Monday 28th December 2015
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Ed Wilczynski, James Burke, Lee Neville, Spencer Harris, Shane Killock, Andrew Pearson (Grant Spencer), Ben Jago (Pete Boyle), Laurie Bell, Scott Spencer, Ayrton Bevins, Reece Gray. Subs not used: Adam N Jones, Ryan Ellison, Ben Woods.
Salford City: Jay Lynch, Chris LYNCH, Steve O'HALLORAN, Gary Stopforth, Steve HOWSON, Andy Dawson, Jordan HULME (Joe MWASILE), Scott Burton, Danny WEBBER (Gareth Seddon), James Poole, Richie Allen (Luke Clark). Subs Not Used: Evan GUMBS, Craig Dootson
Report from Salford City website
A brace from James Poole, scored against the run of first half play, were enough to secure Salford City’s eleventh away win of the league season in front of a bumper crowd at Ewen Fields. The Ammies were not at their fluent best this afternoon and had goalkeeper Jay Lynch to thank for the points as much as goal-scorer Poole but this win means that an incredible nineteen out of twenty-two Evo-Stik League away games during 2015 have been won.
Hyde’s playing surface showed no obvious sign of the Christmas deluge that has meant misery for many in the North West and it was the home side who got off to the better start. Within two minutes United’s Scott Spencer did well to hold off Andy Dawson on the right after picking up a short pass from Ayrton Bevins. Spencer worked possession inside for Ben Jago who had his shot charged down by Gary Stopforth with the loose ball finding its way to the left where Lee Neville was waiting. The former Salford left-back drilled in a low shot that was heading well wide of the far post but Spencer stuck out a hopeful foot to lift the ball over the crossbar.
The Tigers continued to look lively whenever they carried possession into the Salford half and with seven minutes played they went close again. Neville was involved again, playing a clever ball down the left and Bevins passed inside to pick out Laurie Bell. A powerful shot that never rose higher than a yard off the turf was heading inside Jay Lynch’s left-hand post until the Salford keeper flung himself across to turn the ball behind for a corner. From that set-piece Jago’s touch found Bell inside the penalty area but this time the home number eight’s shot was blocked before Jay Lynch could be troubled.
A very promising side for Gary Lowe’s side and they were back on the offensive within a minute as Neville curled in a teasing cross from the left. Bevins couldn’t quite get there in front of goal but Spencer certainly could and it looked as if his six-yard effort would open the scoring. Once again though Jay Lynch had other ideas, this time pulling off a magnificent blocking save that was all about razor sharp goalkeeping instinct.
With the game just ten minutes old Salford were lucky to still be on level terms but they did manage to create a half-chance themselves. Skipper Chris Lynch lobbed in a delivery from wide on the right and James Poole went up to challenge with home keeper Ed Wilczynski. The Hyde custodian managed to punch clear but as the ball dropped just outside the area Stopforth tried an ambitions header that drifted off target to be picked up easily by Wilczynski.
Some encouragement there for the travelling supporters amongst a crowd of 866 but Hyde continued to probe for the goal that their enterprising play had merited. This time the attack built on their right flank after Spencer did well to control James Burke’s ball up the flank then flick a pass inside for Bevins. There was half a sight of goal from just outside the angle of the penalty area but although Bevins hit the low effort well Jay Lynch was perfectly placed to gather just inside his left-hand upright.
On the twenty minute mark the action switched to the other end as Salford broke with men over and the Hyde defence appeared to be stretched. Allen’s pass inside from the left found Poole who in turn moved possession on for Webber, but the home defence had regrouped and after cutting inside the former Manchester United front-man could only direct an eighteen yarder high over the crossbar. The Ammies won a corner shortly after that but it was poorly delivered and Neville surged forward, past a couple of sprawling but ineffective challenges. A great pass picked out Spencer and as Neville overlapped he received the return ball only to be stopped in his tracks by a tremendous sliding challenge from Dawson.
The Ammies had been second best up to this point but one feature of this eventful season has been their ability to nick a goal, especially away from home. Midway through the first half they repeated that trick after Jordan Hulme’s cross from deep on the right was cut out by Spencer Harris, only for Poole to get up to meet the loose ball and nod out to Webber on the left. A little jink took him into the penalty area where he unselfishly rolled a pass into the path of Poole whose low shot from fifteen yards may have taken a slight deflection on its way into the net.
Hyde and their supporters had every right to feel aggrieved about going behind but Poole’s goal had encouraged the visitors and within a couple of minutes they were pushing forward again. Webber controlled the ball in midfield before adjusting his position and sliding a pass into the right hand side of the area for Richie Allen to chase. The ex-Fylde man nipped towards the line but with blue shirts lining up in the middle his cross was too close to Wilczynski and the Hyde keeper was able to push the ball to relative safety.
If the Tigers had felt injured by Salford scoring against the run of play they could add insult in the twenty-seventh minute when Poole struck for the second time. A routine build-up on the left ended when a partial clearance dropped outside the left-hand angle of the box and Burton got in first to lift the ball back into the danger area. Poole was alive to the opportunity, taking a touch to make some space before slotting past Wilczynski from just outside the six-yard box.
The Tigers responded with commendable determination after that double body-blow and Neville’s left-footed free-kick from wide on the right was headed over his own bar at the far post by Steve O’Halloran. Within a couple of minutes Hyde had won another corner on the left and captain Shane Killock met Jago’s delivery on the edge of the six-yard box and his header beat Jay Lynch to trim Salford’s advantage back to just the one goal.
