Kempston Rovers bowed out of the FA Cup on Saturday, losing 4-0 to a well-organised and hard-working Hereford side at a packed Hillgrounds.
It was Rovers who had the first chance when Ash Fuller drove forward to set-up Jake Newman but the forward was challenged and the ball span back to Ben Shepherd on the edge of the box who curled an effort just wide.
At the midway point of the half, Rovers saw a glorious chance slip by. A long free-kick was sent forward by Fuller toward Jamaine Ivy but the striker couldn’t stretch enough to get contact on the ball.
As the rain began to pour, Hereford started to show their pedigree. A series of half chances and dangerous crosses came and went before they took the lead with seven minutes to go before half time.
A clever turn in the area by John Mills allowed the forward to lay back to Gary Preen, who unleashed a bullet into the bottom corner.
Rovers were reduced to long shots by the end of the half, Seb Simpson firing wide from 25 yards in stoppage time was as close as the hosts came.
As early as the first minute of the second half Hereford should have doubled the advantage when a goal-bound header was blocked on the line by their own man.
But they didn’t have to wait long. On 49 minutes a penalty was awarded when full back James Bowen was bundled to the ground. Mills stepped up and put the ball low and straight down the middle, leaving Martin Conway diving to his right.
Hereford pressed further and in the 56th minute a cross from Jimmy Oates was headed at goal only for Rovers to block it on the line.
The visitors extended their lead further from a second penalty kick in the 64th minute after Kyal McNulty was adjudged to have tripped Mills. Mills stepped up again, this time taking aim to Conway’s right as the keeper dived the wrong way for 3-0.
Rovers rallied and in the 67th minute had their clearest sight of goal of the game, when Fuller’s cross found a flying Grant Fryer. The defender’s header was heading for the top corner only to be denied by a flying acrobatic save from Martin Horsell in the Hereford goal.
The visitors poured forward in search of fourth and it duly arrived in stoppage time.
A long ball over the top found substitute Lance Smith, he latched onto the ball and advanced on the Rovers goal before slipping a shot under Conway. Rovers left the field to rapturous applause from the home fans for the effort and endeavour they showed in the face of their illustrious opponents.
It’s back to Southern League action this Saturday when they travel to Marlow.