Wednesday 18th April 2001
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Bishop Auckland: Not available
Hyde United: Graham Bennett, Lloyd Richardson, Paul Robertson, Ian Hutchinson, Steve Rimmer, Peter Band, Neil Hall, Martin McDonald, Simon Yeo (Colin Hall), John Grant (Neil Critchley), Gavin Salmon. Subs not used: Steve Smith.
On a freezing cold night in the North East, the Tigers put up a good performance against a strong Bishop Auckland side, who many believe are the best team in the league. But as in so many other games this season, soft goals contributed to their downfall and ultimate defeat.
The side showed 3 changes from the one that beat Droylsden on Monday. Mark Beeston and Carl Laurie were unavailable and Matthew Taylor failed a late fitness test. Lloyd Richardson and Ian Hutchinson came into the defence whilst Martin Mc.Donald returned in midfield. The Tigers suffered a further blow when Simon Yeo suffered a knee injury and did not appear for the second half.
And so to the goals....Martin Salmon headed Bishop's into the lead on 16 minutes - completely unmarked at a corner. How many set piece goals in recent games? David Gallacher was allowed to run half the length of the field and pick his spot on 54 minutes. No tackles to be seen. After this the Tigers had a very good spell and pulled a goal back on 76 minutes through Gavin Salmon. There could have been more as chances went begging but right on full time Steven Bell was allowed too much time in the box to give the scoreline a flattering look.
Man of the match for Hyde was undoubtedly Mc.Donald whose first touch was exquisite all evening and central to everything the Tigers did. Richardson, Mc.Donald and Colin Hall were all booked for reckless challenges but it was never a dirty game although the three officials contrived to make a series of errors with the referee constantly failing to notice offside flags and when he did, play was brought back - sometimes from as far as 40 yards away. No advantages were ever played and the 130 hardy souls in the crowd ( 6 from Hyde!) probably wished they had stayed in the club and watched the big screen.
It is hoped Paul Taylor will make a welcome return on Saturday. We desperately need him to stiffen up the defence and perhaps we may ultimately keep a clean sheet - remember those? If we don't we shall always be chasing games. When you are playing against teams(especially top of the league), you can't afford to give them a two goal start and expect a result, although we did come close...