Saturday 7th January 2017
Northern Premier League First Division North
Clitheroe: Not available
Hyde United: Russell Saunders, Kyle Harrison, James Burke, Laurie Bell, Harry Coates, Matthew Dempsey, Ryan Ellison, Janni Lipka, Pete Boyle (Jamal Branker), Phattaraphol 'Big' Khamsuk (Sam Fitton), Chris Sutherland (Daniel Pilkington). Subs not used: Ryan Crump, Oliver Ford.
Darren had problems to contend with ahead of the visit to the EvoStik Norths form team and Hyde were missing three players who helped secure the win against Glossop with Matt Beadle (dead leg) Dave McGurk (illness) and Ryan White (recalled to Bolton) unavailable. This meant Matt Dempsey had to drop back into the Centre Half position forcing four changes in total which is not ideal. To make matters worse, Pete Boyle who was starting as the only genuine centre forward in the squad, broke down on route and turned up 20 minutes before kick off.
The Tigers set up in a 4-2-3-1 and started more brightly that Clitheroe and enjoyed the balance of the possession in the opening 10 minutes, but Clitheroe began to get on the ball and looked like a side with eight wins and two draws in the previous ten games. Neither side carved out any clear cut chances in the opening 45 minutes although the game was competitive and enjoyable to watch for the bumper crowd of 414, the biggest of the day in the EvoStik North Div 1.
Hyde were much the better side after the break and flew out of the blocks. Laurence Bell got hold of central midfield and started to pull the strings, the excellent Chris Sutherland on debut following his loan signing from Macclesfield Town and Big Khamsuk stared to cause the Clitheroe back line problems and it looked like the a goal for the Tigers was only a matter of time. It was against the run of play when a quick Clitheroe break, following what looked like a clear foul on Laurie Bell in the centre circle, resulted in a cool finish for Charlie Russel giving Clitheroe the lead 1-0 on 70 minutes.
The lead only lasted 2 minutes, with Hyde pushing forward and Jamal Branker delivering a pinpoint cross on to the head of Big Khamsuk to draw the Tigers level 1-1
The next 10 minutes were all Hyde. A decent penalty shout when James Burke had his ankles tapped in the box was waved away by the referee, and a fantastic double save by the Clitheroe goal keeper from a dipping Laurie Bell pile driver and the follow up by Chris Sutherland, but it was second half substitute and ex Hyde Academy graduate George West, on loan from Stockport County, who broke the Tigers hearts with a goal on 77 minutes. Picking the ball up in the box, turning twice before firing in via the inside of the post.
For the remaining 10 minutes Clitheroe dropped deep and looked out on their feet, but the tigers were unable to make their fitness and possession pay and the game ran out 2-1 to Clitheroe
Great game for the 414 spectators in the ground to watch, and a massive step for the Tigers who edged the game in terms of play and possession, but struggled without an out and out goal scorer at the sharp end. With Beadle on the pitch, the Tigers would have collected at least a point and the travelling Shed End showed the team and management they appreciated their efforts with a lengthy round of applause on the final whistle.