Saturday 20th August 2005
Hyde United: Mark Westhead, Chris Lynch (Paul Armstrong), Simon Garner, Paul Jones, Jamie Milligan, John O'Kane, Gerry Harrison, Steve Brackenridge, Craig Dudley, Dale Johnson (David Moore), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Wayne Dean, Phil Salt, Lincoln Adams.
Stafford Rangers: Anyon, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Downes, Street, Thompson, Grayson, Gibson. Subs: Powell, Dodd, Murray, Walker, Smith
Report by Tony Beard:
The injury ravaged Tigers again found the going tough in Conference North against a strong well-disciplined Stafford Rangers side who had yet to concede a goal when they arrived at Ewen Fields. Hyde still managed to play some pretty football through Jamie Milligan, but were outfought where it mattered by the more physical visitors. Hyde also learnt you cannot afford to give away free kicks at this level close to goal.
Craig Dudley made his debut, but Nicky Hill and Phil Salt failed fitness tests to add to the long list of missing players.
In an exciting first ten minutes John O'Kane headed against the bar for Hyde whilst Kevin Street stuck a post for the visitors. As the game settled down the impressive Peter Thompson had a couple of chances for Stafford and was a continual threat to the Tigers back line with his physical presence and good control. However it was Hyde who took the lead when good play from Dale Johnson set up Steve Brackenridge, who made no mistake. Overall Dale had another disappointing afternoon struggling against tough defenders and not able to support the impressive Matty McNeil in the areas where you can hurt the opposition. Hyde's joy was short-lived as Thompson headed home a free-kick seconds before the interval.
The second half belonged to Stafford. They had a goal disallowed on 54 minutes, but from another free-kick six minutes later, Wayne Daniel headed them in front. They never looked like they would relinquish the lead and after good work from man of the match Neil Grayson, Street added another. Thompson was only foiled by a superb save from Mark Westhead as Hyde had little left in the tank.Milligan was nearest with one of his own free-kicks.
On the day, the Tigers had been well beaten and although in his programme notes, Steve Waywell said it would take 5 or 6 games to get into the pace of the league, he will have to address the make up of his predominately diminutive side, who apart from McNeil and Paul Jones lost every header in key areas.