JAMES Roberts netted his first goal in Hereford colours but a last gasp equaliser denied the Bulls a vital three points in their quest to move up the National League North.

The 22-year-old forward, who signed on a contract with Hereford until the end of the season last month, headed home on the 52nd minute only to see the goal cancelled out moments from full-time when Joshua Hancock fired home following a free-kick.

“It was really pleasing, to score in front of the home fans was a fantastic feeling but we’re disappointed overall that we haven’t got the three points,” said Roberts.

“We know recently we have been a bit suspect from set-pieces and that’s something we need to work on but we’re very aware of that.”

The former Oxford United forward had started the season at Southern League Premier Central side Halesowen Town, scoring eight goals, before being scouted by Hereford and impressing during while on trial during their practice match against Cinderford.

Roberts added: “Halesowen is a fantastic club and I can’t say a bad word about it but it’s just that step up in league, facilities and coaching which I am really thriving on.

“When I was younger I used to watch the Football League Show and Hereford were up there in the league and it’s always been a massive club.

“It’s a massive club and the fanbase is unbelievable and the noise they created today was on a different level, so when they came in it was very difficult for me to think anything but absolutely.

“I’ve played in this league before and I know what it’s all about and what I’m going to come up against and that’s robust defenders that want to throw you from pillar to post and I’m prepared for that.

“I’m prepared for the 90-minute battle and despite these defenders being six foot four or five that’s not going to deter me or George (Lloyd) from battling for 90 minutes.”

“I’m here for the season and to do my upmost for the club.”

When questioned how he keeps his high work-rate going over the full match. Roberts added: “You have just got to think it’s 90 minutes of work, that’s all it is and then you can get back in the car and go home.

“The fans come here and pay so the least you can do is work hard even if things aren’t going right for you."

Roberts had a chance early in the tie when Danny Greenslade’s cross found the marksman but he miss-timed his shot and the chance was wasted.

Altrincham, who had only lost two of their opening six away ties before the game, remained a threat and John Johnston latched onto a long ball before shooting wide.

Roberts headed Hereford ahead on the 52nd minute after initially Greenslade saw his powerful goal-bound effort saved.

From the resulting corner Tommy O’Sullivan found the striker to head home.

Altrincham struggled to find a response but remained a threat and when Matt Yates punched a corner down Owen Dale fired wide from close range.

The Bulls looked destined to pick up their first league win since August but the visitors broke the home fans hearts with an 89th minute equaliser when a free-kick was deflected down to Hancock to fire home the leveller.

Hereford: Yates, Thomas, Greenslade, Cullinane-Liburd, Wassall, Smith (c), Murphy, O'Sullivan, Roberts (White 87), Lloyd, Owen-Evans (Finn 64)

Unused subs: Green, Jackson, Horsell