Hereford racked up their eighth home draw in the Nationwide Conference this season after they failed to find a way past bottom club Kettering on Saturday.

Graham Turner's men did record their first clean sheet since the beginning of October with a generally assured defensive display, although this did little to appease an increasingly restless Edgar Street crowd.

The Bulls' failure to make an impression on goal was not for lack of effort on their part, but the rub of the green was very much with the Poppies.

However, it was Town who almost gave their hosts an early shock when, with just two minutes gone, on-loan Peterborough United man Niall Inman picked out Craig Norman, who stooped to head the ball inches wide.

Inman tried his luck 11 minutes later with an audacious attempt from 30 yards which fizzed just off target, following a poor clearance from United keeper Scott Cooksey.

The Bulls responded immediately, but found that beating on-form Kettering stopper Ian Bowling was more difficult than the Poppies' lowly league position may have suggested.

The first such save came on 17 minutes when Bowling leapt across his goal to brilliantly fingertip away a well-directed header from Rob Elmes, who was found by a cross from right-back Chris Lane.

Cooksey pulled off similar heroics two minutes before half-time to deflect a rasping 30-yard piledriver from Town defender Carl Adams over the bar.

If the first period had been relatively evenly matched, United showed why they are 18 Confer-ence positions above Kettering in the second half as they forced their visitors into some 11 men behind the ball defending.

Straight from the kick-off, Gavin Williams charged at the Town back line and was only thwarted by a smart save from Bowling and moments later Matt Clarke crossed from the right to Elmes, who found Phil Robinson but he could only fire wide from five yards.

The Bulls did find the net after 50 minutes when Robinson lifted the ball cleverly into the path of Elmes and the big striker poked the ball home, but the off-side flag had already been raised.

A Lane centre provided United's next opening but, when Michael McIndoe headed firmly towards goal, Bowling produced a full-length stop to save the Poppies.

Elmes should have done better when he found himself clean through courtesy of a deflected shot from John Snape and there were chances at both ends during a frantic four-minute spell of injury time.

But a goalless draw was guaranteed when Cooksey put a 25-yard Inman effort around a post and Bowling saved with his legs from substitute Steve Piearce.

Hereford: Cooksey, Lane, Sturgess, Robinson, Wright, Gardiner, Clarke (Piearce 68 mins), Snape, Elmes, Williams, McIndoe. Subs not used: Baker, Giddings, Wall, Rodgerson.

Kettering: Bowling, Diuk (Matthews 46 mins), Adams, Perkins, Vowden, Norman, Fisher, Brown (Cowling 53 mins), Simba (Watkins 56 mins), Collins, Inman. Subs not used: Shutt, Wilson.

Referee: D Naylor (Sutton-in-Ashfield).

Attendance: 1,561.