Sunday 24th November 2002
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Peter Crookes, Dave Swanick, Matthew Wright (Paul Ashwell), Dominic Crookes, David Linighan, Steven Ferguson, Julian Ward, Larry Farren, Steve Foster, Kevin Hulme (Troy Hayder), Rick Whelan. Subs not used: Lee Evans.
Accrington Stanley: Speare, Cavanagh, Williams, Halford, Smith, Knowles, Payne, Marsh, James, Mullin, Calcutt. Subs: Carden, Black, Procter.
Perhaps hard to believe, but the Tigers were just four minutes away from toppling big spending, league leaders Stanley in a thrilling game. Lutel James' penalty right on time gave them an equaliser they hardly deserved after Paul Ashwell had made a reckless tackle. It might have been worse as Accy missed a sitter in the four minutes of added time. All this on a beautiful afternoon and in front of the biggest crowd of the season by far.
The Tigers rose to the occasion after a sluggish start. Kevin Hulme had already rattled the crossbar before Mullin put Accrington ahead on twenty minutes after good work by the superb James. The Tigers then had one off the line before Steve Foster equalised on 39 minutes. With just seconds of the half remaining, Hulme put Hyde in front as he slid in. He received a knock from 'keeper Jamie Speare, who had come out feet first, and had to go off early in the second half.
James equalised for Stanley on 56 minutes with a great first time shot, but nine minutes later Troy Hayder, on for the injured Hulme, scored with his first touch to put Hyde back in front. With the game ebbing and flowing and some frantic defending, Hyde looked to have secured all the points until that fateful last minute.
This was a fantastic team effort from the Tigers. Peter Crookes produced brilliant saves when he needed to. Dave Linighan had another great game and inspired Dominic Crookes and Dave Swanick alongside him. Steven Ferguson and Julian Ward had by far their best games in midfield and the Tigers always looked like they could score.
We would have settled for a point before the game, but on the play we finished disappointed. What it did show, and not for the first time, that there is not much difference between the top and the bottom what a bit of confidence will cure.