Saturday 5th January 2008
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Chris Brass, Steve Pickford, David Morley, Craig Robinson, Mark Innes (Chris Simm), Nathan Wharton (Dale Johnson), Steve Bushell, Matthew Tipton, Gareth Seddon, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Peter Band, Chris Lynch, Lee Cartwright.
Blyth Spartans: Bartlett, Christensen, Hedley, Snowdon, Forster, Williams, Webster, McCabe, Bell, Dale, Houlahan. Subs: Logan for Bell, Johnson for Snowdon, Fenton for Houlahan.
After just one point from four games, Hyde’s championship challenge has evaporated and their play-off place in now under threat after another desperate performance at Ewen Fields.
True, the Tigers dominated much of this game, but could not turn their supremacy into goals, missing a bagful of chances, whilst at the other end they were found wanting in defence. By the close, Blyth were worthy winners converting four of their five real chances into goals, whilst at the same time defending resolutely.
After a very one-sided first half, the visitors amazingly went into the break two goals to the good thanks to a fair measure of good fortune and the brilliance of goalkeeper, Adam Bartlett. Time and time again Hyde were thwarted by a succession of excellent saves and when he was beaten, Blyth defenders were on hand to clear off the line. Matthew Tipton and Gareth Seddon both had three chances to score, whilst Seddon also struck the bar with a free-kick.
Chris Mc Cabe put the visitors ahead on 33 minutes in a their first attack and then Martin Houlahan grabbed an unlikely second minutes before half time to stun the home side.
Hyde were on top from the outset in the second period and pulled a goal back after 10 minutes when a brilliant run from Nicky Clee set up an easy chance for Tipton. Hyde were now well on top, but as they pushed forward, there were gaps at the back and they were twice punished by Phillip Bell on the break on 68 and 78 minutes to give the visitors an unlikely three goal cushion as they grew in confidence.
As the Hyde defence went to pieces there could have been punished more before Seddon grabbed a late consolation, but it was too little too late for the home side who have seen their title ambitions disappear by conceding twelve goals in their last four games, three of which have been at home.
Individually Hyde had the better players but the visitors played as a more cohesive unit playing for each other and Steve Waywell now has plenty to do to get his team back on track.