Hereford produced a smash and grab raid to send 10-man Fleet tumbling out of the FA Trophy – after skipper Paul Lorraine had received his second-half marching orders.
Liam Daish kept faith with his back four, meaning Phil Walsh restricted the returning Patrick Ada to a place on the bench, while up front Liam Enver-Marum replaced the departed Louie Soares and Matt Godden came in for the injured Nathan Elder.
Both sides had chances to open the scoring in the opening few minutes, Enver-Marum’s shot just off target while at the other end, Hereford had a golden opportunity when Sam Clucas floated a ball into the Fleet box and Brian Smikle wrong-footed Preston Edwards but saw his volley just climb the wrong side of the crossbar with the goal gaping.
But that was as near as Hereford came for the next hour as Fleet took the game to them, Ashley Carew and Neil Barrett getting the best from midfield and using Lanre Azeez as an increasingly creative outlet. Twice Azeez’s movement outfoxed his marker but his balls into the box were just a little too short of the danger area.
Fleet played it well along the ground and Azeez exchanged deft passes with Barrett as he bamboozled the Hereford defence, while Carew’s disguised pass into the path of Joe Howe almost opened another avenue but the Fleet full-back’s low ball in was gathered at the second attempt by Bittner.
And the home side had the ball in the net when Fleet cleared a Hereford attack, Azeez raced away down the middle and laid a good pass into Enver-Marum who finished sweetly, low past Bittner, but the offside flag was raised.