Three goals in six minutes, but the game became less open as half-time approached although Hyde did create another decent chance, ten minutes before the break. Reece Grey robbed Dawson of possession on the halfway line before advancing at speed before playing a pass to the left for Spencer. A low effort from the angle of the box followed but once again Jay Lynch was equal to the task, producing a good save and holding onto the ball.
Not a vintage performance from Salford City during the first half but considering the balance of play they could only be happy at going into the interval a goal to the good.
HALF TIME: HYDE UNITED 1 SALFORD CITY 2
A cold, blustery wind had strenghthened by the time the teams emerged for the second half and neither side would prove able to master the awkward conditions entirely. The Ammies had gradually settled during the first half and created the first opening of the second after Stopforth’s pass down the right allowed Webber to cut into the box only for his effort to drift wide of the far post.
Hyde were still trying to play their quick passing brand of football and after good work from Bevins on the right Grey tried a right-of-centre shot that was straightforward for Jay Lynch to deal with.
Largely courtesy of that swirling wind the game would become increasingly scrappy but The Ammies almost restored their two goal lead in the fifty-seventh minute. From a corner on the left the ball fell for Poole just inside the area and he hooked his left-foot around the ball to send a rising shot towards goal. The former Hartlepool man was on a hat-trick but Wilczynski was able to reach up and pluck the ball out of the air to keep Hyde within touching distance.
On the hour Salford forward Allen had to retire from the action with what looked like a hamstring problem and he was replaced by Luke Clark, recently recovered from an injury of his own. The Ammies were in the wars as a minute later the game had to be paused for a couple of minutes for Scott Burton to receive treatment after he stopped a Spencer free-kick with his face.
Hyde had enjoyed far less attacking freedom during the second half but Gray embarked on a determined left-of-centre run, bundling past a couple of challenges before having a low shot blocked by Chris Lynch.
Otherwise both sides were struggling to come to terms with the disruptive wind and it seemed that more passes were going astray that were reaching their intended target. More substitutes were introduced as the game entered its final quarter and it was one of those who almost carved out a chance with fourteen minutes left to play. Gareth Seddon received a round of applause from the home support after coming on to replace Webber but he showed little gratitude, advancing on a run through the inside left position before guiding a pass to the left where Clark was pushing forward in support. This was a good chance for Clark to record his first goal since scoring at Buxton in August but he couldn’t beat Wilczynski who got down to make a good save. There was still danger for Hyde as the ball went loose but Seddon could only prod wide of the target and Salford were still protecting their one goal lead.
A couple of minutes Poole turned smartly outside the area only for Wilczynski to make a comfortable save.
Time was running out for Hyde but a game that had been lacking in incident for a while woke up for its final ten minutes. Spencer and Burke combined well on the right for the home side with the latter advancing on goal inside the area only to see Burton to slide in with a great blocking challenge. Salford countered immediately and after Hulme was fouled Poole whipped in the free-kick from twenty-two yards and right-of-centre, with Wilczynski having to tip that one over the crossbar.
With seven minutes to play possession fell for Seddon following a full-blooded challenge between Salford’s Hulme and Hyde’s Harris. Seddon’s run took him almost to the area where he played in Hulme on the left but once again Wilczynski produced a timely block and the Ammies could not find the third goal that would very probably make their points safe.
Within another minute Wilczynski had advanced out of his box to punt a through-ball clear and Spencer was underneath that one, getting into the Salford penalty area on the right only for his cross-cum-shot to zip wide of the far upright.
Breathless stuff and with three minutes of the ninety remaining Hulme tricked his way clear of two Hyde defenders on the right before scampering towards the line and drilling in a low cross that was just behind Seddon. The Ammies pressed forward again and after substitute Joe Mwasile delivered a low cross from the left Clark controlled on the edge of the box, moved to the left and tried a rising effort that was claimed by Wilczynski.
The treatment for Burton, plus a clutch of substitutions meant that five minutes of time was added on but Hyde were struggling to find their way past a determined Salford side who had yet another away win firmly within their sight. In the first of those five minutes the lively Mwasile nicked possession away from Bell in the middle of the park before setting off on a trademark run that was finished off by a low shot straight at Wilczynski.
As the final whistle approached Hyde did manage to get forward and after Gray passed inside from the left substitute Grant Spencer fancied his chances of upsetting his former team-mates. With a little time and space he lined up an attempt from more than twenty yards and left-of-centre but got underneath the effort, sending the ball sailing high over the bar.
In the last of the five extra minutes Gray went down inside the box more in hope than expectation and a last-gasp free-kick from Neville was claimed by Jay Lynch. That was to be the afternoon’s last action and The Ammies had once again claimed the spoils from a match away from their Moor Lane home.
FULL TIME: HYDE UNITED 1 SALFORD CITY 2
It cannot really be denied that Salford were fortunate to lead at the break after Hyde had looked the better side during most of the first half. But for Poole’s crisp finishing and the sort of goalkeeping we have come to expect from Jay Lynch this game could have followed a very different course and Hyde United may well have become the first team to record a league double over The Ammies this season.
Salford did better after the break, creating a number of opportunities during an uneven second half and it is often said that the mark of a good team is winning games without playing particularly well.
The record book will show another away win and it would be a good time to start adding regular home victories as well – starting when Barwell visit Moor Lane on Saturday. With Nantwich Town and Blyth Spartans losing this afternoon (albeit the latter to Darlington) the top end of the Premier Division is opening up nicely. A repeat of last season’s form after the turn of the year might well see Salford City playing Conference football next season