Saturday 13th August 2005
Harrogate Town: Price, Dunning, Mason, Wood, Stoneman, Lennon, Coupe, Hunter, Smith, Grant, Philpott. Subs: Nogan, Wray, Ryan, Preston, Sutcliffe.
Hyde United: Mark Westhead, Chris Lynch, Simon Garner, Paul Jones, Nicky Hill (Paul Armstrong), Steve Brackenridge (Nicky Allen), Gerry Harrison, Phil Salt, Dale Johnson, Jamie Milligan (Wayne Dean), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: John Gaynor, Nicky Clee.
Report by Tony Beard:
Hyde came away with nothing from a very wet Harrogate in their first Conference North fixture. Given the circumstances, they were probably a bit unlucky, but nevertheless never really threatened the home side despite plenty of possession.
The Tigers were already without four regulars through injury and were further rocked before the kick-off when Nicky Clee failed a fitness test and John O'Kane was absent attending the birth of his child. Things got worse for Hyde as the previously doubtful Nicky Hill limped off after just 25 minutes.
Despite the setbacks and a sluggish nervous start, Gerry Harrison filled in admirably at the back, aided by man of the match Paul Jones, and the Tigers eventually got their passing game together but in a drab first half the only danger from the home side was when Mark Westhead struggled to hold the slippery ball.
The second half followed a similar pattern with both teams cancelling each other out, but with Hyde having the majority of possession. A no score draw looked likely until Tony Lennon deceived the unhappy Westhead with a swerving shot with just twenty minutes left. Hyde fought back bravely and Phil Salt was inches wide. Wayne Dean caused some problems after he came on for a disappointing Dale Johnson, and Matty McNeil battled strongly all afternoon, but overall the Tigers looked lightweight up front and desperately missed Neil Tolson. Regretfully Neil will be missing for a while yet, but the first priority has to be to get the injured players back as soon as possible.
The tannoy announcer amused Hyde fans with his suggestion that Harrogate were a Conference National team in a Conference town. On this showing they have a long way to go, whilst Hyde showed they can compete at this level despite being ravaged by injuries.