The Hereford FC Women returned from their Christmas break with a 2-2 draw with Droitwich Spa Belles in the Midwest Counties Female Football League.
With the Worcestershire side’s higher graded first team without a game, they fielded several players that play regularly at the higher level and their performance belied their lowly position in the League.
Head Coach Ben Archer, promoted from the assistant role following Scott Russell’s promotion to First Team duties, had Kyle Eaton assisting and made changes to the starting line up by moving Lauren Brown out of goal and back to her full back role. Tasha Jones came in between the sticks, performing admirably throughout the match, while Frances Layton returned to the team after injury and Jess Kenny made her first start for a month after performing well as a sub in the last match.
The visitors made a strong start to the game, with one attack ruled out for offside before keeper Jones had to be quick to come out and block a shot. Top scorer Roxana Dinescu had chances carved out by Sinead Bushell and the industrious Megan Holman but put both efforts wide of the mark.
The visitors took the lead on 40 minutes when the referee made the first of two contentious penalty decisions. A dangled foot saw the forward stumble but retain possession, but the referee’s whistle came as the trigger was about to be pulled on a shot. Droitwich made no mistake from the spot to take the lead.
The Bulls were level within two minutes, a bouncing forward ball saw the defence hesitate to clear. Dinescu snuck in to take control and fire into the net to level the scores at half time.
The second half saw the visitors fade out of the game for spells, with Dinescu finding the side netting with an early chance before sprinting clear after breaking a high offside trap. The keeper did well to block the effort but the ball looped to Brown. Her header looked to be sailing into the net but the keeper took the power off it with fingertips and was able to grasp the ball on the line.
Brown, now deployed in a forward role to use her pace against a tiring defence, helped to set up chance for Holman but the effort bounced wide. Droitwich, playing on the break with their own pacy front line, retook the lead with ten minutes left with a clinical move.
With the game reaching its final minutes the referee waved away calls for a blatant penalty for the Bulls before, shortly afterwards, awarding a free kick some 30 yards out. To much jubilation, Brown fired the free kick into the net to level the scores at 2-2.