CENTRAL defender Ian Wright's first goal for Hereford was enough to secure a winning start to their Football Conference home programme on Tuesday.

The former Hull City player's crucial strike came in the 29th minute. He rose above a packed defence to head Richard Walker's free-kick from near the left touch-line over keeper Garry Ingham into the top of the net.

Leek came to Edgar Street on the back of a 4-0 home victory against Farnborough on Saturday, whereas the Bulls suffered a 2-0 defeat at Kingstonian.

Wright said: ''It was disappointing to get nothing from the Kingstonian match. But to score tonight and help keep a blank sheet was a double bonus.''

The match did nothing to set the pulses throbbing and United director of football Graham Turner conceded: ''It was not pretty to watch and we had to grind out a victory.''

He made one change as experienced midfielder Mark Taylor dropped out through illness and was replaced by teenager Gavin Williams.

United had most of the early possession without managing to cause Leek's defence any undue problems. At the other end Hugh McAuley created the first chance for Leek with a clever back-heel to Dean Trott who shot just wide.

After Wright's goal, United had the better of matters for a while but Leek came back strongly towards half-time. Garry Cook replaced Paul Fewings at the break and this switch put more pep into the Bulls' attack.

Richard Leadbeater broke clear of his marker on a couple of occasions but failed to hit the target with his shots, while John Snape was not far off target with one effort.

Apart from an occasional loss of concentration, the home back four, in which Chris Lane had another impressive game, contained Leek's strikers but Stuart Evans did well to recover with a saving tackle when Trott looked to have a clear run on goal. And in the closing minutes keeper Andy Quy made a superb save from Gavin O'Toole.

Hereford: Quy, Lane, Evans, Wright, Walker, Rodgerson, Snape, Mahon, Williams (Downing 86 mins), Leadbeater, Fewings (Cook 46). Sub not used: Cross.