Saturday 12th March 2005
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Blyth Spartans: Turns, Williams, Leeson, Snowdon, Forster, Price, Crawford, McCabe, Bell, Shoulder, Lowther. Subs: Crutwell, Feace, Ankers
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Chris Lynch, Nicky Hill, Lincoln Adams, Jamie Milligan (Wayne Dean), John O'Kane, John Gaynor (Paul Jones), Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Carl Barrowclough, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Alex Mortimer.
Trips to the North East are often difficult and scrappy and this proved to be no exception as Hyde were made to battle all the way to secure the three points in the hostile environment of Croft Park. Hyde’s last visit was two years ago for Steve Waywell’s first match in charge. He secured a two goal victory then, and he did the same on Saturday.
The Tigers were without Dale Johnson and Gerry Harrison, but welcomed back John Gaynor from suspension. Paul Jones made his long awaited return on the bench.
In a poor first half Hyde held their own on the bumpy pitch facing a strong wind, although Scott Bell could have given Blyth the lead when he headed wide from inside the six-yard box. Tim Mullock made a couple of smart saves whilst Jamie Milligan went closest at the other end.
All the action came in the second half, some of it regretfully unpleasant at the end, as Chris McCabe was sent off for the home side after taking a swipe at Wayne Dean and other Blyth players were lucky not to follow, as the referee was surrounded and jostled. By then, the Tigers were home and dry and happy just to watch as Blyth lost their cool in front of their partisan faithful.
Matty McNeil had headed Hyde in front from a cross by man of the match Chris Lynch on 55 minutes and Carl Barrowclough sealed the victory eight minutes from time after Neil Tolson had flicked on. In between Hyde had defended resolutely and Mullock was in top form when Blyth penetrated the Tigers rearguard.
Once again Hyde had showed what it takes in a difficult game and must now be taken as serious title contenders after five wins and a draw in the last six games.