HEREFORD United's memorable 10-match FA Cup run, which started with a home match against Cheltenham three months and took thousands of fans to Northampton, West Brom and Newcastle, came to a glorious conclusion when a record crowd of 42,219 saw them bow out of the competition gracefully in the East End of London.

Star studded West Ham United, who had struggled to hold out for a goalless draw at Edgar Street five days earlier, beat them 3-1 but afterwards the First Division club's manager Rob Greenwood admitted: "The glory belongs to Hereford United . They are a magnificent little team."

Actions, however speak louder than words and the finest tribute to Hereford's performance came at the end of the match when England captain Bobby Moore and his West Ham colleagues stood back to clap the United players off the field as the gallant giant-killers headed back to their dressing room.

The critics had expected a 'slaughter'. They had forecast a four or five-goal win. But it took a hat-trick from England centre-forward Geoff Hurst, just like the one he collected at the World Cup final against West Germany to steer the Hammers to a 3-1 win.

Home supporters, remained to cheer United, who once again gave a tremendous display of courage, stamina and skill- and they made soccer's top stars contest every blade on the field for the ball.

United's cup feats have been the talk of the nation.

Yet West Ham completely underestimated the team's drawing power. It was a game that would have packed Wembley and West Ham should have agreed to make it an all-ticket affair to accommodate the 10,000 fans that made the trip from Hereford.

The Hereford fans who managed to get through the turnstiles gave the team wonderful encouragement.

But it could have been so much more if the London takeover had not deprived so many United supporters of their rightful place on the terraces.

United player-manager Colin Addison told me: "No regrets. I think if we could have held them until the interval it could have been different.

"They scored their first goal just at the right psychological time. But our players never gave up and I was just as proud of them as when we beat Newcastle.

"They missed some chances, so did we. With a little luck it could have gone the other way."

United's hero was Fred Potter, who brought off many First Division type saves.

His handling, anticipation and agility earned him constant applause.

Pick of the United attack was once again Dudley Tyler. He revealed his class whenever he gained possession, and certainly did not look out of place up against West Ham's highly priced forwards.

Hurst opened the scoring with a simple goal and soon after the break Potter brought off a great save to put a point-range shot from Best over the top.

But in the 51st minute Hurst struck again to make it 2-0 when he turned home a Trevor Brooking cross.

Far from being demoralised United stormed back and Meadows had a fine effort tipped over the bar.

Moments later he screwed the ball just wide with a tremendous volley from a Tyler cross.

Then it was West Ham's turn again. Potter brought off fine saves from Hurst and Brooking, before Hurst got through again in the 74th minute.

His shot from just inside the box was helped home by Radford.

United were determined not to leave the field with a blank score sheet, and their ability to come back at the Hammers warmed the hearts of the crowd.

Radford fired just wide and then a terrific shot from Ricky George was tipped over the bar.

It was from Tyler's corner that United got the goal they deserved in the 84th minute. The ball was partially cleared and Tyler rammed it back into the crowded goalmouth for Meadows to crack it home.