Tuesday 7th October 2003
Northern Premier League First Division
Leek Town: Hodgson, Woolliscroft, Hassall, Ridley, Johnson, Sicharenycz, Danylyk, MacPherson, Whittaker, Hadland, Thornhill. Subs: Tevendale, Martin, Swanick
Hyde United: John Baker, Anthony Kielthy, Ian Pendlebury (Tony Watts), Paul Jones, Craig Buckley, John O'Kane, John Gaynor, Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Anthony Wright, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Glyn Barker, Tony Ellis.
Again it was an inability to defend set pieces and no luck in front of goal which cost the Tigers dear at Harrison Park. For much of the game they were the best team. Phil Salt had a storming game in midfield, but the Tigers could not turn their superiority into goals when it mattered and looked so vunerable at the back, it was untrue.
The referee had an absolute nightmare from the fourth minute when he booked John O'Kane for an innocuous tackle. By the second half he had lost control completely. Fortunately the players behaved themselves, but he did Hyde no favours as first of all he failed to give a penalty when the impressive Anthony Wright was brought down and then later awarding Leek one when Anthony Kielthy took the ball. In between there were many long blasts on the whistle and an ability to keep changing his mind.
Following O'Kane's booking, the resultant free kick was swung in and Wayne Johnson scrambled home. However the Tigers were back in it only a minute later as Ian Pendlebury rounded off a sweet passing move by equalising. For the rest of the half, Hyde played some neat football, but again shot themselves in the foot as John Baker made a hash of a back pass and from the resultant corner ( referee has firstly given a goal kick and walked away), Dave Whittaker netted.
The second half was only a minute old when another corner allowed Whittaker his second. Even at this stage the Tigers were still in it and after the penalty that never was, Neil Tolson struck the bar. Down the other end Whittaker completed his hat-trick from the spot and the Tigers were reeling.
Wright pulled one back after good work from Tolson on the right and there was a glimmer of hope. Salt immediately hit a post, but that was it as Phil Hadland, recently signed back from Colchester, broke free and scored Leek's fifth to give the scoreline a flattering look for Leek.
Dave Swanick appeared for Leek with 15 minutes left, but even he could not help the Tigers on the night. Edgy goalkeeping and woeful defending will be a lasting memory as Hyde fell to their third defeat on the bounce.