Saturday 18th April 2009
Redditch United: Lewis, Spittle, Charlton, Briscoe, Rowe-Turner, Oliver, Bryne, Story, Hay, Hands, Beswick. Subs: Daniel, Heggs, Buillimore, Dickinson, Ford.
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Karl Munroe, Chris Lynch, David Thompson, Farrell Kilbane, Aiden Kirkbride (Neil Tolson), Lee Rick (Neil Fitzhenry), Tom Manship (Daniel Douglas-Pringle), Leon Kelly, Chris Simm, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Harry Bockerie, Mark Innes. Sent off: Neil Tolson.
This was arguably going to be the toughest fixture of the Tigers’ run-in and so it proved as Hyde were condemned to relegation, on paper at least, by a last minute goal from Jack Bryne. Plenty of difficult decisions have to be made in the Conference Boardroom before structures of the Leagues are confirmed for next season, but the Tigers have put up a terrific fight over the last few weeks and can again take pride in their commitment. However the Tigers fate has been settled over the season and ultimately poor home form has cost them dear.
The Valley Stadium is always a difficult venue with the sloping pitch and on this occasion a rock hard uneven surface and to add spice to the occasion both sides needed a win to ensure they fought another day in Blue Square North. Hence the appointment of Sian Massey to referee the fixture seemed a cavalier one with so much at stake, and so it proved as she failed to gain respect from either team from the outset.
She collected a series of bookings for trivial tackles, but missed key incidents, especially a bad challenge on Neil Fitzhenry which necessitated prolonged treatment and totally lost control in the last quarter of the game resulting in Neil Tolson and Jamie Oliver being sent off after a scuffle when Tolson, clearly an innocent party, tried to take a quick free kick. Play was held up for more than six minutes as she tried to sort out what appeared to be handbags and the proceeded to send Gerry Harrison to the stand as well. To compound the felony only four minutes were added at the end despite a succession of further delays. It was that sort of day.
The game itself proved to be a game too far for the valiant Tigers. Three games in the week already had taken its toll and they never got to grips with Redditch’s physical and direct approach. Two half chances in the first period were all they could muster and despite having the slope in the second period could not take advantage.
The only goal came in injury time when Bryne pounced on hesitancy in the Hyde defence, but the die had been cast before that with all the delays taking away any opportunity the Tigers had to exert continued pressure on the home side’s defence.