Monday 6th April 2009
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, David Morley (David Owens), Neil Fitzhenry, David Thompson, Farrell Kilbane, Aiden Kirkbride, Chris Lynch, Tom Manship, Chris Simm, Leon Kelly, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Lee Rick, Harry Bockerie, Karl Munroe, Mark Innes.
Blyth Spartans: Bell, Boyle, Brown, Williams, Brackstone, Leeson, Todd, Webster, Dale, Walton, Shandran. Subs: McCabe, Reay, Pell, Banks, Farman
As games go this was an absolute must win for the Tigers against a team close by in the relegation zone and one Hyde must realistically over take if they are to survive. They managed to secure the three points but it was mighty close and credit must go to Neil Tolson for recalling Chris Simm (who went missing on Saturday) for the injured Daniel Douglas-Pringle and an inspired substitution with fifteen minutes to go.
Simm was a revelation causing problems for the Blyth defenders all game and being the subject of some rough treatment throughout. If he could only play to his full potential and get his head straight, the sky would be his limit. But as it stands, Tolson has to encourage his wayward striker into producing the form he is capable of to help the Tigers this season.
Before the game, Blyth Manager, Harry Dunn said he would be happy with a point and his team showed little enterprise despite having the best of the early exchanges and Craig Dootson twice had to make good saves to keep Hyde in the game.
After a superb flowing move on 38 minutes involving the excellent Nicky Clee, The Tigers thought they had taken the lead when Leon Kelly found the net with an exquisite finish only for a sharp eyed assistant to rule offside, but two minutes later Blyth were down to 10 men when Anthony Shandran elbowed Chris Lynch and referee Mr Knowles had no hesitation in producing a red card.
The second period was all Hyde with Simm twice going close, although the talented Robert Dale still caused problems for the home defence, especially David Morley who had a torrid time against the tall striker. Morley eventually collected a booking and with tempers becoming frayed he was replaced by David Owens as Tolson went three at the back in an attempt to secure the points.
This turned out to be a master stroke as three minutes later Owens bundled the ball home from a Clee corner and at last the Tigers had some breathing space. Blyth had given their all and were by no means the worst side to have visited Ewen Fields this season, but there was nothing left in the tank and Hyde scraped home for their second single goal victory in three days.
As the players left the pitch to the sounds of ‘the Great Escape’, Hyde’s future was suddenly in their own hands and the visit of Droylsden on Saturday didn’t look quite as daunting.