A 53rd minute strike by Guy Madjo was enough to earn Shots all three points against a poor Hereford side in a scrappy affair at The EBB Stadium.
Following several player moves (in and out) and it being more than two weeks since Shots last match (a rare win ast Wimbledon) -it was anyones guess what starting line-up manager Dean Holdsworth would name for this match, against struggling Hereford. As it was Holdsworth made just one change....preferring loanee Darren Murphy to Aaron Morris, despite the young welshman, playing well every time he has been given the opportunity to play in the holding midfield position.
The first half was frenetic but littered with errors from both sides. Both teams worked hard to shut the other down and neither were able to put together any mnoves of real quality in the opening half an hour. Shots best chance came on 10 minutes, when Guy Madjo chased a lost cause, robbed the Bulls left back and wriggled into the penalty area, only to see his left foot shot fly well over the bar.
Hereford rarely threatened, but had perhaps the best opportunity to score. Lyle Taylor's far post header was cleared off the line, but only to Yoann Arquin, who, just 8 yards out with the goal at his mercym blazed over!
In the 10 minutes just prior to the interval, Shots finally began to get on top. A couple of half chances fell Adam Mekki's way. He got shots away both times. One was blocked, the other, from 18 yards, looked set to beat the outstretched arms of Bartlett in goal for Bulls, but, unfortunately for Shots, just cleared the crossbar too.
In added time, Vincenti broke away for Shots in his own half, but his poor pass was intercepted by Barkhuizen, who motored toward goal and let fly from 25 yards, his effort whizzing just past Ross Worners left hand post.
The second half began in much the same vein - scrappy, but on 53 minutes, a Hereford mistake led to Shots first home goal in 66 days! Firstly, a Bulls defender failed to get any good contact on a routine clearance. Adam Mekki's sheer desire saw him rise above two players to send a powerful header back into the box. Another visitng defender completely failed to connect with a second routine clearance and Guy Madjo was on hand to slot home from 6 yards. 1-0 Shots!
Then more woe for Bulls as defender Michael Townsend was adjudged to have brought Hylton down and in doing so, denied him a goal scoring opportunity. Red card Townsend. Bulls down to ten men.
Shots made wholesale changes; Connolly for Vincenti, Morris for Murphy and a few minutes later, Wilko Risser, Shots new Namibian/German striker, came on for his debut, replacing Madjo.
However, rather than go for the jugular, Shots set about aseeing the game out in a professional manner, electing to prioritise keeping possession over attacking flair. Not pretty, but effective and Shots saw the game out without any scares.
In truth, all they had done was beaten a poor Hereford side, but the three points will come as a huge relief to Holdsworth, Bishop and the playing squad....who, whisper it quietly, have now won back to back games for the first time in three and a half months!!
Shots: Worner, Herd, Jones, Bradley, Straker, Mekki, Murphy, (Morris) Payne, Hylton, Vincenti, (Connolly) Madjo (Risser) Subs not used: Smith, Brown, Att: 1871, with 117 away fans.