HEREFORD youngsters delighted manager Josh Gowling as they beat the Ludlow Town Colts 3-0 in the Herefordshire County Cup.
A ninth-minute Jack Holmes opener was followed by second-half Under-18 strikers Isaac Groves and Charlie Jenkins.
Defender Mark Derricott and creative midfielder Holmes were the most experienced Bulls players on the team, which also included Judge Campbell, Harrison Summers and goaltender Seb Osment.
Six of the starters and all of the substitutes were part of the Under-18 community and were applauded by the Bulls manager.
“The young lads for me were absolutely outstanding, when the ball turned around they got the ball back and pressed well, the intensity was there for 90 minutes and it was good to get a convincing win,” Gowling said.
“When you look at how you want to play, in the first team they did that today, they pressed from the front, they harassed and they were constantly on the front foot.
“They also played with a real quality of possession, which caused real problems for Ludlow.
“It turned into a bit of a fight for a while and it was nice to see the young guys ready to fight, roll up their sleeves and put on tasty tackles. In the end, our quality was needed to finish the game.”
Hereford got off to a perfect start with Groves seeing his first header clear of the line before Holmes beat the defensive line to open the scoring in nine minutes.
Zac Johnston then hit the host post for Hereford before Holmes hit a free kick over the crossbar to the top side of the net.
It wasn’t until the 73rd minute that Hereford secured their passage to the next round with a second goal.
Campbell caused problems inside the box and when Ludlow failed to clear his lines, Groves scored a second goal.
Ludlow’s best chance of the game came seven minutes from time when Derricott saw his ball to fellow centre-back Ben Vine only for Sean Evans to intercept. The Colts forward ran on goal but deployed his effort wide.
The third goal came in added time when a throw-in into the box from Ludlow found its way to Jenkins to score a third goal.
The Bulls Vine defender played his second game in two nights after also playing and scoring for Westfields in their Wiseman Lighting Floodlit Cup game the night before.
“That’s what you have to do when you’re a young boy,” Gowling added.
“He was very good, with Mark (Derricott) next to him, they have a good partnership. He is strong in the air, reads the game well and is also good with his feet. He again performed very well.
“If you look at Ben from where he was at the start of the season to where he is now, he’s improved tremendously.”
. teens impress boss of Bulls during victory County Cup