Friday 26th December 2008
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Neil Fitzhenry, Adam Oakes, Chris Brass, Farrell Kilbane, Chris Lynch (Tom Manship), Daniel Douglas-Pringle, Lee Rick, Karl Lomax (Chris Simm), Karl Munroe, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Mark Innes, Paul Howarth, Elliot Bernstein.
Stalybridge Celtic: Phillips, Wooliscroft, Meynell, Battersby, Barwick, Keeling, Torpey, Briggs, Barlow, Ellington, Smart. Subs: Wilkinson, Evans, Platt, Joynes, Williams.
In a typical all action derby, two goals in four minutes just after the break clinched the points for Stalybridge in their Boxing Day encounter at Ewen Fields. Man of the match, Matty Barlow grabbed the first on 54 minutes after Craig Dootson failed to hold Lee Ellington’s deflected shot and minutes later Barrie Keeling made it two when he found himself unmarked in the area after a free-kick.
In brilliant sunshine and a perfect pitch, the Tigers just about shaded the first period but could not turn their territorial advantage into goals and never really tested Paul Phillips in the Stalybridge goal as they were restricted to long range efforts, although the pace of Nicky Clee and Daniel Douglas-Pringle caused problems throughout.
After the break, the visitors stepped up the pace and once in front never really looked like surrendering their lead despite increasing pressure from Hyde and the introduction of Chris Simm. The Conference North leading scorer was still suffering from the effects of ‘flu and was unable to start and although he injected some impetus into the Hyde attack, it was Stalybridge were always dangerous on the break and were quick to get men forward when they had possession.
Andy Smart had a screamer just wide before Keith Briggs could have added another only to be thwarted by an excellent save from Dootson. The impressive Lee Ellington missed a sitter when clean through near the end, but it mattered not as the visitors had already sealed an important victory.
No win for Hyde in the last ten games is a major concern for manager, Neil Tolson, as the alarm bells begin to ring, whilst in this form, Stalybridge are once again serious play-off contenders and go into Thursday’s return match brimming with confidence