-in by Gray after he blocked a Perry header, and after the Imps dealt with another ball into the box, they broke at pace through Sheridan.

Sheridan combined well with Larkin who in turn played a clever pass through to his team mate who was then crudely upended by Andy Gallinagh in the box. Referee Bull was up with play and had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.

Before the spot kick was taken Phil Marsh came on for Clist, and when it was Larkin sent Bittner the wrong way for his third penalty success of the season.

Hereford's heads didn't drop though and within a minute they had reduced the arrears when Will Evans fired in a low effort from 25 yards which skidded past an unsighted Farman.

The visitors quickly won three corners but City stood firm before experience rom Larkin saw him hold the ball up before winning a throw-in close to the corner flag at the opposite end of the pitch.

Larkin won another throw on the opposite flank as the clock ticked into its 88th minute and as the Bulls responded Clucas sliced a long-range effort well over.

Aristide Bassele replaced Adam Smith 90 seconds from time for his City debut whilst in the  first of four added minutes a Hereford corner was cleared before Bassele won a throw-in on the half-way line.

A wayward Evans shot saw city eat some valuable seconds up as the clock ticked on and when Farman pumped the goal-kick forward a push on Oliver slowed things down even more.

Substitute Bassele was the last player in the action as he closed his man down before the ball went out for a goal-kick and as Bittner cleared referee Bull brought another action-packed encounter to a close with win extending Imps' unbeaten run to 10 matches.

FT: Imps 3 Hereford 2

City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Tom Miller, Peter Gilbert, Gary Mills, Mamadou Fofana, Jake Sheridan, Adam Smith, Alan Power, Jamie Taylor.

subs: Scott Garner, Vadaine Oliver (for Power 68), Aristide Bassele (for Smith 89), Colin Larkin (for Taylor 69), Jake Turner.

goals: Taylor (45+1), Clist (70 og), Larkin (81 pen)

bookings: Gray (37)

Hereford: James Bittner, Andy Gallinagh, Stefan Stam, Luke Graham, Joe Heath, Simon Clist, Will Evans, Josh O’Keefe, James McQuilkin, Sam Clucas, Ryan Bowman.

subs: Harry Pell, Phil Marsh (for Clist 81) , Brian Smikle (for McQuilkin 61), Kyle Perry (for Bowman 61), Dan Hanford.

goals: Bowman (55), Evans (82)

bookings: Clist (34), Heath (37), Bowman (41), Stam (49)

Referee: Mike Bull
Assistants: Dean Appleby & Sean Feerick
Fourth Official: Martin Dexter

Attendance: 2,243 (113 visiting supporters)