Saturday 18th November 2006
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, David German, Chris Lynch (Paul Armstrong), Earl Davis, Michael Taylor, Nathan Wharton, Paul Howarth, Steve Pickford, Dale Johnson (Danny Caldecott), Gareth Seddon, Paul Gedman. Subs not used: Lee Rick, Steve Brackenridge, Gerry Harrison.
Nuneaton Borough: Acton, Oddy, Chapman, Denny, Moore, Brown, O Burgess, Noon, Murphy, Darby, Staff. Subs: McPhee, Reeves, Fitzpatrick, D Burgess, Franklin
Nuneaton’s last two visits to Ewen Fields have resulted in narrow defeats and this game went the same way after some dreadful defending by the visitors towards the end of the first half. A spirited fightback in the second half almost secured an equaliser, but on the balance of chances, Hyde deserved to win by some margin. It was a great game and provided excellent entertainment for the somewhat disappointing crowd of 413.
Hyde, having won at Harrogate in midweek went into this game with confidence sky high, looking for that elusive two wins in a row, which has eluded them in this erratic season to date.
On a bright and breezy autumn afternoon, the visitors took the initiative and after 10 minutes Derek Brown’s header was tipped over by Hyde ‘keeper Craig Dootson. This gave Hyde some impetus and six minutes later Paul Gedman crossed from the right and Dale Johnson neatly headed home. The Tigers could have increased their lead two minutes later when Gareth Seddon headed wide with the goal at his mercy.
Frustration was setting in for Nuneaton as David Staff was booked for needlessly kicking the ball away, but the impressive Jez Murphy equalised on 28 minutes after beating two men before slotting the ball in the corner of the net past a surprised Dootson. Brown had another header just over as the game swung from end to end.
However, the visitors realistically lost the game in the last ten minutes of the first half, after some woeful defending. First, Seddon broke clear down the left and squared the ball to Nathan Wharton whose shot took two deflections before entering the net off Paul Gedman and four minutes later Johnson turned provider as his cross was neatly headed home by Seddon with the Nuneaton defence all at sea. It could have been worse for the visitors as Paul Howarth struck the angle right on half-time from 25 yards.
Hyde’s 4-3-3 formation continued to cause problems for Nuneaton’s overworked defence at the start of the second half and Darren Acton was forced to make a good save as Seddon burst through. Gedman also went close before Duane Darby set up Staff, who hooked the ball home from close range on 65 minutes to give the visitors some hope.
Nuneaton then had their best spell of the game with plenty of possession, but the three Hyde forwards were still dangerous on the break. Gedman went close and could have clinched it seconds later as he rounded Acton before his weak shot was scrambled away. He had been fouled and could have gone down in the area, but despite stumbling stayed on his feet. It was now end to end stuff, with Dootson having to be at his best in the Hyde goal.
With time running out both Seddon and Gedman were inches wide for Hyde as Nuneaton threw players forward in search of an equaliser. There had been plenty of injuries in this pulsating game and it was no surprise when the referee indicated an additional five minutes.
There was still time for Gedman to go close again, before man of the match Chris Lynch was injured for Hyde and ultimately had to be helped off the pitch. It was a sad end after he had played so well.
With the clock showing seven minutes of injury time, Nuneaton forced a corner. Everybody came up, including Acton, and Neil Moore’s header looked to be heading for the net before Dootson made a superb save to fully atone for his earlier error and secure Hyde the points.
Report by Tony Beard