Sunday 4th November 2007
Nuneaton Borough: Acton, Travis, Franklin, Curtis, Moore, Cowan, Collins, Pritchard, Brown, Stepien, McIlwain. Subs: Quailey, Palmer, Williams, Muggleton, Burgess.
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Chris Brass, Chris Lynch (Tom Cowan), Earl Davis, Peter Band, Mark Innes, Dale Johnson, Steve Pickford, Chris Simm (Nathan Wharton), Gareth Seddon, Nicky Clee (David Morley). Subs not used: Lee Cartwright, Craig Robinson.
The Tigers visited the new Liberty Way Stadium on Sunday, but failed to keep their momentum going after an impressive start and ultimately produced one of their worst performances of the season to come away with nothing. Only a string of fine saves from Craig Dootson in the closing stages stopped a more emphatic defeat.
The new ground had a somewhat surreal look. The pitch was massive with a combination of rugby and football markings, whilst the ‘main stand’ was a scaffolding pole structure with a plastic roof. Most of the buildings were of a prefab nature and left fans questioning whether the ‘old’ ground was actually better.
Hyde had Chris Simm replacing the suspended Matthew Tipton with Lee Cartwright returning to the bench. After just three minutes a screamer from Steve Pickford struck Simm and went inches wide. The Tigers then had a penalty claim for handball and minutes later another stronger appeal when a defender clearly handled. The Referee, well positioned, said he hadn’t seen it. It was the first of a number of errors from Mr. Martin who seemed intent on trying to impress the watching Assessors rather than actually refereeing the game.
After twenty five minutes, Tom Cowan replaced Chris Lynch, who sustained an arm injury and by now the Tigers had lost much of their early impetus and were never to recover it.
For once the midfielders never took control meaning no quality service to the forwards, whilst at the back, the defence had an off day apart from the impressive Dootson. Nuneaton were big and strong and on the day and Hyde struggled to cope.
The only goal came on 50 minutes when Neil Moore, completely unmarked, headed home a corner. Ten minutes later, the home side had the ball in the net again, but the referee this time had seen an infringement.
The Tigers never really looked like producing an equaliser and it was down to Dootson to keep them in the game with a number of excellent saves in the final quarter. A bad day at the office for the Tigers, but a win against Southport on Saturday would make it a distant memory.