Wednesday 14th April 2004
Northern Premier League Chairman's Cup Final (2nd Leg)
Leek Town: Hodgson, Wooliscroft, Hassall, Ridley, Johnson, Sucharewycz, Danylyk, Haddrell, Hadland, MacPherson, Cartwright. Subs: Macari, Taaffe, Sheldon.
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, John Gaynor, Paul Jones, Craig Buckley, Wayne Dean, Nicky Hill, Phil Salt (Kieran Delaney), Neil Tolson, Dale Johnson (Carl Barrowclough), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: John O'Kane.
Hyde started strongly at Leek in the 2nd Leg of the Chairman's Cup at Leek determined to improve on their one goal advantage from the first leg. Dale Johnson had already gone close, before Paul Jones headed against the bar on 27 minutes. Two minutes later, Neil Tolson squared a free-kick to Phil Salt, who hit a screamer into the top corner to give the Tigers a two goal advantage and a critical away goal. Johnson had two more chances in as many minutes to settle the game, but was just wide.
Sadly the influential Salt had to leave the field before half-time with a knee injury, but by then the Tigers were in control and never looked likely to lose. With a number of players still struggling with knocks, the team still chased and harried and never allowed Leek to get into their stride.
The game fizzled out in the second half with Hyde, playing their sixth game in twelve days, defending deeply and absorbing everything Leek could throw at them. Nicky Hill, replacing the rested John O'Kane, and Jones formed a formidable partnership in the centre of defence, whilst Tim Mullock handled superbly behind them. As both teams tired, the Tigers found the extra reserves they needed and after Kieran Delaney had gone close, the energetic Wayne Dean was only inches wide from the goal of the season as the threat from Leek diminished to give Hyde a fully deserved victory over the two legs.
It was fitting that Craig Buckley, after his recent troubles, should lead the team up to collect the cup after a brilliant performance on a difficult pitch. With the first part of the double completed, it is now the championship trophy, which Steve Waywell would dearly love to win.