Tuesday 14th October 2003
Northern Premier League First Division
Bamber Bridge: Bennett, McCann, Leaver, Milligan, Squires, Shepherd, Skeoch, Butler, Wane, Honor, King. Subs: Halliwell, Steel, Fogarty
Hyde United: John Baker, Steven Clegg, Ian Pendlebury, Paul Jones, Craig Buckley, John O'Kane, John Gaynor (Nicky Hill), Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Anthony Wright, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Anthony Kielthy, Tony Ellis.
The Tigers continued their fine run in the league, making it six wins out of the last seven as they comprehensively beat Bamber Bridge at Irongate, despite the closeness of the scoreline. Only a combination of fine saves from former Tiger, Graham Bennett, and a series of missed chances prevented a rout.
Hyde certainly turned on the style, and were well in control for most of the game. Phil Salt was tremendous in midfield and inspired all around him. Up front the three forwards worked tirelessly and with more precision in front of goal could have had a bagful.
Bamber got a goal start as Stuart Honor was allowed to turn in the box after only four minutes to slot home. The Tigers immediately fought back and Bennett saved brilliantly from Neil Tolson. It was Tolson again on 28 minutes, who turned superbly in the box, and was brought down by last man, Dave Leaver. A red card for him, whilst Tolson hammered home the spot-kick off the underside of the bar. Seven minutes later and the Tigers were in front. Craig Buckley drifted one towards the top corner and Matty McNeil scored with the deftest of touches.
In the second half, Hyde were on the rampage despite losing John Gaynor with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by debutant Nick Hill from Leigh. A quick reshuffle at the back with John O'Kane moving into midfield. It was he and Salt who dictated matters from then on, spreading play superbly and making the extra man count. He firstly put Anthony Wright through, but his shot whistled inches wide. Chances came and went until the 82nd minute when O'Kane set up Buckley, who made no mistake. Buckley then hit the post with a screamer and it was champagne stuff from the Tigers.
Mark Wane pulled one back in the last minute after Jimmy King had hit the post to give Hyde a tense couple of minutes, but make no mistake, Hyde fully deserved this victory and now look strong championship contenders.