Saturday 16th December 2006
F.A. Trophy 1st Round
Halifax Town: Mawson, Doughty, Quinn, Kearney, Forrest, Smeltz, Killeen, Toulson, Senior, Thompson, Atkinson Subs: Sugden, Roberts, Jacobs, Gray, Butler.
Hyde United: Jean-Paul Ndjebayi, David German, Paul Howarth, Earl Davis, Michael Taylor, Nathan Wharton, David Flitcroft, Steve Pickford, Nicky Clee, Gareth Seddon (Dale Johnson), Paul Gedman. Subs not used: Gerry Harrison, Steve Brackenridge, Chris Lynch, Lee Rick.
Hyde were unlucky to go out of the FA Trophy at Halifax on Saturday after an impressive performance against the Conference high-flyers. Halifax reached the Conference play-offs last season and look on track for going close again, but the Tigers were not overawed in the surreal atmosphere of a partly built stadium.
The Tigers had great support with more than 200 fans making the short journey across the Pennines, helped by their Sponsors offer of free transport. There was plenty to cheer about, but Hyde were punished for a couple of mistakes and were not helped by a pedantic and inconsistent referee. He had a dreadful game finishing with seven bookings in a game without a serious tackle and he almost had a sending off as he showed Paul Howarth a yellow and then a red, until he realised that Howarth wasn’t actually in his notebook. To his credit he reversed the decision, but his impression of Graham Poll was not appreciated.
In the early stages, Hyde took the game to the home side and Nathan Wharton was only inches wide after six minutes, but the visitors were made to pay after quarter of an hour when Chris Senior scored an opportunist goal after a twice taken free kick. Hyde held their own for the rest of half against the speedy Halifax midfield.
Within two minutes of the break, Hyde were level as the impressive Wharton hooked the ball home. They should have had another as chances went begging but were cruelly brought down to earth on 65 minutes as Earl Davis was harshly penalised for a foul, when it looked like he has just used his body strength wide on the left. The ball was swung over into the Tiger’s six yard box and Rob Atkinson got a touch before the ball rebounded in off the luckless David Flitcroft.
There was still time for Hyde to create more chances and Davis had a header off the ‘keepers legs whilst substitute Dale Johnson was inches wide just minutes after coming on. With just two minutes remaining, Halifax broke clear looking suspiciously offside and when the ball was passed inside to Shane Smeltz he, too, looked offside as he was ahead of the play. He slotted the ball home and Hyde were deflated.
With seconds remaining, Davis was cautioned for ‘persistent fouling’ which summed up the referee’s performance as seconds later he brought proceedings to an end. Hyde were out but certainly not disgraced in this entertaining encounter.
By Tony Beard