Saturday 12th October 2013
Luton Town: Tyler, Smith, McNulty, Lawless (Cullen), Griffiths, Parry (Robinson), Guttridge (Whalley), Henry, Benson, Gray, Lacey, Subs Not Used: Cullen, Justham.
Hyde FC: David Carnell, Josh Brizell, Will Haining, Luke Ashworth, Liam Tomsett, David Poole, Tom Collins (Scott Spencer), Matt Mainwaring, Louis Almond, Adam Blakeman, Reece Gray (Martin Devaney). Subs not used: Connor Hughes, David McNiven, Emmanuel Dieseruvwe. Sent off: Luke Ashworth.
by Tony Spencer
The Tigerís thorny season continued as they lost an eleventh straight game at highflying Luton, to remain winless at the foot of the Skrill Premier.
A marvellous Andre Gray hat-trick and a Luke Guttridge strike for the home side, cancelled out a Steve McNulty own goal, to see the Hatters run out 4-1 victors at Kenilworth Road.
This is one of the show piece away days of non-league football and Hyde werenít going there to just make up the numbers, indeed, the Tigerís masterminded a 2-1 victory last season, so this wasnít to be one of those routine wins for the professional club.
But the Bedfordshire side did start well and pushed Hyde back from the kick off. The first 15 minutes were played almost exclusively in the Tigerís half, with defenders Will Haining and Ashworth given a lot to do, as balls over the top to Gray and Paul Benson were causing a lot of early problems.
And the home side soon went ahead in the 16th minute, Scott Griffiths played another ball over to Gray, who took it down well, before turning and finishing beyond David Carnell in the Hyde goal.
Rather than open the preverbal floodgates, this brought Hyde to life and they began to create their own chances. Tom Collins was played in by Josh Brizell, but his improvised shot was cleared off the line midway through the half. At the other end, McNulty shouldíve doubled Lutonís lead, as he had a free header from a Guttridge freekick, but he headed over.
The Tigerís were playing some good stuff and again proving that the table doesnít reflect the ability of the team. Louis Almond and Reece Gray, were working the ball around well and frustrating the expectant home crowd.
Hyde hadnít scored in six games prior, so it was with a sense of irony that they then pulled level through an own goal. Just before half time, Ashworth played a diagonal ball into the box for Collins, who appeared to be pulled down, but in his efforts to clear, McNulty managed to head past his own keeper. Cue boos at the half time whistle, but the score line was fair.
Luton played as a different side in the second half, as they began to take control of the game and were 3-1 up within ten minutes of the restart. First, the ever lively Gray, burst into the box and squared for Guttridge to tap in. Before a long clearance from Mark Tyler in the Luton goal, made it all the way to Gray in the box, who crashed it into the top corner first time. Quality goal, from a quality player.
The Hatters kept up the pressure and still looked more likely to get the next goal, so things were made even more difficult when Ashworth was dismissed midway through the half. He pulled back Gray in a professional foul, and it had to be red.
Gray then completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute, a Shaun Whalley corner was nodded down by Alex Lacey, for Gray to tap in number four. The score line didnít really flatter Luton, as theyíd been much the better side in the second half. Hyde defended well late on and the game finished 4-1.
Itís no cancellation to Hyde, but the reality is that Gray had a fantastic afternoon and was almost unplayable at times. After the sending off, they couldíve collapsed, but to their credit, they defended well and kept it to a modest four.
Manager Scott McNiven was still understandably disappointed at fulltime:
ďThe first half was really good, then two long balls werenít defended properly. We canít come to a place like Luton and defend like that. Keeping a clean sheet is vitally important at a place like this, Iím disappointed with the defending in the second half. When youíre at the bottom, nothing goes for you, but only us can turn it around.Ē