v Hereford Lads Club (Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Div – 1 Oct 2022)




(ATT: 60)

After a mini renaissance, following their last trip to Hereford, when Rovers were on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline at Pegasus, Neil Mustoe’s side wasted a glorious chance to extend an unbeaten run of three games as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away at Hereford Lads Club.

This was a game Rovers dominated for much of the first half, which will probably make the result all the more galling for Mustoe. Jack Beardsell had an early chance, drawing a save from the experienced Steve Bell in the Lads Club goal, and the early pressure told as Rovers eventually pegged their hosts back and Paul Azubilla scored his first goal for the club, at the second attempt, with a low finish that Bell was unable to keep out. Thirteen minutes gone and Rovers were in front, as well as looking comfortable.

Dom Kent, Mason Lewis and Beardsell all had chances to extend the lead but, as often happens, Rovers’ profligacy was to be punished, almost on the stroke of half-time.

Warren Mann was adjudged to have committed a foul and a beautifully delivered set-piece presented Jamie Cuthbertson with a chance to head home; one that he did not waste and the score was 1-1 at the interval, after a half that Rovers had dominated.

The initial stages of the second period promised much for Rovers and chances came, and went, for Ashley Davies, Warren Mann (who hit the post) and Dobbins, before Lads Club delivered the killer blow.

With ten minutes remaining, one of their substitutes, Robert Whitlock, latched onto a loose ball in the Rovers box and hammered a shot beyond Jones to make it 2-1. Harsh on Mustoe’s side but also a reflection of their failure to take chances and an ability to stop the opposition.

Whitlock’s goal proved enough for Lads Club to win the game and Mustoe will have left the County Ground knowing that his side need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to climb the table.