Colbeck stuns Boro with freak 40-yard strike

Cross-cum-shot from the right touchline the only goal of the game as Hereford beat Boro

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Hereford United 1

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JOE Colbeck will not hit many like his winner at the Lamex on Tuesday evening – a freak 40-yard strike from the touchline over Chris Day’s head.

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With the ball on the right, the midfielder tried whipping in a deep cross to the box but his mishit effort flew straight past Day and into the far side of the net for the only goal of the game.

For Boro, it was a second straight defeat but more disheartening than the one at Torquay because until Colbeck’s stunning effort hit the net they were still in with a chance of taking all three points in a game full of chances but low in precision finishing.

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Craig Reid had the first shot of the game on five minutes, striking on the volley from 20 yards but although Hereford ‘keeper Adam Bartlett feared the worst and had to dive to cover his post, Reid’s effort was inches wide of his left-hand post.

With skipper Mark Roberts already missing due to suspension, Boro were dealt a further blow just 15 minutes into the game when Jon Ashton had to exit the game after injuring his leg.

John Mousinho came on to replace the Boro centre-back, slotting into midfield with Luke Foster dropping back into the back four to play alongside stand-in centre-back Michael Bostwick.

With just under 20 minutes gone Boro got their first corner of the game and Stacy Long swung it out to Reid on the edge of the box. The striker controlled it before hitting a sweet low drive which was blocked and cleared.

Hereford then had their best opportunity of the game so far when Stuart Fleetwood nipped past Scott Laird in the centre of the pitch and drove towards goal before sliding the ball into box and into the path of Colbeck whose low acute shot was saved by Day.

The game continued to ebb and flow and Reid, with his shooting boots very firmly fixed to his feet, was seeing plenty of the ball but again two long-range efforts were both blocked by a resolute Hereford back line.

Reid’s strike partner Byron Harrison was doing lots of running without making much headway with his touch letting him down, and when the ball did swing his way from Laird’s cross just after the half-hour mark it was behind him and the subsequent header vaulted over Bartlett’s bar from six yards.

His luck was out again just moments later when Mousinho stole the ball in central midfield and threaded Harrison through on the edge of the box. Under pressure from a tracking Janos Kovacs, Harrison could only spoon it wide with his right peg.

Harrison was involved again with just five minutes of the first half remaining. He brought down a 65-yard Foster pass, took a couple of touches inside Ryan Green and passed across the 18-yard box for Reid to fire just wide.

At the start of the second half a neat header over Kovacs 35 yards from goal nearly put Harrison in one-on-one with Bartlett but the Hereford stopper was alert and was quickly out of his box to clear the ball to safety.

Boro were looking to make an impact early in this half, and Reid had the chance to do just that five minutes in. Long’s corner from the left was too deep, and when Michael Bostwick controlled it he drilled the ball head height across the six-yard box but Reid, unmarked, headed over from six yards.

There were fewer opportunities for both sides in the second half and when they did fall to bodies in the box they were rarely on target.

David Bridges headed wide from six yards from a Long cross on the left, and that was Long’s last participation in the game as he was withdrawn seconds later for Peter Winn.

Winn was the man who got his head to Boro’s best move of the match when Wilson crossed in deep from the right but the winger’s drilled header came back off the upright.

With chances few and far between Hereford made a rare trip upfield to test Day and Featherstone it was who hit a curling volley with the outside of his right peg, only for it to nestle into the side netting with Day at full stretch.

Mousinho then shot over from 25 yards for Boro.

Both sides were restricted to efforts from distance as the game went on and it was a rather unorthodox long-range goal that won it when Colbeck hit his improbable effort into the net from distance.

Colbeck was subsequently booked for celebrating in front of the Boro faithful, but the damage had already been done.

Winn had another chance for Boro when stretching to hit a left-footer wide of Bartlett’s post, but Hereford held on to win on the road for the fifth consecutive league game.

With Boro’s play-off hopes starting to fade Graham Westley’s men will be hoping for an away win themselves this weekend when they travel to Wycombe Wanderers.

Boro (4-4-2): Day 6, Laird 6, Henry 6, Bostwick 6, Ashton 6 (Mousinho 6, 15), Wilson 6, Foster 6, Bridges 6, Long 6 (Winn 7, 60), Harrison 6, Reid 6 (May, 72). Subs not used: Bayes, Charles, Sinclair, Beardsley.

Hereford United (4-4-2): Bartlett 6, Green 6, Kovacs 6, Lunt 6, Townsend 6, Heath 6, Colbeck 7, Rose 6, McQulkin 6 (Featherstone, 72), Fleetwood 7, Fairhurst 6 (Patulea, 67). Subs not used: Thomas, Preston, Purdie, Ngo Baheng, Hoult.

Attendance: 1,670.

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