Hereford United will eagerly await the return of striker Steven Piearce after their 2-0 defeat by Shrewsbury Town in a friendly at Edgar Street last night.

The Bulls have scored only once in their four home pre-season games and badly need the marksmanship of Piearce, last season's Dr Martens League top scorer.

Paul Fewings did get the ball past goalkeeper Glyn Thompson, who was being watched by Manchester City scouts, in the 23rd minute, but his header was ruled off-side.

In the second-half Hereford's best scoring chances again fell to Fewings. He cut in from the left only to see his shot diverted for a corner and then sent another effort narrowly past the far post. Later he moved into the centre to rob Craig Herbert but fired his shot over the bar.

Shrewsbury, who fielded the majority of their first team, went ahead in the 26th minute. John Snape deflected Gareth Hanner's shot and goalkeeper Andy Quy had to push it away for a corner.

Kevin Jobling's flag kick was knocked out to Peter Wilding who drove the ball home from eight yards. In the 68th minute the visitors made it 2-0 through Matt Clarke.

United's Director of Football Graham Turner said: "It was an improved, if patchy display compared with our defeat by Newport County on Tuesday. But with a number of injuries I am still having to work out the right formation.

"Hopefully by the time we play Worcester City next Saturday I shall be able to field my Conference team."

Hereford: Quy, Cotterill, Wall (Sub Hanson 59), Clarke, Wright, Snape (Dunphy 79), Williams, Taylor, May (Pendry 79 mins), Elmes, Fewings.