Jimmy Armson gave Saints the advantage at St James Park where Hereford had a player dismissed at the end of each half. Top scorer Lee Ndlovu grabbed his seventh goal of the season just after the break and that was enough to seal all three points.
Saints threw away a two-goal advantage against leaders Chorley last weekend but that was never going to happen again. The Bulls had Eliot Richards sent off just before the interval and substitute Calvin Dinsley got a straight red card in stoppage-time.
Both sides had early chances. Martin Horsell just about kept out Ndlovu’s close range effort from Luke Fairlamb’s cross and Jennison Myrie-Williams headed straight at Danny Lewis from a Keiran Thomas cross.
Top scorer Harry White tested Lewis from long range but it was Saints who broke the deadlock in the 15th minute. Ndlovu won possession, advanced and released Armson who took one touch before firing into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Connor Hall’s first time effort drifted just wide of the target from Shane Byrne’s free-kick as Saints took a grip on the game. Fairlamb beat Thomas but his dipping 25-yarder just cleared the bar.
Horsell did well to keep out Hall’s far post header after Gareth Dean helped on Fairlamb’s inswinging corner and Matt Lowe fired into the side-netting from another flowing move. Jamie Bird tested Lewis from the edge of the box but Hereford struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Saints’ dominance should have been rewarded with a second goal but they did gain another advantage just before the break when Bulls were reduced to ten men. Richards got a straight red card for retaliation after he was fouled by Dean and a melee ensued.
After the restart, Ndlovu’s close range effort was crucially deflected over by Jordan Liburd. After keeping his side in the contest, the Hereford skipper then helped on Billy Murphy’s inswinging corner for Ryan Green who was unable to turn the ball in at the far post.
Ndlovu doubled Saints’ advantage in the 51st minute when he raced on to a long pass from Ellis Myles. Horsell rushed out of his area to close the striker down but Ndlovu got there first and curled the ball around the stranded keeper and just inside the near post.
Once that second goal went in there was no way back for Hereford. Despite a change of formation following Richards’ red card, Hereford failed to offer a serious threat despite an improved second half display.
It was a case of damage limitation with the hope of getting a goal but that always looked unlikely against a well-drilled Saints’ defence. White found little joy against Dean and Hall and the former Barnsley striker had little support in the final third.
Saints had the three points in the bag long before the end and the latter stages of the second half offered little in the way of an even contest. Dinsley got a straight red card in stoppage-time for an altercation with Myles to complete a miserable day for the Bulls