VAUXHALL Conference goals by midfield players have been something of a rarity for Hereford and have all been scored by Jamie Pitman.

His fourth of the campaign on Saturday dealt a probable mortal blow to Morecambe's fading title bid and gave the Bulls their fourth double of the season. It was only the second time that the Shrimps, managed by former United player Jimmy Harvey, have lost away in the Conference this season. The 41st-minute match- winner was engineered by a four-man move from the left flank. Chris Harg-reaves won possession and transferred the ball to Richard Leadbeater who pushed a short pass back to Murray Fishlock. James McCue headed on the full-back's centre to Pitman who, keeping his eye on the ball as keeper Steve McIlhargey advanced towards him, hit it first time into the net. Pitman confessed: ''I should have scored a few more this season, but I hope this one will kick- start a good run.''

The victory ended United's run of four games without a win and it was the first time they had kept their goal intact in seven outings no mean feat, considering Morecambe arrived at Edgar Street as joint top Conference scorers with leaders Halifax Town. But they seldom looked like adding to their tally of 52. In November United, spearheaded by a hat- trick from loan striker Andy Milner, caned Morecambe 5-1 at Christie Park. Since then Milner was signed by the Shrimps from Chester City for a club record fee of £8,000.

No doubt he was aiming to compensate them with a goal or two at Edgar Street, but the home defence hardly gave him a look-in and when he did put the ball in the net late in the game it was from an off-side position. Hereford, always more at ease against opponents who play an open style of game, dominated the play for long periods. Skipper Brian McGorry had a fine match as a ball-winner and he received effective midfield support from Hargreaves, Pitman and Gavin Mahon.

Home keeper Andy Quy was virtually redundant in the first period, while at the other end McCue missed a gilt-edged 15th- minute chance by firing his shot over the bar. United then unavailingly claimed Richard Walker's header had crossed the line before Dave Miller hacked it clear.

After the break Leadbeater had a shot saved by McIlhargey before Hargreaves and substitute Rob Warner both went close. During the last 10 minutes Morecambe pushed men forward in search of an equaliser and Quy twice had to save at the feet of John Norman. Pitman blocked an on-target shot from John Norman, while Mahon averted a dangerous situation with a timely interception.

United director of football Graham Turner said: ''A one-goal difference didn't reflect our dominance of the game. We played some good football and it was nice to score first and keep a blank sheet.'' There were two bookings Pitman for dissent and Morecambe's Paul Burns for a foul on Mahon.

Hereford: Quy, Rodgerson, Walker, Matthewson, Fishlock, Pitman, McGorry, Mahon, Hargreaves, Leadbeater (Warner 79th minute), McCue. Substitutes not used: Downing, Williams.

Attendance: 1,720.