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Match Reports

Match Report : 28/09/2013

28 September 2013

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The Hatters kept their eighth clean sheet in 12 games as they ground out a goalless draw at Hereford to make it four games unbeaten.

After a drab first half both sides have chances to take all three points in the second half with Luke Guttridge having the best of the Hatters’ with a well-hit volley saved.

Hereford huffed and puffed for a late winner themselves and last-ditch defending from the Town secured a point and yet another clean sheet.

The Town began showing two changes to the side that beat Woking 4-0 on Tuesday with Paul Benson replacing Andre Gray but, unlike the first half at Kingfield, the first 45 minutes at Edgar Street was a scrappy affair and low on chances.

Good defending from the Hatters on seven minutes denied Hereford an early goal when Steve McNulty’s defensive header denied former team-mate Richard Brodie a chance to test Mark Tyler in following a whipped in right-wing cross.

The first 10 minutes was turgid stuff but it was the Bulls who were the team marginally on top and Tyler needed to be brave on 12 minutes when pouncing on a low right-wing cross from Jon Brown with Sam Smith and Brodie waiting for a tap-in.

Brodie stretched the Hatters defence on 16 minutes but the home striker saw a goal-bound shot blocked well by Ronnie Henry.

The Town woke up on 25 minutes and came close to going in front when Jake Howells’ deep cross from the left was nodded back across goal by Benson and Guttridge couldn’t quite guide an effort beyond home goalkeeper Rhys Evans from inside the six yard box.

A minute later Guttridge was almost the provider. He did well to chase a pass out to the right flank to keep the ball in play and hoist a cross into Mark Cullen’s path but the striker couldn’t turn his header on target from 12 yards.

Hereford ended the first half on top but failed to call Tyler into any meaningful action. There was big danger for the Town on 43 minutes but a fine header under pressure from Scott Griffiths cleared Brodie’s curling cross with Jon Brown lurking for a tap-in.

Having played a 4-4-2 formation in the first 45 minutes, John Still changed things around at the start of the second half, moving Guttridge from his place on the right flank to behind Benson in a more central role.

That tweak almost had the desired effect just five minutes after the restart when Guttridge spotted Howells’ run into the box but the midfielder’s shot lacked the power and Evans was able to make a comfortable save.

Former Town striker Dan Walker was introduced seven minutes into the second half and he shot wide with his first sight of goal, dragging a low shot well wide of the post.

However, the Hatters were much improved following the change in strategy and Guttridge came mighty close to give his side the lead on 55 minutes. Henry’s ball into the box was intelligently nodded into the path of Guttridge by Benson and the midfielder’s stinging first-time volley was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Evans.

Still introduced Gray for Cullen with 20 minutes left and within a minute of his arrival his ball in from the left was hacked clear by Chris Bush with Benson ideally positioned in the six yard box.

Guttridge tested Evans again with a low snap-shot on the turn from just inside the box as the Town went in search of a winner.

But Hereford came within a whisker of taking the lead with 12 minutes to go when Brodie and captain Luke Graham missed from close range following a right-wing corner, much to the Town’s relief.

With eight minutes left Benson glanced wide a good opportunity following Howells’ left-wing centre but a minute later the Town survived another close call when a left-wing corner eluded everyone in the six yard box including substitute Eric Odhiambo from a yard out.

After that near miss the Town almost won it at the death when Gray broke into box. He stayed on his feet when challenged by Bush but was forced wide and in the end his shot was tame and easy for Evans.

Three minutes of stoppage time was shown but despite a number of long throws launched into the Town penalty area by the hosts it ended in stalemate.

TOWN: Tyler; Smith, Griffiths, McNulty, Lacey; Parry, Smith, Guttridge; Howells (sub Whalley 88), Cullen (Sub Gray 70), Benson. 

SUBS NOT USED: Charles, Taiwo, Justham.

ATTENDANCE: 2,386, including 580 shouting for the Hatters.

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