Tuesday 21st September 2004
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Matlock Town: Saxby, Handbury, Hopkins, Clarke, Davis, James, Sisson, Circuit, Alexander, Barraclough, Bowler. Subs: Parker, Brown, Williams.
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, Nicky Hill, Paul Jones, Jamie Milligan, John O'Kane, John Gaynor (Craig Buckley), Chris Lynch, Neil Tolson, Dale Johnson, Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Wayne Dean, Lee Brough.
A brilliant solo goal from Dale Johnson twenty minutes from time salvaged a point for the Tigers to continue their unbeaten start to the season, but this was far from a vintage performance from Hyde and they were thankful for some wayward Matlock finishing.
Matlock started strongly , but the Tigers clawed their way back into the game and could have taken the lead on 22 minutes when a superb free-kick from Jamie Milligan struck the angle of bar and post. Diasaster struck eight minutes later when an inswinging corner from Kris Bowler was dropped into the net by Tim Mullock. A rare mistake from one of Hyde's most consistent performers this season.
Most of the running came from Matlock and frequently Hyde were second best. Paul Jones had a storming game at the back, but he could not prevent the home side making chances and only some inept finishing kept the Tigers in the game.
As the second half went on Hyde appeared to playing the three officials as well and a certain defeat looked on the cards. The usual flowing football was nowhere to be seen with Matlock still dangerous on the break. With just twenty minutes left, enter Dale Johnson. Picking the ball up midway inside the Matlock half on the right, he was fouled, before leaving four men for dead as he raced towards the penalty area. Another two fell by the wayside after a quick shimmy and then he stroked the ball into the net. An absolutely stunning goal.
Hyde failed to capitalise. A couple of half chances, but their frustration on the pitch was epitomised by bookings for Craig Buckley and John O'Kane. News of another Workington victory did not improve the mood after the game, but as Steve Waywell said 'it is the sign of a good team who picks up points when they don't play well'. This was certainly the case here.