Saturday 17th April 2010
Southport: Tony McMillan, Kevin Lee, Chris Lever, Adam Flynn, Earl Davis (Shaun Gray 46), Paul Barratt, Ashley Winn, Michael Powell, Steve Daly (Robbie Booth 67), Ciaran Kilheeney (Chris Simm 60), Matty McGinn. Subs not used: Sean Lake, Rob Marsh-Evans
Hyde United: Will Burns, Ricky Mercer (Dean Stott), Mark Lees, Scott McNiven, Chris Lynch, Chris Rimmer, Matty Burke, Scott Mooney (Daniel Douglas-Pringle), David McNiven (Domaine Rouse), Kevin Holsgrove, Nathan Arnold. Subs not used: Lee Rick, Ben Rowbotham.
This was always going to be a difficult game for the Tigers and so it proved. Southport were on the brink of the championship, in the midst of a tremendous run and unbeaten at home all season. Hyde gifted them a goal after just two minutes as Ciaran Kilheeney took advantage of sloppy defending and the result was never in doubt thereafter.
Teams at the top always seem to have the luck and so it proved. On fifteen minutes a long punt downfield by Tony McMillan bounced over the Hyde bar as Will Burns withdrew his hands. Amazingly referee, Mr Copeland gave a corner and former Hyde favourite, Earl Davis headed in the corner.
Right on half-time Ricky Mercer was adjudged to have handled near the by-line and Matty McGinn made no mistake from the spot. An incredibly harsh decision based on the nature of the pitch and no reaction from the home side players probably said it all.
Paul Barratt increased Southportís lead five minutes after the break with a chip across goal which went in off the far post. If he meant it, it was brilliant, if not another good slice of luck.
David Mc Niven pulled a goal back from the penalty spot two minutes later after Kevin Holsgrove had been bundled over in the box. It continued Mc Nivenís record of scoring in each of the last five games.
Thereafter both sides made substitutions and the game fizzled out as the hot sun and rock hard bumpy pitch began to take their toll. Hyde were better in the second period but it was still a disappointing last away game, but it mattered little as this day was all about Southport and their quest to claim the championship. Unfortunately a Fleetwood victory at Blyth meant that the champagne had to be kept on ice a little longer.