Saturday 13th March 2004
Northern Premier League First Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, John Gaynor, Carl Barrowclough (Wayne Dean), Paul Jones, Craig Buckley (Andy Waine), John O'Kane, Nicky Hill, Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Kieran Delaney, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Ian Pendlebury.
Matlock Town: Taylor (M), Bostock, Taylor ( R ), Clarke, Davies, Lukic, Sissons, Brown, Taylor (S), Holland, Williams. Subs: Barraclough, Bowler, Charles
In the Top of the Table clash everybody had been waiting for, the Tigers ultimately defeated a spirited Matlock, but not without a few scares along the way. The biggest crowd of the season (557) turned up and although scrappy at times, the match lived up to expectations. It was played in a good spirit and excellently refereed by Colina look alike, Jock Waugh. It meant Hyde extended their lead to four points, with Farsley looking a serious threat having gone thirteen games unbeaten. However they are at Bamber on Tuesday, Lincoln on Saturday and then home to Matlock the following Tuesday. Those three games will go a long way to determining the title. Everybody else seems to have briefly threatened and then faded. We have serenely gone about our business with five wins and one defeat in our last seven games.
Hyde gave Carl Barrowclough his debut and moved Nicky Hill into defence and Kieran Delaney into midfield for this important clash. However it was Matlock who just about shaded a goal-less first half. There were chances at either end and it was ironic, the leagues' two leading goal scorers with 61 goals between them, contrived to miss a couple of chances each. Hyde also had good claims for penalties when Will Davies appeared to handle early on and later when the ball struck the arm of James Lukic.
Early in the second half, Phil Salt had a 30 yard screamer just wide and Matty Taylor saved well from Neil Tolson before Phil Brown put Matlock in front with a great 25 yard strike with just less than half an hour to go. As in previous games this seemed to wake the Tigers' up and Steve Waywell immediately introduced Wayne Dean and Andy Waine and pushed Delaney up to wide right. Danny Holland had a chance to make it two for Matlock, before Phil Salt, who had a very influential game in midfield, picked out Waine at the far post with 14 minutes left, and he headed down and past Taylor. It was now all Hyde with the two 'Waines' providing much needed impetus. With just six minutes left, Matty Mc Neil, who had caused Matlock problems all afternoon, picked up the ball wide left, beat two men and sent it a scorching cross shot that clipped Steve Charles and flew into the top corner. The Tigers could have scored again as Matlock's challenge had been extinguished and along with it, possibly their championship hopes.
The Tigers' back four all had great games, non more so than John O'Kane who was superb at the heart of the defence. Salt conducted matters in midfield, but Hyde lacked a bit in midfield until the Waine boys arrived. Tolson was Tolse and should have added to his season's goal tally, but was still a threat all afternoon, perhaps spurred on by his pre-match health check suggesting he was 'overweight'. Salty needed to take 'more exercise' and he certainly got it here as he returned to his early season form. I think recent one game per week is really helping the Tigers as opposition, who have been playing more, have been found wanting in the last quarter.