Thursday 26th December 2002
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Peter Crookes, Mike Lomax, Matthew Wright, Dominic Crookes, Martin Diggle, Troy Hayder, Jason Tee, Andy Shelton, Steve Foster, Lee Evans, Ryan Hevicon (Rick Whelan). Subs not used: Paul Ashwell, Mike Meszaros.
Stalybridge Celtic: Dootson, German, Caldecott, Davis, Pearce, Hooper, Bowman, Wharton, Mayers, Eastwood, Potts. Subs: Denham, Bowker, Fitzgerald.
In the fixture everybody has been waiting for (but for which many didn't bother to turn up!), the Tigers turned in a brilliant second hand performance but could not turn their superiority into goals. At least five chances went begging and when they did get a shot or header on target, they found 'keeper Craig Dootson in superb form.
The first half was pretty even with Celtic just edging it. They scored a great goal on 36 minutes through leading scorer Phillip Eastwood. Immediately afterwards Gordon Hill substituted Ryan Hevicon and replaced him with Rick Whelan. No guesses for who he thought was to blame.
After a half time roasting, the Tigers came out with all guns blazing and were unlucky on several occasions. Celtic were left to rely on breakaways, and Kenny Mayers should have scored on one of them with the whole goal at his mercy, but apart from that it was all Hyde. Troy Hayder, Lee Evans and Steve Foster (playing in midfield) all played well and caused continual problems for an overworked defence.
Dootson was magnificent and showed how luck favours teams at the top. Despite all the pressure, the Tigers couldn't find the net and therefore extended their lack of a league win to 13 under Gordon Hill and 19 in total. For people with a poor memory, September 14th was the last time the Tigers had a league win. Seems an awful long time ago.
Gordon Hill's final game as manager.