HEREFORD manager Josh Gowling said that the Cardiff City XI side that visited Edgar Street were the best they have played in pre-season.

The Bulls suffered a 2-0 defeat against a side which included experienced defender Curtis Nelson amongst other first team players and youngsters.

“I thought they were excellent and by far the best team we have played in pre-season,” said Gowling.

“Their back three and one other player were first team players and I think that showed. They were strong and physical.

“I think in the first 10 or 15 minutes we wanted to protect the middle of the pitch but we didn’t get to grips with that but after that spell we did.

“The reality is they are a Championship side so you’re not going to have the ball too much but it was pleasing to see the way we screened and the work-rate we did.

“They scored two but we limited them to chances which was pleasing. We did have spells in possession when we caused them problems as well.”

The Bulls made several changes from that which faced Coalville Town in midweek with Orrin Pendley starting alongside Luke Haines at the back along with two trialist starting.

“We made a couple of changes to have a look at a few of the lads with the first team,” added Gowling.

“It was pleasing to see that we are picking things up and working. When you play Championship sides when the ball turns over they will get after it quickly to get the ball back.

“I just thought in spells, especially in the first half, we didn’t cope with that very well. We turned balls back over which meant we then had to chase the ball for five minutes.”

Gowling did have a gripe about James Crole’s first half opener claiming the forward handled the ball when faced with goalkeeper Brad Wade.

“I watched it back and he has handballed it,” added Gowling.

“I say to our strikers to always things in. The lad was great and he followed it in. I thought Brad (Wade’s) position was excellent and on another day he kicks it out for a throw-in.”