KIERAN PHILLIPS’ strike earned Hereford a crucial away win at Southport in their hunt for a play-off place.

Paul Downing opened the scoring in contentious circumstances before Phillips doubled the visitor’s lead in the 90th minute, and despite Marcus Carver’s stoppage time goal, the Bulls held on for a sixth away win of the season.

Southport started brightly with Curtis Pond being called into action after 21 minutes to match Danny Lloyd’s effort from close range.

Andy Williams then latched onto a long ball over the top just past the half hour mark but couldn't fire his shot past Chris Renshaw who saved with his feet.

A ball into the host’s box three minutes before the break eventually found its way to Jason Cowley whose header from six yards out forced Renshaw into producing a fine reaction save.

A minute later, however, Hereford were ahead when a long ball into the box from Downing bounced in front of Renshaw who was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.

The Sandgrounders were reduced to ten men on the hour mark when Lloyd was involved in an-off the-ball incident with Kyle Howkins, leaving the hosts with an uphill battle.

A fine effort from Williams in the 78th minute saw the striker attempt a half-volley, looping effort from 35 yards out that was tipped over the bar in the nick of time by Renshaw.

The Bulls were close to doubling their lead when Alex Babos’ shot was palmed into the path of Phillips by Renshaw but the substitute could only fire his shot against the goalkeeper.

Phillips made amends in the final minute of normal time when he was found inside the box by Babos before cutting inside and finishing calmly into the back of the net.

Carver pulled a goal back in the second minute of stoppage time when Pond was unable to hold Festus Arthur’s strike but it proved to be a consolation as Hereford held on.

Hereford: Pond, Skinner (Southern 90+1), Hudson, Teixeira, Lyden, Downing, Babos, Cowley (Phillips 79), Williams (Rooney 79), Cameron, Howkins