Saturday 21st January 2006
Stafford Rangers: Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Murray, Lovatt, Reid, Street, Grayson, Smith, Gibson. Subs: Downes, Walker, Thomson, Clarke, Robinson.
Hyde United: Jean-Paul Ndjebayi, Lincoln Adams, Chris Lynch, Paul Jones, Mike Flynn, Nathan Wharton, Wayne Dean (Neil Tolson), Gerry Harrison, Nicky Clee, Dale Johnson, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Nicky Hill, Paul Armstrong, Steve Brackenridge, Mark Westhead. Sent off: Lincoln Adams, Nathan Wharton.
Report by Tony Beard:
This was a thrilling match on a difficult pitch, but the game finished on a sour note by some bizarre refereeing in the closing stages. Mr Mellor managed to finish with five bookings and three sending offs when there hadn’t been a tackle in anger all afternoon. Far too frequently he was too far behind play to see clearly what had happened to leave both fans and players frustrated. However it was Hyde’s own making as to why they got nothing from the game - they missed a bagful of chances!
It should be said that Hyde played tremendously well against the league leaders. In fact, they could easily have won by a mile with more assurance in front of goal. Three one on ones were missed and after a succession of corners in the second half, chances came thick and fast, but they were still unable to find the net.
Hyde started well and should have had a penalty on seven minutes for handball, but the referee, poorly placed, waved away the appeals. Nicky Clee had a good chance minutes later when he closed in on goal from the left and then Wayne Dean went close as Hyde adapted well to the dry bumpy pitch. Stafford had one real chance and Nathan Smith turned superbly to hammer the ball past Jean Paul Ndjebayi on twenty-seven minutes. After that Jean Paul hardly had a save to make as it was predominately Hyde.
Mike Flynn marshalled the defence superbly and Dale Johnson and Matty McNeil covered every inch of the pitch as the Stafford defence struggled to cope. Hyde’s problem was that they just couldn’t find the net.
With the Tigers piling forward in the closing stages, the game suddenly exploded. When the home bench goaded Lincoln Adams by not returning the ball, he kicked the ball the kit man was holding. The referee produced a straight red card, when a censure to both parties would have sufficed. A melee ensued which ultimately resulted in Nathan Wharton receiving a second yellow and Stafford defender, Craig McAughtrie receiving a straight red for allegedly throwing a punch. How the referee could single out two individuals was a mystery, but once play restarted he immediately brought proceedings to an end and left the crowd to ponder how such a good tempered thrilling game could finish so sourly.