Saturday 4th November 2006
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, David German, Chris Lynch, Earl Davis, Michael Taylor, Paul Howarth, Gerry Harrison (Steve Brackenridge), Steve Pickford, Dale Johnson (Danny Caldecott), Gareth Seddon, Paul Gedman. Subs not used: Mike Flynn, Paul Armstrong, Lee Rick.
Worcester City: McDonnell, Ward, Burley, Smith, Thompson, Lyttle, Warmer, Colley, Danks, Wilding, Clegg. Subs: Hodnett, Preece, Khan, Cornes, Traore.
Hyde fought out a goalless draw with Worcester City on Saturday on a dank afternoon totally devoid of any fireworks. It was Hyde’s second consecutive stalemate and had the statisticians reaching for the record books. Last season the matches at Ewen Fields averaged more than four per game, but this season goals are harder to come by as teams are more evenly matched than ever, with the majority of clubs still in touching distance of the leaders.
The Tigers gave a debut to Mike Taylor from Lancaster at centre half and he performed excellently replacing the suspended Lincoln Adams in a solid defence, although the expected debut of Michael Jones did not materialise. With Nathan Wharton also suspended, Steve Waywell pushed up defender Paul Howarth into midfield.
However the midfield trio were constantly overrun by the efficient and well organised visitors and Hyde constantly found themselves on the back-foot. When they did win possession they frequently gave it away and then had to start all over again. Hurriedly taken free kicks didn’t help and how the team cried out for a creative midfielder in the Phil Salt or Jamie Milligan mould. If only their legs matched their ability!
In a game of few chances, Gareth Seddon came closest for Hyde three minutes into injury time when he clipped a post in a goalmouth scramble. Minutes earlier, Craig Dootson had produced the save of the match to thwart Worcester at the other end. To be fair the Tigers defended well. Earl Davis, who struggled at the start of the season now looks the player everybody thought he was and the fact that Hyde have conceded only one goal in four games (and that being a freak) shows an excellent foundation to build on. Waywell made two late substitutions, but it had no impact and Steve Brackenridge had the distinction of having come on in the last two games and amassing just three minutes in both.
With Waywell on the look out for the aforementioned midfielder and Nicky Clee resuming full training this week, things are looking brighter for the Tigers, but if they do want to consider themselves play-off contenders, they need to sneak a goal when the defence has played so well, to get three points rather than one. They have been close to doing so in the last two games, but not quite close enough.
Report by Tony Beard