Saturday 3rd December 2005
Hyde United: Jean-Paul Ndjebayi, James Barrow (Danny Caldecott), Chris Lynch, Nathan Wharton, Mike Flynn, Lincoln Adams, Steve Brackenridge (Wayne Dean), Gerry Harrison (Carlos Meakin), Nicky Clee, Dale Johnson, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Neil Tolson, Paul Armstrong.
Hednesford Town: Pettinger, Keeling, Bernard, Kilbane, Haran, price, Garvey, Sykes, Ellington, Banim, Prince. Subs: Eastwood, Smith, Black, Oates, Buxton.
Another bagful of goals at Ewen Fields and a couple of presents in the form of giveaway goals, but nevertheless the Tigers bounced back after last week’s mauling and showed they can compete at this level after all. Hyde battled from the first minute to the last and this week nobody shirked their responsibilities.
Steve Waywell rung the changes with Paul Jones left out altogether, and Neil Tolson, Danny Caldecott, and Carlos Meakin all relegated to the bench. MarkWesthead was ruled out with cartilage trouble and Phil Salt was also missing after he had informed the club he needed a break from football.
Jean Paul Ndjebayi took over in goal and he was forced to make two superb saves early on as Hyde, as ever, started sluggishly. Hednesford looked strong on the break with Colin Hunter a serious threat on the left wing. He went onto give young James Barrow a torrid time before Chris Lynch swapped flanks to add some extra strength to an overworked defence.
Hyde took the lead on twenty minutes after a sweet move, which resulted in Gerry Harrison slotting home. Confidence was seen to grow but a second goal eluded them and it was the dangerous Hunter who hammered home an equaliser after some bizarre defending just four minutes before the break.
However two minutes later, Dale Johnson put Hyde in front again with a cool finish. The Tigers?joy was shortlived, however, as Rob Heath scored within five minutes of the restart after some more sloppy defending. Hyde were suddenly on the back foot and needed Ndjebayi to be at his best as he made a series of good saves to keep Hednesford at bay as they stepped up the pace.
The game swung on 58 minutes when debutant, Nathan Wharton, scored with an absolute screamer to put Hyde back in front. He could have had another minutes later as a free kick just drifted wide with the ‘keeper beaten. There was still time for plenty of anxious moments but Mike Flynn, who had his best game for Hyde, stood firm and with Jean Paul behind him looking assured, the possibility of a rare victory loomed large. A few more close shaves before Hyde broke clear in the dying minutes and Johnson grabbed his second to give Hyde a fully deserved victory and to move them three places up the table.
It shows how tight it is in the Conference North basement, but more performances like this and Hyde will begin to see some daylight between them and the trapdoor.