Saturday 17th March 2012
Nuneaton Town: Collett, Cartwright, Forsdick, Noon, Dean, Hadland, Mills, Walker, Glover, Brown, York. Subs: Albrighton, Mitchley, Moore, Armson, Barnes-Homer.
Hyde FC: David Carnell, Andrew Pearson, Adam Griffin, Danny Hall, Gianluca Havern (Josh Brizell), David Birch, Chris Worsley, Callum Byrne (Godwin Abadaki), Reece Gray, Scott Spencer, Ryan Crowther (David Poole). Subs not used: Adam Judge, Tunji Moses.
Report by Andy McAnulty
Hyde suffered a bad day at the office as they fell to their first defeat since January after a determined Nuneaton Town side reduced the gap between them and the Tigers to 8 points, although it could have been different had Scott Spencer’s poor penalty early in the first half hit the back of the net.
Gary Lowe named an unchanged side for the fourth consecutive game, choosing to keep faith with the team who were unlucky not to come away with all 3 points the week before, meaning no room for new signing Shelton Payne who failed to make the bench.
After a scrappy and nervy start for both sides on what was a very bobbly pitch at the impressive sounding Triton Showers Community Arena, it was Nuneaton who drew first blood with the first attempt of the match on 14 minutes when Wesley York seemingly walked through a stationary Hyde defence to place the ball past David Carnell in the Hyde goal after a nice pass from the right.
Hyde then had the perfect opportunity to respond just 4 minutes later when Nuneaton were caught in possession by Reece Gray who lined up the shot for Ryan Crowther, only for Crowther’s shot to strike the arm of Guy Hadland while he was on the deck inside the area, leaving referee Anthony Tankard pointing to the spot. Scott Spencer characteristically stepped up, but unusually shot meekly to Neil Collett’s right with the goalkeeper saving easily and managing to hold onto the ball in the process.
Gary Mills then mustered a shot after a nice passing move on the edge of the 18 yard box forced Carnell into a good save.
Right on the half hour mark, Chris Worsley’s moment of magic nearly brought Hyde level, after a jinking run past two defenders resulted in a shot parried by Collett into the path of Reece Gray, but his follow up was denied well once again by the Nuneaton keeper.
The end-to-end action continued as just a minute later when Wesley York could only shoot into the side netting after being forced wide by the Hyde defence.
Hyde were very lucky not to go into the break 2 down when Danny Hall headed the ball off the line and onto the bar to deny Gareth Dean’s header from an inswinging corner.
The Tigers came out with intent in the second half, with Adam Griffin’s delightful pass landing at Callum Byrne’s feet, whose pass to Spencer saw him miss a tricky overhead kick in the 6 yard box.
However, Nuneaton carried on their momentum from the restart when Andy Brown found himself one-on-one with Carnell on 54 minutes, but took far too long over his shot which was blocked well by Andy Pearson.
Just a minute later, Crowther’s daisy cutter cross tied Nuneaton up in knots, with 2 defenders nearly steering the ball into their own net before being collected by a relieved Collett.
Hyde’s best chance of the half fell to Crowther on 66 minutes, when his brilliant 25 yard shot was tipped over the bar by the outstanding Collett after a nice lay-off from Byrne.
Brown then proceeded to miss a gilt edged chance moments later when he failed to keep his shot down.
Hyde started to get on top after the introductions of Josh Brizell and Godwin Abadaki, with Gray failing to get his foot on a cross from Brizell.
However, moments later with 15 minutes remaining, Danny Glover made it 2 for the hosts after picking up a loose ball 40 yards out when it was caught under Pearson’s feet and, despite the best efforts of Hall to make the tackle, left Glover with all the time in the world to stick the ball past Carnell.
This took the wind out of a Hyde comeback, who only tested Nuneaton from a couple of poor free kicks for the rest of the match after some persistent fouling from the hosts was not always picked up by the referee who seemed more intent on punishing the Tigers for minor infringements, resulting in jeers from the away fans when Gareth Dean picked up Nuneaton’s only booking in the dying minutes.
Nonetheless, it was a difficult day on a poor pitch for Hyde who came away with their pride dented, but with 8 games to go and 8 points clear, they remain in a good position as other results once again went their way.