Saturday 1st January 2011
Stalybridge Celtic: Butdz, Rule, McWilliams, Platt, Meynell, Rea, Jennings, Wilkinson, Marsh, Ellams, Elam. Subs: Esdaille, Bembo-Leta, Hobson, Davies, Gnahoua.
Hyde FC: Russell Saunders, Dean Stott, Andrew Smart, Steve Halford, Scott McNiven, Chris Lynch, Mark Lees, Scott Mooney (Lee Rick), Dale Johnson (Rob Turner), Shaun Whalley (Ben Morris), Tom Manship. Subs not used: Chris Rimmer, Marcus Calvert.
Hyde took the points from this full-bloodied derby thanks to two opportunist goals and a magnificent rearguard action for most of the second half. There were some great individual performances throughout but it was Steve Halford at the back, who superbly marshalled the Tiger’s defence when the going got tough, who took the honours.
The Tigers were without Michael Taylor, who has gone to Chester, and Matty Burke suspended. Neil Tolson was also suspended and not for the first time he saw an excellent display from the main stand.
Both teams had only played twice in the last seven weeks and the early play was patchy to say the least, but it was Hyde who forced the pace and they were unlucky on 28 minutes after a great run down the hill from Halford saw Rhys Meynell deflect his cross onto the post with Jan Budtz beaten. Dale Johnson playing along upfront caused all sorts of problems for the Celtic defence, but Hyde couldn’t turn their superiority into goals until four minutes after the break.
Shaun Whalley released Scott Mooney down the left whose shot struck a post and rebounded into the path of Tom Manship who hit the ball into the roof of the net from fifteen yards. Manship was the victim of a flailing arm early in the game, but despite his eye being almost closed, he insisted on continuing and it was good he did as a superb cross-field ball set up Whalley for Hyde’s second on 75 minutes. Although his first effort was blocked, he made no mistake second time around.
Stalybridge increased the pressure and Hyde found it difficult to clear their lines but Halford stood firm with Russell Saunders looking assured behind him. Former Tiger, Phil Marsh pulled a goal back on 81 minutes and Hyde immediately brought on debutant Rob Turner for Johnson, who had literally run himself into the ground.
Stalybridge’s full-time training was beginning to make the tiring Tigers suffer but Hyde showed commitment and resolution (not always their strong suit), when it was needed and hung on to claim a very hard-earned and much needed three points. A brilliant display all round.