HEREFORD gave as good as they got in an entertaining, if goalless encounter with some of Premier League Everton’s young players.

There were chances at both ends but the Bulls will be pleased to have kept a clean sheet against some lively attacking play.

Hereford were able to select from an almost full squad when they entertained some of the Toffees’ promising youngsters.

The only absentee was goalkeeper James Bittner, who continued to be sidelined with a back problem allowing Dan Hanford another chance to impress between the sticks.

Everton included the promising Ross Barkley, who started last season in the Toffees’ first-team squad.

Hereford enjoyed some early possession but the first shot came from Everton’s Francisco Junior who lifted an effort over from 30 yards.

Despite some animated approach play, chances at either end were non-existent until the 14th minute when Sean Canham’s header looped wide.

Then a shot from Barkley took a deflection before Hanford fielded the ball.

And a neat turn and shot from Conor McAleny from a Tylas Browning cross sent the ball inches wide of the Hereford goal.

As Everton began to pick up the pace, another deflected Barkley effort brought the first corner of the game.

Anton Forrester went to the floor in the area as Everton tried to capitalise on the flag-kick but referee Kevin Morris was unimpressed.

On 23 minutes, a clumsy challenge by Michael Townsend on McAleny brought a shooting chance but Luke Garbutt’s effort went straight into the wall.

After a spell of Hereford pressure, Forrester tested Hanford with a 32nd minute drive which the keeper held confidently.

Another dipping effort from the midfielder caused Hanford a little more difficulty but, again, the keeper dealt with the shot at the second attempt.

Hereford’s Marley Watkins forced the Bulls’ corner five minutes before the break and Michael Townsend almost bundled home Luke Graham’s cross-goal header from Simon Clist’s flag-kick.

Then a pacy run by Marlon Jackson ended with a low shot saved by Jan Mucha in the Everton goal.

With United making a concerted effort to find a breakthrough before the break, Harry Pell had a powerful effort charged down.

Sam Clucas replaced Joe Heath at the interval with Carruthers moving to left-back, while Ryan Bowman replaced Canham in attack.

But it was the visitors who had the first effort of the second period with John Lundstram’s effort turned aside by Hanford.

Jackson, at the other end, held off the challenge of Johan Hammar only to shoot over.

Then Bowman made an excellent run but elected to shoot when a pass to Jackson might have produced a better result.

And, with Hereford attacking promisingly, Clucas side-footed a shot out of the ground from edge of the area.

As the Bulls continued in the ascendant, Jackson forced a flying catch from Mucha with a curling effort after racing clear.

But Hereford had to make another re-shuffle midway through the half when Bowman had to leave the field with what appeared to be an injury to his jaw.

The re-vamped lost its co-ordination somewhat and a foul by Will Evans on the edge of the area gave Barkley a further shooting opportunity.

But again the effort was wasted as the midfielder struck his shot into the wall.

As the clock ran down, Lundstram flashed a 20-yard drive inches over Hanford’s bar.

And James McQuilkin curled an effort just over for the Bulls.

With five minutes remaining, Hanford had to dive to push away a 20-yard drive from the industrious Barkley.

But Hereford ended the game with a rash of attacks with Clist slicing a potentially decisive shot well wide after a neat exchange of passes. Hereford: Hanford; Gallinagh, Townsend (Stam 65), Graham, Heath (Clucas 46); Watkins (McQuilkin 74), Pell, Clist, Carruthers (Dalibard 57); Jackson, Canham (Bowman 46 (Evans 65)). Subs: Feeley, Connor.

Everton: Mucha, Browning, Garbutt, Junior, Hammar, Bidwell, Forrester (Long 71), Barkley, McAleny, Hope (Grant 77), Lundstram. Subs: Taudul, Touray, Green.

Referee: Kevin Morris (Hereford).

Attendance: 1,100 (including 197 from Everton).