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Half-time: Newport County 0 Hereford United 0
HARRY Pell wasted the best chance of a goal for either side in the first half at a predictably passionate and noisy Rodney Parade when he saw his 11th minute penalty saved.
Hereford made a lively start and forced a corner inside the first minute.
The flag-kick came to nothing, however, and play broke down field for an extraordinary Newport miss.
Andy Gallinagh’s back pass was woefully short and Jefferson Louis seized on the ball and rounded Dan Hanford only, seemingly to run into a post.
The ball ran loose and Chris Carruthers was able to complete a hugely fortuitous escape.
Newport played some neat passing football and forced their first corner on seven minutes.
Hanford did well to fist Andy Sandell’s flag-kick clear.
Hereford broke away at the other end and Harry Pell’s pass sent Nichols scurrying away to deliver a cross which Sean Canham fired weakly at Lenny Pidgeley in the home goal.
Moments later, Ismael Yakubu hauled down Nichols as he ran through but referee Graham Horwood waved play on.
The Luton official did, however, point to the spot seconds later when Yakubu brought down Sam Clucas.
Pidgeley, who had obviously done his homework, dived to his left to save Pell’s penalty when the midfielder followed the course he has taken with all of his previous penalties.
Nichols shot over an open goal from the rebound.
Hereford were pushed back for a while and Sandell sent a shot fizzing just a couple of feet wide of Hanford’s goal.
With Newport looking like a top-of-the-table side, at least temporarily, Hereford were reduced to counter-attacking.
This, however, still proved effective with Marley Watkins’ pace a dangerous weapon.
Newport’s precise passing was equally effective and one good move released David Pipe whose cross skidded past attackers and defenders with neither side getting a touch.
Hereford wasted a good opening on 35 minutes when Watkins was completely clear on the right of the area but his poorly directed cross was put behind for a corner with team-mates well positioned.
At the other end, Lee Evans raced a crossfield pass from Louis and sent his shot inches wide.
Hereford continued to make good use of the ball at times and a cross from Watkins was only just too high for Canham.
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