Thursday 1st January 2004
Northern Premier League First Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, Ian Pendlebury, John Gaynor, Andy Waine (Craig Buckley), Jamie Milligan (Tony Ellis), Nicky Hill, Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Kieran Delaney, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Mike Meszaros.
Witton Albion: Gibson, Evans, Johnson,Pritchard, Hughes, Pavey, Salt, Barlow, Moseley,Yates, Nolan. Subs: Foy, Sargeson, Stannard.
This was a pretty lacklustre performance from the Tigers. After their heroics on Boxing Day, this was a disappointment for the biggest crowd of the season. Hyde were without John O'Kane and Paul Jones, both of whom were suspended. Ironically Steven Clegg and Nicky Hill who deputised for them at the heart of the defence were Hyde's best two players by a mile. Anthony Wright was also missing having gone back to Aberystwyth.
It took Hyde over 30 minutes to get into their stride and even the loss through injury of Brian Pritchard at the heart of the Witton defence didn't spur the Tigers on. Kieran Delaney had a couple of chances, but it was pretty mediocre fayre.
The second half didn't improve much. Hyde pushed forward a little more and Craig Buckley was introduced to add some impetus. Matty McNeil had a couple of chances, when he perhaps should have done better, and there was plenty of Hyde pressure in the last quarter, but by then Michael Yates had lashed the ball home to give Witton an unlikely double.
There can be no complaints from the Tigers, it was just one of those games when too many players were off the pace. The officials were excellent, good advantages were played and not a booking in sight. A far cry from Boxing day. Hyde must now bounce back quickly if they are going to be taken seriously as title contenders with three defeats in their last four games.