MIDFIELDER Stephen Dawson had a Bulls debut to remember after seeing his first half goal controversially disallowed before earning a second half penalty during their 3-2 defeat.

The ex-Bury captain has been without a club since their demise in the summer and hasn’t played a competitive league match in 10 months.

Despite this the 33-year-old led from the front for his new side and said that it was an ‘honour’ to play for the club.

“I just want to thank the club because it’s my first competitive game in 10 months and just to get back out there was an honour," said Dawson.

“I just want to play football now and get playing. I love playing football, hopefully I will get fitter, stronger and sharper as well.

“I still don’t know what happened with the goal, I still don’t understand what was going on.

"I felt I should have done better with the touch before the penalty as I feel I should have took the chance myself.

"But we’ve got to learn from it and it’s a big game now on Saturday (at home to Alfreton)."

Dawson has played over 450 competitive league games for sides including Mansfield Town, Leyton Orient, Barnsley, Rochdale, Scunthorpe United and Bury.

The senior midfielder has an influential personality on the pitch and led the Bulls response following a poor opening 20 minutes against Southport.

“It’s something I’ve done my whole career, I like to lead by example, I never give up on anything and give 110 per cent,” added Dawson.

“I’ve come in and that’s the way I am, I’m not a quiet lad and set standards myself. I’m just disappointed overall that we did lose the game as I did feel for large parts that we were in control.

“But that’s football it’s a game of chances."

Dawson will be training full-time at Rochdale while also training and playing for Hereford.

Despite playing most of his career in the Football League Dawson said he had ‘no problem’ with dropping down to the National League North after being offered the chance to join Hereford until January.

“It’s a good standard and I had no problem in dropping down,” added Dawson.

“It was hard when I left Bury and I was thinking do I keep going? I just want to play and Russell (Slade) rang me up and said they’re a great bunch of lads, come here and play until January in 12 or 13 games and I want to play, if selected, every single one of them.

“This is a big club and I remember playing against Hereford in the league believe it or not, that’s how old I am getting.

“You’ve got to drive the team forward, it’s getting my head down and getting my fitness going."

Hereford manager Russell Slade said that Dawson will be ‘key’ to his side in the coming weeks.

“He did great when you consider he has had 70 minutes with Rochdale under-23s and he has been training there quite regularly over the last three weeks,” said Slade.

“So I knew he was in reasonable condition. He will get stronger and fitter there’s no doubt about that because he hasn’t played a lot of football, but his influence and his knowledge.

“He has driven forwards two or three times with the ball, once he has scored and the other one he has drawn a penalty.

“He’s going to be a key figure for us going forward there is no doubt about it.”