Saturday 25th August 2007
Blyth Spartans: Bartlett, Christensen, Leeson, Coulthard, Forster, Snowdon, McCabe, Williams, Dale, Maidens, Hodgson. Subs: Bell, Graham, Hedley, Thompson, Fenton.
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Chris Brass, Tom Cowan (Chris Lynch), Earl Davis, Peter Band, Nathan Wharton, Lee Cartwright, Scott Warner, Chris Simm (Liam George), Dale Johnson, Nicky Clee (Mark Innes). Subs not used: Gerry Harrison, Danny Caldecott.
The Tigers made the long journey up to the North East with a weakened team but still produced an excellent performance and fully deserved the points. Gareth Seddon and Matthew Tipton were out suspended, whilst Paul Gedman and Steve Pickford were injured.
On a bright and breezy day in Northumberland, Craig Dootson was called into action in the first minute when he saved superbly from Michael Maidens. It was the first of a number of great saves as Blyth were always a danger, especially when the impressive Robert Dale had the ball.
Hyde took the lead on 17 minutes when Dale Johnson set up Chris Simm with an easy chance to score. The Tigers increased their lead on 35 minutes when Peter Band headed home a Nathan Wharton corner. It was a fine way to celebrate his 200th appearance for Hyde as he was commanding throughout. In keeping with tradition he also suffered a gashed head but refused to leave the field in the later stages, but nothing was going to stop him celebrating a fine personal and team performance.
In the second period, Hyde defended deeply, but still produced a number of chances which should have been put away. Dale was still causing problems at the other end, but the Hyde defence stood firm.
Former Port Vale midfielder, Mark Innes was introduced for the last five minutes and he immediately showed his class by setting up Nicky Clee. When the absentees return over the coming weeks, Hyde will have a formidable squad in their pursuit of promotion. They will need plenty more performances like this.