Hereford demonstrated to the full their capacity to disappoint in Saturday's Nationwide Conference game at Moss Lane.

After their excellent win in the FA Cup against York City the previous Saturday, United might, their followers hoped, begin to put behind the inconsistencies which have dogged them all season.

But instead, the contradictions became even more pronounced when they followed up a commanding first-half display, full of good football, with a second period when they looked as if they felt that all they had to do was see out the 90 minutes to claim the three points.

Not surprisingly, a battling Altrincham seized their opportunity and it was hardly a shock when Kevin Ellison latched on to a poor defensive header by Leroy May to drill the winner past Mark Jones with just four minutes left to play.

Hereford, fielding an unchanged team and battling against a strong wind in the first half, took a little time to settle, but should have taken the lead after 16 minutes.

Paul Parry made a strong run down the left and slipped the ball inside to Gavin Williams who rounded goalkeeper Dean Greygoose before squaring to Ian Rodgerson.

But the veteran midfielder, in trying to make sure of his first goal of the season, delayed his shot and Greygoose scrambled back across goal to block with his legs.

A minute later the Robins goalkeeper made a flying save to palm away a May header for a corner. But his acrobatics delayed the inevitable only for seconds as Mark Taylor's flag-kick was half-cleared to the edge of the box from where Parry centred for May to prod home from close range.

Hereford continued to play some fine free-flowing football which stretched the Altrincham defence but they were made to pay for not turning their superiority into further goals five minutes after the break.

The United defence seemed to go to sleep at a free-kick and Richard Landon found himself in the clear with time to slip the ball past the helpless Jones.

The goal inspired the home side and knocked the resolve out of the visitors who were thereafter restricted to long-range efforts from Taylor, substitute Chris Lane and Parry who powerfully struck a right-foot shot which Greygoose did well to tip over.

Altrincham battled away and as the minutes ticked by looked the more likely side to grab the points, duly doing so when leading-scorer Ellison capitalised on May's mistake to send the home supporters away happy.

Hereford: Jones, Clarke, Sturgess (Lane 53 min), Snape, Wright, James, Parry, Taylor, May, Williams, Rodgerson. Subs not used: Hanson, Wall, Shirley, Pitt.

Altrincham: Greygoose, Gallagher, Adams, Talbot, Ellender, Pickering (Hawse 80 min), Quinn (Burke 56 min), Russell, Landon (Chambers 90 min), Power, Ellison.

Referee: G Salisbury (Preston)

Attendance: 1,006