Hereford'S disappointing Vauxhall Conference season staggered to a close with this defeat at third-placed Woking on Saturday.

With no particular pressure on the game - United would finish sixth whatever the outcome - they established little momentum against the Cards, who needed a victory to confirm their top-three placing and cement their fifth top-five position in five years.

Woking were a continual handful in attack and could easily have added to their tally. United's misery would have been complete if a missed penalty, a disallowed goal and two glaring misses by centre-back Eddie Saunders had all been added to the score.

Director of football Graham Turner, for whom the season has been a trying one both on and, particularly, off the field said afterwards: ''We held them for 35 minutes, but after that we lost our way.''

Hereford had a good chance to take the lead after just three minutes when John Brough skilfully brought down a Murray Fishlock pass, but his shot on the turn was well held by Lawrence Batty in the home goal.

Play almost immediately transferred to the other end where the Cards proved more successful. Grant Payne's excellent pass sent Darran Hay away and his angled drive flew across Andy Quy into the corner of the net.

Quy was in the action again on 20 minutes when Richard Walker's back- pass fell short and Payne intercepted, only to be brought down by the United keeper, who was cautioned for his pains. Payne's penalty was poorly hit, however, and Quy made a good save.

Chris Hargreaves could have equalised on 25 minutes, heading Brian McGorry's pass weakly at Batty, but a minute before the break United were back on terms. McGorry's corner was headed back by Walker for Tony Agana to nod home from close range.

But, even before the half-time whistle blew, Woking were back in front when Scott Steele got free on the left and delivered a perfect cross to the far post where Steve West rose above the United defence to head a fine goal.

Quy made a superb stop from Hay in the first minute of the second half, but Woking were not long in increasing their lead. The same combination that created the second goal was involved again with, this time, West heading in Steele's well-placed corner.

Woking then missed a number of good chances to stretch the lead, with United's most likely opening coming when Agana's 25-yarder, following a good Hargreaves run, was held by Batty.

Trevor Matthewson and four Woking players joined Quy in the referee's notebook.

Hereford: Quy, Rodgerson, Fishlock, Warner (sub Williams 78 mins), Walker, Matthewson, Hargreaves, McGorry, Agana, Brough, Mahon. Subs not used: Durham, Parry.

Attendance: 3,015.