Saturday 2nd October 2004
F.A. Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Atherton Laburnum Rovers: Ward, Jopson, McNair, Hannon, Wynne, Bennett, Settle, Curley, Massey, Howard, Crompton Subs: Lucas, Westworth, Band, Strange, Street.
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, Nicky Hill, Paul Jones, Jamie Milligan, John Gaynor, Chris Lynch, Phil Salt (Craig Buckley), Carl Barrowclough (Wayne Dean), Dale Johnson (Neil Tolson), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Tony Ellis.
This was always going to be a difficult game for the Tigers and so it turned out with the dreadful pitch at Crilly Park being a great leveller and ultimately Hyde were lucky to secure a victory at the first attempt. It sounds a good game with Hyde twice coming from behind and getting a late winner, but in all honesty it wasn’t. The surface and the slope prohibited good football and both sides settled for ‘route one’.
Atherton had already hit the post before they took the lead on seven minutes through the promising Phil Howard. Hyde equalised a minute later when Dale Johnson slotted home. For the rest of the half, the Tigers struggled to cope with the high balls into the area and the greasy pitch and high wind made for plenty of chances. Just before half time, Johnson left the pitch with blood streaming from his ear, which later needed a stitch in hospital. Enter Neil Tolson.
With Tolson and Matty McNeil starting to win most of the balls against a tiring LR defence, it looked like Hyde would walk the second half. Mc Neil had a goal disallowed for handball, before they were brought down to earth with a severe jolt as Steve Wynne hammered home a beauty on 67 minutes to put Atherton in front again. Steve Waywell’s substitution trick worked again as Wayne Dean had been on the field only five minutes when he won a corner. Jamie Milligan supplied the cross and Chris Lynch bundled the ball home with twenty minutes left.
Still time for Atherton to bring on Simon Band (Peter’s brother), then hit a post and see Paul Jones clear off the line, before the irrepressible Tolson turned in the area to score a last minute winner. It was hard on Atherton who suddenly felt there was no justice with the magic of the FA Cup suddenly disappearing.
Hyde march on in the knowledge they can play a lot better than this, despite the fact it is now 13 games without defeat.