Tuesday 3rd December 2002
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Lancaster City: Thornley, Fensome, Haddow, Sparrow, Kilbane, Mercer, Yates, Love, Whittaker, Brown, Atkinson. Subs: Bennett, Jones, Welch
Hyde United: Peter Crookes, Dave Swanick, Matthew Wright, Dominic Crookes, Martin Diggle, Phil Lockett, Mike Meszaros, Scott Westwood (Julian Ward), Steve Foster, Lee Evans, Rick Whelan. Subs not used: Paul Ashwell, Paul McGuire. Sent off: Dave Swanick.
Another dreadful performance from the beleaguered Tigers as they capitulated in the second half at the Giant Axe. The pitch was poor, but that was no excuse as Hyde were frequently overrun in midfield and offered little appetite for the battle. To cap a miserable evening, Dave Swanick was sent off for two bookables and will now have an additional suspension to the one he has already got to serve.
Hyde gave debuts to centre half Martin Diggle and midfielder Phil Lockett, whilst Troy Hayder, Ryan Hevicon and Leon Smith failed to show so it was a much changed side which took the field. Peter Crookes had a groin strain, but had to play as Steven Lyons was not available.
The Tigers went behind after just 3 minutes as Jimmy Love went through unchallenged to score a simple goal. Lancaster always looked the more likely to score, but Crookes in goal produced some excellent saves despite his injury. With one minute of the half left, Lee Evans headed an equaliser from a Mike Meszaros cross. In injury time the Tigers then conceded another dreadful goal as Graeme Atkinson hit the ball home.
Lancaster always had the upper hand once Paul Haddow had headed them further in front with a good goal. They had the luxury of being able to take off their strikers, but still control the game. (At least Andy Whittaker didn't score!). Hyde never threatened after that, but the match exploded in the last 5 minutes as Swanick was booked for a kick at substitute Chris Bennett, who then received no caution for a late tackle on the Hyde skipper. Next time Bennett got the ball, another lunge and an early bath. Totally unnecessary.
In the last seconds Diggle knocked the ball past Crookes to take the shine off an impressive debut. One of very few high spots on a dismal night at Lancaster.