Hereford United 1 Cardiff City 2: Hereford's onslaught fails against mighty Oakes

So long as there are games like this, and clubs like Hereford United, rumours of the FA Cup's demise will remain gloriously exaggerated. True, Championship side Cardiff's victory over League Two rivals could hardly be called a cup upset, but the narrowness of its margin, together with the spirit in which yesterday's match was conducted, was a credit to the world's greatest club competition.

A brace of goals either side of half-time were enough to see the Welsh side advance to the last 16 for the first time in over a decade. But before the final whistle blew at Hereford's rickety, rackety ground, the sell-out crowd was treated to a 20-minute barrage of attacking football which came within inches of opening another chapter in the home side's famous history of giant-killings.

For Cardiff's manager, Dave Jones, the reward for survival is a nervous wait for today's potentially money-spinning fifth-round draw. His slim-line squad recently suffered the enforced sale of star defender Chris Gunter to Tottenham, and during yesterday's game looked short on the composure needed to properly challenge for a promotion to the Premier League.

On a blustery afternoon, which contributed to occasionally unsubtle footballing fare, Cardiff dominated possession, and displayed sharper skill-levels than their lower-league rivals – yet they were unable to put the game beyond doubt.

Only a frantic display late on by the visitors' goalkeeper Michael Oakes prevented them from throwing away a victory that ought to have been in the bag from the moment they had gone two-nil up in the 64th minute.

The visiting side's first goal had come in the dying seconds of first-half injury time, when defender Kevin McNaughton, a Scottish international, struck a sweet, right-footed volley from 25 yards out after the Hereford defence had failed to clear one of the Cardiff left-back Tony Capaldi's trademark long throw-ins, which had been a threat all afternoon.

Fifteen minutes later, McNaughton, who had never before scored for Cardiff, was again the creator after being crudely bundled over by the Hereford substitute Clint Easton during a seemingly unthreatening foray into the opposition's penalty area. From the penalty spot, Steve Thompson sent the Hereford goalkeeper Wayne Brown the wrong way.

That should have been the end of it. But the home side were handed a lifeline in the 74th minute when their talented striker Theo Robinson – on loan from Watford– latched on to a long ball, and got the better of both opposition centre-backs before whipping home a low shot from the edge of the Cardiff area.

In a frantic final period, Hereford twice went close from a corner, before forcing a series of fine saves by Oakes – notably from Toumani Diagouraga and Simon Johnson – in the dying minutes of injury time.

Cardiff, the only non-English side to have won this competition (albeit in 1927) greeted the whistle with relief. For Hereford, whose own most famous cup exploit (the 1972 defeat of Newcastle United) is now a generation ago, it came as an unwelcome reminder that FA Cup upsets do not come along every day.

Goals: McNaughton (45) 0-1; Thompson (64) 0-2; Robinson (74) 1-2.

Hereford United (4-4-2): Brown; McClenahan, Rose, Collins, Beckwith; Taylor (Easton, 63), Johnson, Smith, Diagouraga; Benjamin (Gwynne, 68), Robinson. Substitutes not used: Ingham (gk), McCombe, Palmer.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Oakes; McNaughton, Capaldi, Johnson, Loovens; Ledley, Whittingham, McPhail, Rae; Thompson (Hasselbaink, 85), Parry. Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Purse, Ramsey, Blake.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Booked: Hereford Robinson; Cardiff Parry.

Man of the match: McNaughton.

Attendance: 6,855.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'