EXCELLENT finishing saw Hereford United bounce back in style from their FA Cup disappointment with a win which maintained third place in the Nationwide Conference.

Strikers Robin Elmes and Gavin Williams (2) both found the back of the net with fine finishes and Michael McIndoe's left-foot drive administered the coup-de-grace.

Williams, in particular, was a constant source of danger to the home defence and signalled his return from suspension by starting the move which led to the first goal.

He checked his run down the right to lay the ball back to Ian Rodgerson who provided a perfect cross for Elmes to power a header past Andy Woods in the home goal.

But if Hereford anticipated that their quick-fire opener would lead to an easy ride, then they were quickly brought back to earth.

Scarborough carved out a succession of openings and only fine work by Scott Cooksey in the Bulls goal prevented an equaliser.

In the 11th minute the former Shrewsbury keeper dived to keep out a shot from David Pounder and his brilliant stop from Cherif Diallo's close-range effort two minutes later drew applause from around the ground.

Diallo, looking suspiciously off-side, finally found space to level after 18 minutes, but the home team's respite was short-lived as Ian Wright's punt out of defence was seized upon by Williams who managed to guide the ball into the net from the narrowest of angles.

Williams found himself in the clear again nine minutes before the break but this time his shot flew across goal and harmlessly out of play for a goal-kick.

Then, just when Hereford seemed certain to cross over in front, Scarborough found an equaliser. Simon Betts headed Paul Ellender's cross into the United penalty area and Pounder fired past Cooksey to level the scores.

When Cooksey half-fumbled a Pounder shot, fears were raised that the home side might be about to take a grip on the game, but instead it was Hereford who grabbed the initiative with two goals in three minutes.

Williams raced clear on to a long pass from Tony James to hammer a shot past Woods from the edge of the penalty area despite the close attentions of three following Seadogs defenders.

Then a delicate through ball from Rodgerson gave McIndoe the space to drill a left-foot shot across Woods into the corner of the net.

Although Scarborough continued to press, Hereford could easily argue that their lead might have been extended when referee Graeme Atkins inexplicably failed to award a penalty after substitute Kerry Giddings was felled in the area four minutes from time.

Hereford: Cooksey, Lane, Clarke, Robinson, Wright, James, Rodgerson, Snape, Elmes (Giddings 77 mins), Williams, McIndoe. Subs not used: Piearce, Baker, Gardiner, Wall.

Scarborough: Woods, Betts, Brunton (Gildea 74 mins), Ingram, Ellender, Faure, Jones (Williams 69 mins), Stoker, Diallo, Brodie, Pounder. Subs not used: Newton, Rennison, Shuttleworth.

Referee: G Atkins (Bradford)

Attendance: 891