Saturday 21st February 2004
Northern Premier League First Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg (Nicky Hill), John Gaynor, Paul Jones, Craig Buckley, John O'Kane, Dale Johnson (Tony Ellis), Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Andy Waine, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Mike Meszaros.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Cherry, Vickers, Eyre, Thomas, Jellicoe, Peet, White, Baker, Twigg, Roberts, Hancock. Subs: Huckerby, Kielthy, Ward.
The Tigers secured another three points in their quest for the championship after this dour encounter with Kidsgrove. The injury ravaged team has to work hard throughout and will be pleased they have no game midweek. Ian Pendlebury and Kieran Delaney were ruled out, whilst Nicky Hill was only named as a sub, because we had no one else.
After twelve minutes things went from bad to worse as Steven Clegg was the victim of a late tackle ( for the second time against Kidsgrove). This time from Chris White and left the ground on crutches.
Showing scant regard for his injury, Hill was forced to come on and he had a stormer. He had shown great commitment to the cause and really epitomised the spirit in the camp.
Hyde were up against three former players and the ageless Steve Cherry in goal and the early signs were not promising. The first half, apart from 'the' tackle was instantly forgettable.
In the second period, the Tigers stepped up the pace and they were rewarded in the 57th Minute when Debutant , Dale Johnson, scored with a deft header which left Cherry foundering. A peach of a goal. Much had been written about him in the week previously, but he certainly answered the fans in the best possible way. He was excellent throughout until he tired and was substituted in the 75th minutes to a great ovation.
Just a minute after we scored, Tim Mullock, formerly of Kidsgrove of course, produced the save of the match as he touched the ball onto the post when all seemed lost. A minute later Craig Buckley burst through, but was brought down by Glyn Hancock, who was duly booked. One decision the ref got right. He wasn't as good with some of the others, including the Glegg incident.
Hyde continued to have all the play, but Kidsgrove were still lively on the break and Darren Roberts should have done better in the last minute. As it was, the Tigers got the three points they desperately needed. Like last week many of the chasing pack slipped up, none more so than Leek who lost at bottom club Kendal Town.
The matches now are becoming increasingly difficult. Gone has the flowing football of the autumn as teams come to stop us playing. It is now a matter of securing the points. It may not be pretty, but the three 1-0 victories in 2004 may ultimately prove decisive. Remember the other United and Eric? Hopefully a week's break will help some of the injuries clear up.