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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor