Monday 15th October 2001
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Richard Acton, John Foster, Matty Taylor, Neil Critchley, Dale Hawtin, Peter Band, Chris Young, Neil Hall, Simon Yeo (Lee Matthews), Ben Obong, David Nolan. Subs not used: Matt Deevey, Gavin Salmon.
Burton Albion: Matt Duke, Jason Kavanagh, Terry Henshaw, Neil Glasser, James Wall, Colin Hoyle, Darren Stride, Steve Evans, Dale Anderson, Christian Moore, Aaron Webster. Subs: Alan Bailey, Darren Wassall, Andy Garner
The largest crowd of the season so far at Ewen Fields came to see the league leaders play the best football on show in the Unibond League. Albion could have gone ahead on 3 minutes as Darren Stride caused problems down the right before crossing for Steve Evans but Hyde goalkeeper Richard Acton was in the right place to stop the header. Burton played some great football going forward but the first sign that they were mere mortals arrived on 19 minutes when Matty Taylor was allowed to shoot from the edge of the area but his effort caused no problems for giant keeper Matt Duke. Amazingly though, Hyde took the lead a minute later, Simon Yeo chased a long ball, Duke came and missed and the striker couldn't miss an empty goal. The Tigers still can't hold a lead though and it took just two minutes for the Visitors to draw level, a ball in from the right was half cleared but David Nolan dallied on the ball allowing Neil Glasser to steal the ball and he finished well from the edge of the area giving Acton no chance. Burton now threatened to get on top and following a good move on 26 minutes Terry Henshaw crossed but Aaron Webster couldn't stretch enough to direct his header onto the target. Two minutes later Glasser was again a menace around the edge of the area forcing Acton to save his 20 yard effort. There was certainly plenty of action in the first half and on the half hour Acton produced a great save to deny Dale Anderson's header before Hyde broke away and Simon Yeo saw a long range effort flash past the post with Duke well beaten. The first bit of good football from Hyde came on 38 minutes when Chris Young chipped down the right and Yeo played in Neil Hall but Duke was out quickly to blocked the midfielders shot.
At half time it looked as though it would be a matter of when the onslaught started rather than if as the delightful football combined with the obvious gulf in fitness would tell eventually, it never came and that was mainly due to the Tigers upping the work rate and fighting for every ball and hustling every player on the park. Indeed on 56 minutes the home side could have gone in front as a 30 yard Yeo effort was deflected but Duke used his massive reach to collect the ball with no problem, and it was travelling! Burton went ahead on 67 minutes as Anderson got round the back and as his effort was cleared off the line Darren Stride was on hand to strike the ball into an empty goal. Hyde kept up their work rate and although the visitors looked threatening every time they went forward they didn't create another telling attack and it should have been all square on 81 minutes when Young's free kick on the left was headed goalwards by Lee Matthews but Duke pulled off an outstanding save diving to his left. On 85 minutes came Hyde's best chance to get level as Dale Hawtin laid the ball off for Neil Critchley to strike from 30 yards and there was a stunned anticipation in the ground as the ball travelled through the air and passed Duke before gasps as the ball struck the crossbar and bounced clear. We have played Burton twice now and they are by far the best side we have played as of yet, Hyde probably deserved a point from this game but Burton defender James Wall was more like a brick wall as he seemed to stop everything we threw forward.
Hyde can take heart from this performance and the crowd responded by cheering the home side off the pitch despite the result as they knew there was a huge gulf between the sides but for 45 minutes it was bridged by sheer determination and hard graft