Hereford FC 4 Alvechurch 2

MANAGER Pete Beadle hailed the “character” of his side after Hereford fought back from 2-0 down to secure a 4-2 win against Alvechurch in their first FA Cup tie.

Three goals in a remarkable four-minute spell midway through the second half turned the preliminary round clash in Hereford’s favour after they had conceded twice in the opening 10 minutes.

Jack Cresswell fired Church ahead from a 20-yard free-kick after just 50 seconds before the lively Josh Sarmento doubled their lead after racing on to the play-maker’s through-ball.

Hereford struggled to master the windy conditions and, with the home crowd becoming restless, James Cuss’ run and cross was stroked home by John Mills in the 67th minute.

Cuss drew Hereford level a minute later, pouncing at the back post after Mills had flicked on Chris Barker's cross from the left.

Mike Symons lashed the Bulls in front in the 70th minute and then Mills wrapped up Hereford’s triumph from the penalty spot after Pablo Haysham had been sent sprawling.

Beadle said: “We showed what types of characters we have got in the side in that second-half and we thoroughly deserved to win the game.

“In the first-half they (Alvechurch) had a free-kick in the first minute and then a breakaway goal but apart from that Horse (Martin Horsell) didn’t have a save to make in the first-half and he probably didn’t have too many in the second-half either.

“We gave away two really poor goals and, on top of that, we were not good enough on the ball in the first half.”

Alvechurch manager Ian Long said: “We knew it was going to be a game of two halves with the wind and it was always going to be difficult in the second half playing against it.

“I was a bit disappointed to throw away a 2-0 lead regardless of what the conditions were.”

He added: “We knew about Jamie Cuss and I thought (Mike) Symons did well when he came on.

“Symons gives Hereford a Plan B because the ball can be hit long to him and our centre-halves struggled, at times, to deal with him.

“He makes it awkward and is strong with his back to goal and brings people into play.

"I didn’t expect Symons to start but I knew he would come on after half-time with the scoreline as it was.”

Alvechurch pushed Hereford all the way last season before the Bulls eventually secured the Midland League Premier Division title in their maiden campaign.

And Beadle felt the history between the sides had given the cup tie an added “spice”.

“The draw couldn’t have been more interesting because they pushed us so hard last season and we played them three times," said Beadle.

“Maybe if Alvechurch had scored their penalties they would have won the league last season.

“There was that added bit of spice and Ian (Long) is never shy in coming forward.

"But once we got into the tie it was a good cup atmosphere and we were just glad to get through it.”

The Bulls will now travel to Sutton Coldfield to take on Northern League Premier Division One South Romulus in the first round qualifying on September 3 (3pm).

Hereford: Horsell; Oates, Green, Willets, Barker; Tumelty (Symons 46), Birch, Edge, Purdie (Cuss 63); Mills, Haysham. Not used: Staley, Parry, Huntbach, Harris.

Alvechurch: Evans; Parsons, Foster (Deards 78), Bellis, Smith, Paskin, Sarmento (Williams 55), Turton, Spray, Cresswell, March. Not used: Pendley, Spencer, Millichamp, Rostill.

Goals: Cresswell, 1, 0-1; Sarmento, 10, 0-2; Mills 67, 1-2; Cuss, 68, 2-2; Symons, 70, 3-2; Mills (penalty) 88, 4-2.

Referee: Scott Robertson.

Yellow cards: Hereford – Oates, 49, foul; Barker, 85, foul; Mills, 89, kicking ball away. Alvechurch - Paskin 51, kicking ball away; Bellis, 61, foul; Foster, 77, foul.

Attendance: 2,624 (including 44 from Alvechurch).