Hereford coach Mark Harris has unfinished business at Wyeside after Lichfield defeat (From Hereford Times)
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Hereford coach Mark Harris has unfinished business at Wyeside after Lichfield defeat
HEAD coach Mark Harris says he’s got ‘unfinished business’ at Hereford and wants to be in the Wyeside hot-seat next season.
The Welshman has helped guide Hereford to sixth place in Midlands One West after the despair of relegation from National Three Midlands 12 months ago.
Earlier this campaign, Harris admitted he was not sure whether he wanted to remain in the role.
But he said: “I have spoken to a couple of people at the club and I would like to stay at Hereford.
“There is unfinished business with the forwards - I enjoy it here and I would like another go.
“The team has a lot of good youngsters and the future looks bright.
“We have got some good youngsters in the Colts and, before the end of the season, we might well bring in some of them to have a look at.
“Hopefully, we can finish in the top-five and build for next season.”
Harris was disappointed with Hereford’s ill-discipline against third-placed Lichfield which saw Brad Talbot red-carded for a headbutt and Hereford down to 12 men at one stage.
Hereford trailed 14-0 after just 11 minutes and Harris will be making his players watch a video of their first-half display at training this week.
“You have to keep your discipline,” said Harris.
“You can’t retaliate because referees won’t stand for it.
“I thought the referee was inconsistent but there are no excuses from me.
“Things have been good and, before we played Camp Hill away, we had conceded just three points in three games.
“But we played into Lichfield’s hands. It was a fine, dry day and they are a good footballing side.
“Instead of keeping the ball tight and moving it through the forwards, we tried to play an expansive game.
“It’s nice to play but you can’t do it and concede 41 points at home.”
Full-back Greg Massey collected 21 points for the high-flying visitors in last Saturday’s action-packed game. He also missed two penalty attempts in the second half.
Hereford had won their five previous matches but they made two costly early mistakes which gave Lichfield confidence.
Hereford twice knocked on at their own lineout and Lichfield were ruthless, cutting through weak tackling to score converted tries through Greg Massey and Richard Burton. After the initial shock, Hereford regrouped and Talbot crashed over the whitewash after strong work at the scrum and Ben Osborne kicked the conversion.
But Brad Rowlands touched down after an overlap on the left for Lichfield’s third try in the 26th minute before ill-discipline cost Hereford.
Talbot was red-carded on the half-hour mark for an off-the-ball incident which set the tone for a lively end to the opening period.
Skipper Jamie Bullock said he had ‘quite a clear view’ of the red-card incident.
“I think it was a mis-citing. Our games are videoed and I am sure that will come to our aid.”
The returning Adam Knight used his strength and speed to dive over in the left-hand-corner after Perry Pudge’s blistering break through midfield as Hereford trailed 21-14. Then, at the restart, James Watters reacted to being tackled by Dan Taylor and both were sin-binned after a brawl involving a rash of players from both sides.
A minute later, Hereford’s Gareth Miles was yellow-carded for a punch which was spotted by the referee and Lichfield’s Tom Adams was sin-binned in the same incident.
Brad Rowlands grabbed his second try, which Massey converted, to extend Lichfield’s advantage to 28-14 four minutes into the second half.
But Hereford responded and loosehead prop Ben Hillstead, Hereford’s man of the match, deservedly scored a pushover try after the hosts had overpowered Lichfield in a five-metre scrum.
At that stage, there were high hopes of a Hereford comeback and Massey failed with two penalty attempts for the visitors. Despite being a man short, Hereford showed tremendous character and determination but in pushing for a try, they were dealt a major blow in the 63rd minute.
A kick over the top caught out Hereford’s defence and Will Cotterhill ran through to collect and score under the posts for a converted try which put the visitors 35-21 in front. Massey’s 75th minute penalty stretched Lichfield’s advantage before Hereford secured a deserved bonus-point when full-back Nat Thomas touched down for their fourth try.
Massey had the final word, kicking another penalty for the visitors before the home fans greeted the final whistle with boos aimed towards the referee.
Harris said: “We started the game very slowly and if you take off those 14 points we conceded early-on, we would have won the game.
“We lost 34-29 up there and you can’t give good teams a head start.”
Hereford travel to fourth-placed Burton this Saturday.
They secured a hard-fought 13-8 home win against Burton in November.
Harris added: “Burton have got good backs and we just have to go up there and tighten our defence.”