Leyton Orient 2 Hereford United 1

DESPITE taking an early lead through Dean Beckwith on their League 1 debut, Hereford tasted an opening day defeat for the first time in 10 seasons.

Hereford boss Graham Turner sprang a surprise with his line-up for the Bulls’ first match in the third tier of English football for 31 years.

The Bulls chief opted for a 4-5-1 formation with on-loan Moses Ashikodi the lone striker on his Hereford debut.

Skipper Ben Smith was handed the ‘in-the-hole’ spot with Toumani Diagouraga and Kris Taylor lending midfield support.

Matt Done and Sam Oji, a former Orient player, were also given Hereford debuts, as was goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Former Bulls skipper Tamika Mkandawire was named in the Orient line-up.

With just two minutes played, Randolph was in the action, dealing competently with a long-range effort from Stephen Purches.

Hereford were quickly on the attack with Ashikodi first to a Richard Rose cross which he volleyed a couple of yards wide and then Taylor seeing a 30-yard drive well saved.

Taylor was in defensive mode moments later, combining well with Diagouraga to block Jason Demetriou’s shot after the Hereford defence was opened up.

Hereford showed their attacking capabilities after 12 minutes when Diagouraga sent Rose away on the right to deliver a cross which Mkandawire put behind for a corner.

Simon Johnson’s flag-kick found Beckwith in plenty of space and his deflected header found its way into the back of the net.

Eight minutes later, however, the home side were back on level terms when JJ Melligan’s cross was missed by everyone and dribbled through Randolph’s legs and into the back of the net.

With Orient seeking to build on their goal, Adam Boyd rifled a shot just wide before the ball bounced kindly for Demetriou following a melee only for the winger to blaze over.

Then, a fine challenge by Smith denied Demetriou with a clear goalscoring opportunity beckoning.

But, on the stroke of half-time, Oji was judged to have handled the ball as Mkandawire challenged for a free-kick from Melligan and Adam Boyd scored from the spot.

Within seconds of the start of the second period, Randolph was out well to gather a Melligan cross bravely at the feet of two Orient forwards.

Although Orient continued to have the better of play, Hereford had their moments with Ashikodi, Smith and Taylor all getting into shooting positions without being able to deliver the equaliser.

As the minutes slipped away, United introduced Bradley Hudson-Odoi and Steve Guinan in place of Ashikodi and Smith.

But it was Orient who came closest to scoring again when Wayne Gray’s shot came back off a post in the 88th minute.

Hereford: Randolph; Rose, Beckwith, Oji, Threlfall; Johnson, Diagouraga, Smith (Guinan, 81 min), Taylor, Done; Ashikodi (Hudson-Odoi, 70 min). Subs not used: Samson, Easton, MacLeod.

Orient: Morris; Purches, Mkandawire, Saah, Granville; Melligan, Chambers, Terry (Thornton, 79 min), Demetriou; Boyd (Pires, 88 min), Jarvis (Gray, 70 min). Subs not used: Jones, Palmer.

Referee: Andy Penn (West Midlands).

Attendance: 4,727 (805 from Hereford) Goals: Beckwith, 14 min, 0-1; Melligan, 22 min, 1-1; Boyd (pen), 45 min, 2-1.