ETHAN Freemantle’s second half strike sent Edgar Street into raptures as Hereford progressed through into the FA Cup first round with a slender victory against National League side Rochdale.

The Dale controlled possession but could not find an opening and with time running out, Alex Babos pounced in midfield and fed Freemantle who finished to send Hereford through.

Rochdale thought they had taken the lead after 15 minutes when Ian Henderson headed in from Cian Hayes’s cross but the goal was ruled out for offside.

The away side continued to probe with Harvey Gilmour pulling the ball back for Ryan East on the edge of the box in the 19th minute, but Curtis Pond was on hand to save down low.

Jimmy Keohane came close for the visitors a minute later when Tyrese Sinclair found the left-back inside the box, whose curling effort was just over the crossbar.

An opportunity for Hereford came in the 26th minute when the ball dropped invitingly for Adam Rooney on the edge of the box, but goalkeeper Louie Moulden was on-hand to tip over the striker’s half-volley.

At the opposite end Hayes was found inside the box as the first half drew to a close, jinking past Yusifu Cesesay and Adam Lvingstone before firing a shot off, but his effort was comfortably saved by Pond.

Hereford began the second half strongly and a curling Babos effort from the edge of the box forced Rochdale goalkeeper Moulden into another fine fingertip save.

A slick Rochdale move opened Hereford up in the 66th minute with Hayes being found 12 yards out from goal but the winger's effort was saved by the trailing legs of Pond.

The Hereford goalkeeper was on hand to keep the scores level again in the 73rd minute, tipping over Paul Gilmour’s free-kick which looked destined for the top right hand corner of the goal.

With the clock ticking down, Babos picked Adam Clayton’s pocket in the 78th minute before sliding in Freemantle who finished coolly between the legs of Moulden to send the Bulls through.

Hereford: Pond, Skinner, Livingstone, Teixeira, Downing, Ceesay, Babos, Tolley (Stanley 65), Rooney (Arthur 75), Freemantle (Cranston 86), Howkins.

Unused Subs: Sterry, Southern, Cameron