Friday 26th December 2003
Northern Premier League First Division
Witton Albion: Gibson, Evans, Johnson,Pritchard, Furnival, Pavey, Salt, Dicken, Moseley, Barlow, Yates. Subs: Foy, Sargeson, Hughes
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Steven Clegg, Ian Pendlebury, Paul Jones, Andy Waine (John Gaynor), John O'Kane, Nicky Hill, Phil Salt, Neil Tolson, Anthony Wright (Kieran Delaney), Matty McNeil. Subs not used: Tony Ellis. Sent off: Paul Jones, Matty McNeil, Tony Ellis.
This is another game the Tigers should have won, but in the end they finished with nothing and only 9 men on the pitch for the second away match running. Substitute Tony Ellis was also sent off as the deputy official lost control in the final minutes of another wise absorbing game.
There was drama from the outset as Darell Dicken put Witton two up within twelve minutes with two superb strikes from outside the box. Hyde clawed their way back into the game and on twenty minutes Paul Gibson could only fumble Phil Salt's free kick into the net to give the Tigers a lifeline. Joy was shortlived as ten minutes later, leading scorer Mike Moseley, looking yards offside, again gave Witton a two goal cushion. Right on half time, Neil Tolson miskicked in front of goal, but Andy Waine was on hand to lash the ball home.
Further drama during the interval as referee Mr. Butler could not continue. It seemed no loss at the time as his performance in the first half was inept. It was best remembered for a bad tackle on Tolson, for which he gave Hyde 'advantage' only for Witton to break clear and score their third goal.
With senior assistant, Mr Bond taking control for the second half, so did Hyde. Chance after chance went begging, before Paul Jones, under pressure, headed past Tim Mullock for a crazy own goal. Two minutes later Tolson was on hand to convert a Ian Pendlebury corner and the Tigers were back into it, but despite creating more chances were unable to find the killer touch. They were also unlucky when a blatant penalty for a foul on Matty mcNeil was turned down.
In the last minute, the game erupted. First McNeil was given a straight red for a comment made to the referee after he was again upended in the box. The ball was kicked downfield and Jones completed his nightmare with an ill judged tackle from behind. Another straight red, albeit a little unlucky as it was his first foul of the game.
Substitute Tony Ellis, who was warming up behind the linesman, added his thoughts and the deputy referee who had now completely lost control, showed another red. Still Hyde found time to miss two more chances before Mr.Bond brought a most eventful afternoon to a close. Hyde were again left to rue missed chances and a minute of total madness from players and officials alike.