Tuesday 19th March 2002
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Runcorn: Winstanley, Carragher, Ness, Whalley, Tomlinson, Ellis, Price, Morley, McNeil, Gamble, Leadbetter. Subs: Lunt, Cowley, Watson
Hyde United: David Felgate, Lee Madin, Matty Taylor, Dominic Crookes, Paul Ashwell, Peter Band (Neil Critchley), Chris Young, Steve Foster (Mike Meszaros), Simon Yeo, Dale Hawtin, Lee Evans. Subs not used: Tom Brookes.
The Tigers came away from their first visit to the Autoquest Stadium with an undeserved 3-1 defeat after conceding two late goals to former player Kevin Leadbetter in a game they had enough chances to win.
Hyde got off to a dream start as Steve Foster hammered home after only two minutes. Simon Yeo had a chance to make it two seconds later after he robbed keeper Mark Winstanley, but the ball went agonizingly wide. This could possibly have sealed the game, but instead Runcorn fought back immediately with Steve Carragher hitting the bar.
The equalizer came on twenty minutes after more Runcorn pressure when a shot from David Gamble deflected off Paul Ashwell over keeper David Felgate. Hyde then began to take the sting out of Runcorn and were unlucky on 31 minutes when Ashwell's effort was scrambled around the post by Winstanley.
In the second half the Tigers produced the best chances with Peter Band and Lee Madin both heading wide when well placed to score and should have had a penalty when Foster was brought down. The referee said he saw nothing wrong, but Foster could only continue after lengthy treatment. It was not going to be Hyde's night as Runcorn survived two more goalmouth scrambles but then immediately broke downfield and took advantage of some sloppy defending for Leadbetter to score with 8 minutes to go. As the Tigers stormed forward, Runcorn broke again and Leadbetter netted with a superb volley. This was cruel on Hyde who had played well in the second half but paid the ultimate price for missed chances.
Runcorn's move to the Autoquest has certainly not caught the imagination of their spectators with a crowd of only 202 with more than half from Hyde. The playing surface is large and the facilities impressive but overall the ground lacked atmosphere and is clearly geared more to rugby than football.
After their recent good run this was a match Hyde would have expected to win and it is imperative that three points are gained on Saturday as at least 15 more are needed with games running out