Saturday 1st October 2005
Nuneaton Borough: Nuneaton Borough Acton, Oddy, Love, Reeves, Moore, Angus, Collins, Noon, Frew, Murphy, Staff. Subs: Quailey, Poole, Whittake, Wilkin, Fitzpatrick.
Hyde United: Mark Westhead, Lincoln Adams, Danny Caldecott, Paul Jones, Jamie Milligan, Nicky Hill, Steve Brackenridge, Phil Salt, Nicky Clee, Dale Johnson (Craig Dudley), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Wayne Dean, Chris Lynch, Paul Armstrong, Jean-Paul Ndjebayi.
Hyde survived a first half battering at title chasing Nuneaton to outplay the home side in the second half only to concede a goal six minutes from time, when a goalless draw looked the most likely result. It was hard on the Tigers who had battled against a strong breeze in the first half and endured constant pressure from the home side, which included six successive corners at one stage.
The Tigers started sluggishly and Nuneaton took full advantage with the wind at their backs on a pleasant autumn afternoon. The Hyde defence, with Nicky Hill replacing the absent John O’Kane, were subjected to wave after wave of attacks, but the defence stood firm with the help of Matty McNeil who headed one off the line from under the bar. Mark Westhead was in great form and the Tigers were mighty relieved to go in all square at the interval, although Nicky Clee had a great chance right at the end of the half, but shot over.
The second half was a different story however. Hyde got their passing game together and repeatedly caused problems for the suspect Nuneaton defence. Dale Johnson was desperately unlucky to see a shot cannon off the post and then go along the goal-line before being cleared. In all honesty he should have scored, but he was unlucky minutes later when Darren Acton saved with his legs.
Westhead was still saving everything Nuneaton could muster and made a great double save on 75 minutes, which looked like he had secured a point for the Tigers. However with time running out, substitute Brain Quailey benefited from some slack play from Hyde’s midfield in giving the ball away, and although Westhead’s despairing dive got a hand to the ball, the ball hit the net for an unlikely winner.
It was harsh on the Tigers after they had showed tremendous character in fighting back to take the game to Nuneaton, but with only one win in nine league games, Hyde are realising you get punished at this level for mistakes and not taking chances. Hopefully Neil Tolson will be back shortly to add some punch upfront and take the chances when they come.