Saturday 6th December 2003
Northern Premier League First Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, Ian Pendlebury, Paul Jones, Kieran Delaney, John Gaynor, Nicky Hill, Phil Salt, Jamie Milligan, Anthony Wright (Tony Ellis), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Mike Meszaros, Neil Tolson.
Rossendale United: Andrews, Houldsworth, Perkins, Gamble, Woods, Challender, Clarke, Brooks, Burton, Wilson, Norton. Subs: Cunningham, Cryer, Bird.
This was another good workmanlike performance from the Tigers. Craig Buckley and John O'Kane were still missing and Neil Tolson was only fit enough for the bench. Jamie Milligan made his debut and crowned it with a superb goal.
Before the game, Tony Ellis was presented with the °Team of the Month award ± and for the first half, it looked like it was going to have its usual curse as Hyde struggling to find their rhythm. Chances were few and far between with Anthony Wright probably have the best one as he burst clear. Rossendale were well disciplined and got men behind the ball whenever they could. They did get the ball in the net, but the ref had already blown for an infringement.
Wright had another chance immediately after the restart, but former Tiger Greg Challender got in the way. It was Milligan, however, who put the Tigers ahead on 59 minutes. Matty McNeil, who was superb again, was fouled for the umpteenth time about 25 yards from goal. Up strode Milligan and put it in the top corner with a dipping shot. Beckham would have been proud of it.
Four minutes later Ian Pendlebury cleared off the line and that was really the last threat from the visitors. The Tigers now started to play with more confidence and increased their lead on 79 minutes through McNeil with a well-taken goal. Dave Gamble lost possession in midfield, Phil Salt picked up the ball headed for goal and then put Mc Neil through. He did the rest with great aplomb. .
This was another tough fixture, but the players responded well. The defence kept their third clean sheet in four games. The whole back four played well and Tim Mullock behind them dealt confidently with anything which came his way. He has been a good signing, with just three goals conceded in six games, one a pen. Will the 'blond' John O'Kane get his place back? I think it may be a bit tougher at Gateshead next week, but they will come into the game with two straight defeats behind them.
Half the season has gone and we are in third position in touching distance of the leaders. I think we would have settled for that before the start of the season!