DESPITE dominating proceedings at Drill Field, Hereford's failures in front of goal condemned them to another Nationwide Conference disappointment on Saturday.

And if the taste of defeat was not bitter enough, then the long-awaited first appearance in a United shirt of ex-Wolves and England legend Steve Bull brought nothing but further despair.

Bull, thrown into the fray immediately after Rich-ard Mitchell's decisive goal, was able to bring little influence to bear before chasing after a John Snape through ball and straining a hamstring.

Gloom descended on the Hereford camp as Bull limped off a minute from the end and he will be having a fitness test before the weekend.

The best feature of Hereford's play was once again the performance of Gavin Williams, who, despite an atrociously bumpy pitch, showed a range of skills which far surpassed those of anyone else on the field.

It can surely be only a matter of time before a club from a higher division considers his talents worthy of exposure on a greater stage.

Northwich had little answer to Williams's skills and their only recourse as they tried to bring him to heel was by means of fouls, the first of which brought a caution for Steve Davis with just two minutes played.

This brought about one of a succession of free-kicks in dangerous positions in the opening minutes, but United were unable to profit, their best effort being a shot from Michael McIndoe which went well wide after a probing ball from Phil Robinson opened up the defence.

A brilliant shot by Williams was tipped around the post by Lance Key midway through the half and then a McIndoe screamer fizzed inches wide.

For 25 minutes each side of half-time, Hereford were the only side in contention, but after 73 minutes, remarkably, the home side took the lead.

Mark Barnard found space on the left and crossed into the centre where Richard Mitchell reacted first to a rebound to prod the ball home after Mark Devlin had headed against an upright.

All that remained on another dire day for United was the Bull incident as Hereford slipped to their third defeat on four games.

Hereford: Cooksey, Rodgerson, Sturgess, Robinson, Wright, Wall, Clarke, Snape, Elmes, Williams, McIndoe (Bull 74 mins, Giddings 90 mins). Subs not used: Quiggin, Gardiner, Moran.

Northwich: Key, Bailey, Barnard, Davis, Robertson, Simpson, Henry, Robinson, Mitchell, Mike, Devlin (Newhouse 90 mins). Subs not used: Holcroft, Quigley, Poland, Bates.

Referee: Steve Tanner (Bristol).

Attendance: 1,104.