Tuesday 27th April 2004
Ashton United: Trueman, Thackery, White, Allison, Adams, Royle, Fleury, Denney, Miller, Dormer, Smith. Subs: Cooney, Carty, Johnson.
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, John Gaynor (Wayne Dean), Paul Jones, Craig Buckley, John O'Kane, Nicky Hill (Carl Barrowclough), Phil Salt, Neil Tolson (Kieran Delaney), Dale Johnson, Matty McNeil
The dream season from Hyde United came into an end in extra time at windswept Hurst Cross as Ashton went through in a pulsating game which didn't finish until 10.30pm. The Tigers deserved more as they had been on top for much of the game and with more finesse in front of goal, could have sealed it early on.
Neil Tolson, struggling within a knee injury gave Hyde the lead on 17 minutes when he ran through the static Ashton defence, rounded 'keeper Danny Trueman, and slotted home. For the rest of the half, Hyde were in control, but just couldn't get an all important second goal.
Ashton upped the pace in the second half, but Dale Johnson, man of the match, and Matty McNeil were still wreaking havoc at the heart of the Ashton defence. Tolson had a chance to seal it after a Trueman clearance hit Lincoln Adams full on. He left the field wrapped in foil on a stretcher, only to reappear two minutes later apparently none the worse for wear. Steve Smith scrambled an equaliser with eighteen minutes to go to set up a grandstand finish. Either team could have won it, with Hyde looking the marginally stronger.
Hyde still pressed forward in extra-time, but right on the break, Adams headed home after the Tigers defence had failed to deal with a corner. Fifteen minutes were left to pile forward. At times they had five attackers peppering the Ashton goal. Darren Royle limped off and with all subs used, Ashton had to fight on with ten men. Carl Barrowclough could have snatched an equaliser at the death, but Ashton man of the match Trueman scrambled the ball away and Hyde were left to rue, what might have been.
Things hadn't started well for Hyde with Nicky Hill breaking down in the warm up and things got no better in the game, with referee Mr. Nicholson well behind play when it mattered, and not helped by his assistants. But it has still been a great season for the Tigers with a League and Cup double and they put a lot into the game and could walk off with their heads held high after a brilliant performance.