The Brewers battled to a hard earned point at Edgar Street where both sides finished the game with ten men. A goalless stalemate was probably more appreciated by the Brewers looking to improve on their poor away record btut they must be wondering how they did not leave with all three points after Calvin Zola spurned several headed chances to snatch all three points in the second half. It looked like being an uphill task when Russ Penn was dismissed for a second yellow card half way through the first period but the Bulls were also reduced to ten when skipper Janos Kovacs was also dismissed early in the second half for his second bookable indiscretion.
The big question for Brewers boss Paul Peschisolido was wondering which Burton Albion would turn up for the match at Edgar Street. After the euphoria of completing a hat-trick of victories over leaders Chesterfield last Friday the Brewers turned in one of their most disappointing performances of the campaign in the away match at Torquay United on Tuesday evening.
Perhaps surprisingly the Albion manager decided to go with an unchanged side for the game against Hereford. Tony James held on to the centre half spot alongside Nathan Stanton for the third game in a row with Brewers fans hoping to see him emulate last season's stunning stoppage time winner against his home town club.
The Brewers had an early chance to get over their Torquay hangover when Adam Bolder was bundled over just outside the penalty area in the second minute. Aaron Webster stepped up to hit a left foot curler but Adam BArtlett in the Hereford goal was able to push the ball away to safety. Webster was given a similar opportunity two minutes later when Russell Penn was felled in almost exactly the same spot. This time the long serving Albion man aimed high for the top corner was was off target failing to trouble the keeper.
Burton worked another good opportunity for themselves before ten minutes were on the clock but this time from open play. Webster linked up well with Adam Bolder down Albion's right flank and when the former Millwall man swung in a cross into the six yard box, Bartlett had to be quick off the mark to get to the ball before Calvin Zola could pounce.
Russell Penn became the first man to find himself in referee Mark Brown's notebook after a clumsy challenge on Bulls defender Richard Rose. Nathan Stanton also picked up a yellow card for a blatant block on Stuart Fleetwood as Hereford looked to put some pressure on the Brewers defence.
It marked the start of Hereford's first real sustained bout of pressure. Adam Legzdins had to rush from his goal to clear at the feet of Fleetwood and penned into their own penalty the Albion stopper had to get everything he could behind a rasping shot from Joe Heath as the home side finally woke up.
Albion's cause wan not helping in the 24th minute when Russ Penn threw himself into a challenge on the half way line which was again poorly timed and the Brewers were left to play the remainder of the game with ten men as Mark Brown was given little choice but to show him a second yellow card.
Just before the half hour mark Paul Peschisolido made his first change with Scott Malone coming on for Aaron Webster and the Wolves was immediately involved as Albion tried to press on a man down. Jacques Maghoma won a corner on the right and Malone rose highest to head back across goal for Corbett to see his header picked up by Bartlett and then from a John McGrath free kick he found room for a cross that was headed just wide by Bolder.
For all of Albion's promising approach play they could have found themselves behind in the 40th minute. Waide Fairhurst, on loan from Doncaster Rovers, managed to find room on the edge of the box for a shot and although his effort beat Legzdins there was relief in the Albion ranks as the ball smacked against the crossbar. The danger was not over and Paul Boertien and Tony James both had to get in vital blocks to keep the game scoreless.
Another Bolder cross towards Zola created danger in the Hereford box at the close of the half but ther ball seemed to hit a defender before landing safely in Bartlett's hands.
Half time: Hereford United 0-0 Burton Albion
Nine minutes into the second half and it was the Bulls turn to be reduced to ten men. Skipper Janos Kovacs had already been booked for a blatant block on Maghoma before the break and when Zola turned him on the edge of the box, latching onto Scott Malone's pass, referee Brown again had a simple decision to make.
Hereford responded to what they saw as a harsh decision and Fleetwood was only denied a run at goal by an excellent challenge from Boertien and Fairhurst was denied by Legzdins as he latched onto a forward ball from Kenny Lunt.
Zola wasted a glorious chance to open his league account for the Brewers on the hour mark. Maghoma cut inside and lobbed the ball into the area. With Hereford looking for an offside flag that didnt come the striker brought the ball down but as Bartlett rushed out he lashed his shot well over the crossbar.
Legzdins was called on again to deny Rose with a good save from a Bulls corner and as the play swept to the other end, Bolder was agonisingly close to his first Albion run with a driving run and shot from the edge of the area.
Fleetwood scooped a shot well over and Kenny Lunt with a speculative effort that dropped over the crossbar kept Hereford pressing forward as both sides felt that three points were still there for the taking.
Albion threw on Lewis Young in place of Maghoma to inject some fresh legs into the game and the hosts brought on Nicky Featherstone in place of the impressive Harry Pell but it was Young who had the first chance to make an impact with a run down the right and cross into ther box that Zola could only head wide of the target.
The tall striker went even closer in the 75th minute. Andy Corbett intercepted a loose pass from substitute Michael Townsend and burst forward and when he crossed into the middle, Zola exploited the space where Townsend should have been and glanced his header wide of the target.
Amazingly it was possible for the Congolese front man to go even closer without scoring. Young and Bolder combined down the right and an almost identical header this time hit the post before being cleared away by the creaking Hereford defence.
Burton's final roll of the dice was to bring on Greg Pearson in place of the tiring Zola with seven minutes to play.
Hereford substitute James McQuilkin tried his luck to try and break the deadlock in the 85th minute but Legzdins was able to watch the ball go wide of his post in reative comfort.
As stoppage time arrived Albion broke forward again and the three substitutes, Pearson, Young and Malone all combined to give the latter the chance to curl a shot straight at a grateful Bartlett.
HEREFORD: Bartlett, Green, Kovacs, Rose, Fleetwood (McQuilkin, 77), Fairhurst, Lunt, Colbeck (Townsend, 56), Pell (Featherstone, 68), Purdie, Heath. Substitutes: Stratford, McQuilkin, Featherstone, Jervis, Heister, Ngo Baheng.
ALBION: Legzdins; Corbett, James, Stanton, Boertien; Bolder, McGrath; Penn, Webster (Malone, 29), Maghoma (Young, 67); Zola (Pearson, 83). Substitutes: Poole, Moore, Phillips, Winnall.
Referee: Mr. M.Brown (E.Yorkshire)
Sending off: Hereford - Kovacs (2nd yellow card), Albion - Penn (2nd yellow card)
Attendance: 2,773 (308 away)