IT seemed inevitable. Hardened Hereford supporters had resigned themselves to the fact that Cardiff striker Steve White would certainly score against his old team-mates when the two sides met in the Third Division this season.

Sadly for them, their fears were doubly realised on Saturday when the former Bulls favourite netted twice in the second half for his new side and sent United to 18th place in the table from a run of five games without a win.

White put the Bluebirds ahead after 54 minutes when Carl Dale's head-on from a Craig Middleton corner found the lethal marksman in space in the six-yard box. ''We all know what Chalky's like and it was elementary defending following a corner,'' said angry United director of football Graham Turner afterwards.

''We should have enough know-how and experience at the back not to get caught like that.'' White's second goal, 15 minutes from time, was vintage Chalky. Carl Dale broke free on the right and squared the ball to White who lashed a left- foot drive across Andy DeBont into the corner of the net from 18 yards.

In a first-half of relentlessly poor quality, punctuated by a succession of free-kicks for off-side at both ends, one of the bright spots was the performance of United's on-loan midfielder Gavin O'Toole. The 21-year-old from Coventry gave indications that he could make an impact in his month at Hereford with some thoughtful passing and a good work rate. Hereford could have taken the lead in only the second minute when a free-kick from Gareth Stoker found the head of Nicky Law and the centre-back's header rattled the Cardiff cross-bar with ex-United keeper Tony Elliott well beaten.

Dale had a good chance to put Cardiff ahead after 31 minutes but screwed his shot across goal and harmlessly wide.

Immediately after the break, Hereford looked certain to score when a good pass from John Brough found Chris Hargreaves in the area, but, just when the United forward was about to put the ball in the net, he was clearly impeded by Jason Perry. Referee Mike Pierce saw the incident differently to the players and the crowd, however, and instead of pointing to the penalty spot merely waved play on.

Hereford's best chance came four minutes after White's first goal when Stoker opened the defence up for Adrian Foster, only for United's leading scorer to drag his shot wide. Then, as if to prove that nothing was going to go right for United, deep in injury time a Dean Smith shot clipped the bar and bounced over.

White had at least some crumbs of comfort for United fans after the game. ''We should have been down at half-time and our manager, Russell Osman, gave us a roasting,'' he said. ''But I don't think there are too many problems at Hereford. There's a lot of strength at the back.''

Hereford: DeBont, Norton, Matthewson, Smith, Law, Forsyth, O'Toole, Stoker, Foster, Hargreaves, Brough (sub Preedy 77 mins). Subs not used: Cook, Warner.

Attendance: 3,900.