Saturday 20th February 2010
Stafford Rangers: Evans, Francis, Vauls, Thirley, Udoji, McAughtrie, Reid, Burns, Wellecomme, Dinning, Kasiama. Subs: Rogers, Lloyd for Burns, Goodhead, Holland, Whitehouse.
Hyde United: Michael Jones, Dean Stott, Mark Lees, Matty Burke, Chris Lynch, Nathan D'Laryea, Lee Rick, Tom Manship, David McNiven (Scott Mooney), Kevin Holsgrove, Nathan Arnold (Daniel Douglas-Pringle). Subs not used: Glynn Hurst, Chris Rimmer, Ben Rowbotham.
Hyde visited Marston Road on Saturday and gained a creditable draw, but on balance probably should have secured all three points. Either way their unbeaten run in 2010 continues after another hard-working performance.
David McNiven returning to one of his former clubs was both hero and villain in this tough pretty sterile encounter, not helped by three officials who all wanted to be the centre of attention at various stages of the game. Referee Mark Duncan filled his notebook with a succession of names but as usual on such occasions missed key incidents.
The Tigers were without the influential Scott McNiven for the first time this season but brought back his brother upfront and gave Nathan Arnold his first start since injury. It has to be said that Hyde didnít start too well and Chris Lynch had already cleared off the line before former Stockport player Tony Dinning rifled home on thirteen minutes. Arnold brought a terrific save out of Lee Evans but then Michael Jones made the first of a series of good saves at the other end.
After surviving a couple of close shaves, Hyde broke clear on 38 minutes and good interplay between Tom Manship and Arnold set up McNiven who broke clear and scored with the help of a post. Soon after Dinning brought down Arnold in fill flight heading for goal. Other defenders would not have caught the winger, so he was lucky to get just a yellow.
After the break the Tigers sensed a victory and on 57 minutes had an opportunity to take the lead. McNiven cut in from the left and was brought down in the area by Emmanuel Udoji. The referee didnít look particularly interested but for once his assistantís intervention was welcomed and a penalty awarded. McNiven strode up and struck the post again, but this time his luck was out and the ball was scrambled away.
Both Ďkeepers made more excellent saves but despite late pressure, Hyde couldnít find that elusive winning goal.