Saturday 5th March 2005
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Chris Lynch, Nicky Hill, Lincoln Adams, Jamie Milligan (Alex Mortimer), John O'Kane, Gerry Harrison, Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Dale Johnson (Wayne Dean), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Phil Eastwood. Sent off: Neil Tolson.
Bishop Auckland: Corbett, Coulthard Foster, Bell, Hall, Wilkinson, Robson, Salvin, Sheeran, Woodhouse, Morgan. Subs: Collins, Taylor, Ward.
With Spennymoor’s pitch being ruled unfit on Thursday evening, this match was hastily switched to Ewen Fields to avoid fixture backlogs later in the season. Hyde secured another three points in their pursuit of Workington to narrow the gap to just seven points, but it was not without cost as Neil Tolson received a straight red after just 14 minutes, and will now miss three games.
In a scrappy opening a couple of nasty challenges went unpunished before Tolson appeared to use his elbow and the referee, well placed, had no hesitation in pointing to the dressing room. Not greatly malicious and no blood spilt, but technically correct. It was the usual kiss of death as Hyde had won the fair play award for February!
The Tigers knew they were now up against it against a strong uncompromising side that had set their stall out for a draw from the start. However with Tolson still in the shower, a Jamie Milligan free kick was spilt by Simon Corbett and Matty McNeil scored from a tight angle.
After that the match was instantly forgettable. Bishop’s took advantage of their extra man and pushed Hyde further and further back, especially in the second half with the wind and sleet at their back. However the Tigers defence stood firm as the pressure increased. By the end there were some very tired legs and late on Wayne Dean, McNeil and Phil Salt could have added a second to ease the tension, but the match went to the wire as Hyde hung on by the skin of their teeth.
It is results that count from now on and not for the first time, Hyde showed great resilience in adversity in having to play for most of the game with a man short. McNeil and Dale Johnson should be praised for their efforts up front, especially as they became isolated as the game wore on. By the end their fantastic endeavours were there for all to see, but it is Workington who are now sweating the most.