Saturday 29th December 2007
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Chris Brass, Steve Pickford, David Morley, Peter Band, Mark Innes, Dale Stephens, Dale Johnson (Chris Lynch), Matthew Tipton, Gareth Seddon (Chris Simm), Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Craig Robinson, Lee Cartwright, Nathan Wharton.
Harrogate Town: Musselwhite, Price, Merris, Ingram, Hume, Wood, Hunter, Dunning, Hackworth, Holland, Bettney. Subs: Whittington for Bettney, McLaughlin, Burton for Wood, Ellerker, Peat.
In the Blue Square North top of the table clash, honours finished even after Hyde failed to capitalise on a strong second half performance by allowing visitors Harrogate to grab a last minute equaliser in a tremendous match at Ewen Fields.
Harrogate welcomed back Mark Hume after suspension, whilst the Tigers brought in Dale Johnson for Chris Lynch as the only change from the Boxing day team which lost to Stalybridge Celtic.
The game kicked off in driving rain but the conditions did not dampen the excitement as the visitors stormed forward with the wind behind them. In the first minute Craig Dootson had to save superbly to fingertip Darren Dunning’s shot onto the crossbar, whilst Gareth Seddon was only inches wide at the other before Chris Bettney put Harrogate in front after just three minutes following good link up play.
Hyde equalised on fifteen minutes when centre half Peter Band pounced on hesitancy in the Harrogate defence to slot the ball home. Chances were coming thick and fast on the slippery surface.
Matthew Tipton went close for the Tigers on thirty one minutes and was again involved on forty two minutes when he appeared to be brought down by Paul Musselwhite in the Harrogate goal. In the build up Seddon had been clearly fouled on the edge of the area, but referee Heywood played ‘advantage’ but then turned down appeals for a penalty. This was just one of a number of debatable decisions from the official.
In the second period, Hyde stepped up the pace and Mr Heywood was again the centre of attention on fifty seven minutes when Seddon was clearly brought down on the edge of the box but he waved away any appeals. A minute later Tipton brought a superb save from Musselwhite as the Tigers pressed forward.
Seddon headed Hyde in front on sixty seven minutes after a great cross from Nicky Clee. It was now all Hyde and they should have increased their lead when first Band shot over from ten yards and then Tipton headed inches wide when well placed. Harrogate were using the offside game to try and contain the pace of the Hyde forwards, but they were living dangerously with the Tigers being thwarted by a number of close calls.
In a grandstand finish both teams had chances to score before substitute Steve Burton equalised for the visitors by volleying home right at the death to end a superb advertisement for Non League football and give Harrogate a point they barely deserved.