Wednesday 15th April 2009
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, Karl Munroe, Lee Rick, David Thompson, Farrell Kilbane, Aiden Kirkbride, David Owens (Neil Tolson), Tom Manship (Mark Innes), Leon Kelly, Chris Simm, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Harry Bockerie, Adam Oakes, Chris Cooke.
Southport: Atkins, Lever, McGinn, Flynn, Davis, Moogan, Winn, Powell, Booth, Kilheeney, Prince. Subs: Gray, McMillan, Moore, Whalley, Mitchley.
This was a great game which kept the fans on the edges of their seats to the very end, but at the final whistle the honours were shared in a game both sides desperately needed to win and had gone flat out to do so.
Both sides went into this third game in five days with key players injured, but it didnít stop the excitement in this end to end encounter.
Southport probably felt they had done enough after taking the lead on 20 minutes through Michael Powell after he prodded home a corner after Craig Dootson had made a brilliant save from Neil Prince in the build up and then led for more than half the game.
However they didnít bank on Hydeís never-say-die attitude. Neil Tolson introduced himself with twenty minutes remaining as a final throw of the dice and in true Tolson tradition had equalised within five minutes after deputy goalkeeper Ross Atkins made a hash of a cross.
The visitors who had sat back settling for a 1-0 victory now had to come out again to clinch a winner, whilst the Tigers knew they were in with a chance of an unlikely victory. In the event, it produced the best fifteen minutes of football seen at Ewen Fields this season.
Tolson had an effort scrambled off the line, whilst Southport came back and Powell clipped the top of the bar. Aiden Kirkbride had a thirty-yarder scrambled over the bar by Atkins, who had lost his confidence after the goal, but the visitors came back in the second minute of injury time when Adam Flynn again clipped the bar. It was pulsating stuff and credit must go to both sides for giving it their all as well as referee Mr Grundy, who kept a low profile and kept the game flowing.
Whether a point will ultimately be enough for either side will remain to be seen, but both sides had contributed to a thrilling game nevertheless.