JACK HAZELHURST’S 16th minute strike proved decisive as Hereford fell to defeat at home to Chorley.

The visitors took an early lead when Hazelhurst steamed into the box to finish James Wilson’s knockdown, and despite a spirited fightback from the Bulls, they held on for all three points.

With both sides looking to cement their place in the play-off positions, it was Hereford’s Lewis Hudson who had the first effort on target with Max Dearnley saving down low.

Chorley were ahead a minute later after Justin Donawa’s long throw was headed down into the path of Hazelhurst who finished from six yards out to give his side the lead.

The Bulls responded in the 23rd minute when Jason Cowley’s effort from a corner deflected into the path of Paul Downing eight yards out, but he was unable to keep his shot down.

The visitors were close to doubling their lead when Hazelhurst's corner was met by Mike Calveley at the back post but he was only able to send his free header over the crossbar.

Hereford continued to search for an equaliser in the second half with Yusifu Ceesay coming closest on the hour mark, his shot from the edge of the box whistling inches wide of the post.

The Magpies were on the attack a few minutes later when Frankie Maguire’s whipped free-kick from 25 yards out flew just over the bar before landing on the roof of the net.

A miss-kick from Curtis Pond in the 65th minute presented the ball to Chorley with Justin Johnson playing Hazelhurst through on goal before the Hereford goalkeeper made amends by producing a fine save.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Ceesay broke down the left wing and pulled the ball back for Cowley but the Bulls marksman was unable to hit the target with his sliced effort.

Cowley was brought down on the edge of the area in the 92nd minute which allowed Alex Babos to step up and take a free-kick but his resulting effort was comfortably saved by Chorley goalkeeper Dearnley.

A final chance fell the way of Cowley in the last minute of stoppage time when Aaron Skinner’s ball into the box dropped at his feet but his blazed effort was unable to test Dearnley.

Hereford: Pond, Skinner, Hudson (Teixeira 64), Downing, Ceesay, Babos, Cowley, Williams (Phillips 77), Okeke, Southern (Rooney 87), Cameron

Unused subs: Sterry, Walby