Paul Blackett scored in stoppage time as Moors clinched a dramatic late win over Hereford in blustery conditions at The Brewery Field on Tuesday night.
The front man was in the right place at the right time to fire home from close-range after Glen Taylor’s shot had been parried to set off wild celebrations at the end of a hard-fought encounter.
Both side had carved out good opportunities to have gone in front but neither could break the deadlock and it looked like ending honours even – until Blackett’s late intervention made sure all three points stayed in County Durham.
Jason Ainsley named an unchanged starting line-up after being encouraged by the performance if not the result in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to rivals Darlington at Blackwell Meadows.
And it was Moors who quickly began to set the tone in the game, Callum Ross almost creating the opening goal for Blackett after a great first touch and cross which the front man could only nod over the bar.
Reece Kendall’s inswinging free-kick from the right caused problems for The Bulls as it skipped unaided through a crowded penalty area but visiting keeper Dino Visser was able to parry it away from trouble.
John Lufudu was causing his usual brand of havoc down the right and got in a couple of times to keep the pressure on Hereford, while the away side had a lucky escape when Rob Ramshaw’s volley was saved by Visser and Blackett just couldn’t force home the rebound from a tight angle.
Ainsley must have been wondering how his side had not taken the lead by half time but they struggled to find the same rhythm after the break and indeed it was The Bulls who started to find some openings.
Kane Thompson-Sommers struck one effort just over Dan Langley’s bar before Aaron Amadi-Holloway nodded a Dan Jarvis free-kick off target.
As the hour mark approached, there was an almighty scramble in the Hereford area as Visser got down brilliantly to deny Taylor before Blackett was denied twice in quick succession as The Bulls just about smuggled it clear.
Hereford should have taken the lead on 68 minutes when Jarvis’ ball set Ryan McLean through on the right side of the area but the visiting striker wastefully blasted over from close-range.
Bulls full-back Levi Andoh then took matters into his own hands with a rampaging forward run before cutting inside from the right to let fly with a powerful left-footed strike which crashed back off the post and stayed out.
Kendall clipped a free-kick wide from 20 yards as the game looked set to make it through to the final whistle goalless, but then a ball forward deflected kindly into Taylor’s path on the left and when his low shot was pawed away by Visser, Blackett rammed in the winner.
Full Time: Moors 1 Hereford 0
Moors: Langley, Wombwell, Curtis, Mbeka (Tait 75), Kendall, Lufudu, Ross, Ramshaw, McKeown (Shanks 73), Taylor, Blackett.
Subs not used: Flatters, Anderson, Wheatley.
Booked: Ross (36)
Hereford: Visser, Thompson-Sommers, McLean, Lloyd, Amadi-Holloway (Lilly 84), Pinchard, Hanson (Jarvis 46), Pendley, Andoh, Oppong, Latty-Fairweather.
Subs not used: Hodgkiss, Klukowski, Holmes.
Booked: Latty-Fairweather (89)
Referee: James Westgate
Attendance: 1,070 (32 Hereford)