WHEN Hereford director of football Graham Turner signed Leroy May from Kidderminster Harriers last summer the move met with misgivings from some Bulls fans as the striker's previous stint at Edgar Street in 1992-93 was not a happy one.

On Saturday, though, there was no doubt who was their hero as May grabbed a 77th-minute goal in the first round of the AXA sponsored FA Cup to dump Third Division York City out of the competition.

Those who had taken the 11-5 odds on a draw, offered by some bookies, were probably starting to count up their profits when veteran midfielder Mark Taylor, who had one of his best games for United, lofted the ball over City's defence. May stuck out a foot before it dropped and steered it past 36-year-old keeper Bobby Mimms, a member of the Everton side beaten 3-1 by Liverpool in the 1986 final.

May, a one-time male stripper, ran to the Meadow End to acknowledge the plaudits of the fans, but propriety prevailed and he resisted the temptation to take off his shirt and wave it triumphantly to the crowd.

After the final whistle May was again mobbed by rapturous fans.

He said: "I've scored goals in the FA Cup before but never one that has knocked out a league club. I've given up stripping now I'm a full-time footballer - scoring goals is now my life."

May was only in the starting line-up because the Bulls' leading marksmen, Paul Fewings and Rob Elmes, were on the injured list and Turner said: "Leroy has worked hard, waited patiently, and taken his chance. I was delighted with the crowd's reaction to his goal.

"In the last five minutes we had a couple of lucky breaks but overall we deserved to win. We should have got the ball into their penalty area more often than we did, but there was a good level of performance from everyone."

City manager Neil Thompson acknowledged United's success, saying: "Hereford worked hard and made it difficult for us. Maybe we got what we deserved."

Pre-match rain and a tropical downpour in the first half made the pitch slippery and the tie was not a vehicle for textbook soccer. United left-winger Paul Parry, who was again watched by Football League club scouts, created the most problems.

Both sets of defenders made few mistakes, however, and scoring chances were few and far between. In the first half May headed Taylor's short centre wide, and at the other end Andy Dawson fired well clear of a gaping goal.

After the break Bulls midfielder Ian Rodgerson's shot was only just off target, while Gavin Williams and May headed over. After May's vital strike, City made desperate attempts to get on terms and their best chance fell to former United striker John Williams, once a mailman. It was the post that came to United's rescue, however, as his shot hit an upright.

Hereford: Jones, Clarke, Sturgess, Snape, Wright, James, Parry, Taylor, May, Williams, Rodgerson. Subs not used: Lane, Siddaway, Wall, Hanson, Piearce.

York City: Mimms, Jordan, Jones, Fairclough, Sertori, Mark Williams (John Williams 64 min), Hulme, Conlon, Hall, Dawson (Hocking 82 min), Fox. Subs not used: Howarth, Bullock, Garratt.

Referee: Mr MG Cowburn (Blackpool).

Attendance: 2,787.

lCraig Hanson, signed from Derby County last close season, bagged his first hat-trick for United in a 4-0 home victory over Gloucester City in the Central Conference. John Shirley was the Bulls' other marksman.