HEREFORD’S youngsters delighted manager Josh Gowling as they ran out 3-0 victors at Ludlow Town Colts in the Herefordshire County Cup.

A Jack Holmes ninth minute opener was followed by second half strikers from under-18s Isaac Groves and Charlie Jenkins.

Defender Mark Derricott and creative midfielder Holmes were the most experienced Bulls players in the squad which also included Justice Campbell, Harrison Summers and goalkeeper Seb Osment.

Six of the starters and all of the substitutes were part of the under-18 community side and earned plaudits from the Bulls manager.

“The young lads for me were absolutely outstanding, when the ball turned over they got after the ball and pressed well, the intensity was there for 90 minutes and it was good to get a convincing win,” said Gowling.

“When we look at how we want to play, in the first team they did that today, they pressed from the front, they harassed and they were on the front foot constantly.

“They also played with some real quality in possession which caused Ludlow some real problems.

“It turned into a bit of a fight for a period and it was pleasing to see the young lads being up for the fight, rolling their sleeves up and putting some tasty tackles in. Eventually our quality came through to finish the game off.”

Hereford got off to the perfect start with Groves seeing his early header cleared off the line before Holmes beat the defensive line to open the scoring on nine minutes.

Zac Johnston then hit the host’s post for Hereford before Holmes hit a free-kick over the crossbar onto the top side off the netting.

It wasn’t until the 73rd minute when Hereford secured their passage into the next round with a second goal.

Campbell caused problems inside the box and when Ludlow failed to clear their lines Groves fired home a second goal.

Ludlow’s best chance of the game came with seven minutes remaining when Derricott saw his ball to fellow central defender Ben Vine only for Sean Evans to intercept. The Colts forward ran through on goal but blazed his effort well wide.

The third goal came in injury time when a throw-in into the Ludlow box found its way to Jenkins to fire home a third goal.

Bulls defender Vine played his second game in two nights after also featuring and scoring for Westfields in their Wiseman Lighting Floodlit Cup game the previous night.

“It’s what you’ve got to do when you’re a young lad,” added Gowling.

“He was very good, with Mark (Derricott) next to him, they’ve got a good partnership going. He is strong in the air, reads the game well and is good with his feet as well. He had a really good performance again.

“If you look at Ben from where he was at the start of the season to where he is now, he’s improved drastically.”