Saturday 21st August 2004
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, Lee Brough, Nicky Hill, Paul Jones, John Gaynor, John O'Kane, Wayne Dean (Andy Waine), Chris Lynch (Craig Buckley), Carl Barrowclough, Dale Johnson (Neil Tolson), Matty McNeil
Gateshead: Connell, Smith, Atkinson, Flynn, Curtis, Colligan, Robson, Miley, Taylor, Garwood, Weatherley. Subs: Martin, Hargreaves, Coia
Hyde started the new season where they left off last year with an emphatic victory over Gateshead. The visitors were at the end of a traumatic two weeks after it had been announced they were unlikely to start the season. Manager Derek Bell had valiantly struggled to keep the club afloat and with the promise of new sponsors on board, Gateshead made the long journey south. By half -time, he probably wondered whether it had all been worth it as the Tigers had stormed into a three goal lead, which could easily have been doubled.
The Tigers opened the scoring on nine minutes when Matty McNeil, who had a superb game, set up Dale Johnson to score. More chances came and went, but it was not until the 40th minutes that Wayne Dean scored from close range. Right on half-time the irrepressible Mc Neil made it three after good work by Carl Barrowclough.
Gateshead defended deeper in the second half, but maintained only thee men at the back which gave the Hyde front men plenty of space and how well they used it. Neil Tolson, struggling with knee problems, replaced Johnson and was soon in the action with a couple of chances. As the game progressed, Gateshead began to wilt and after more chances had been missed, Tolson popped up, with the aid of centre back James Curtis, to score Hyde's fourth.
Hyde were without midfield general Phil Salt, who may need a cartiledge operation, but Chris Lynch moved into midfield and proved an able deputy.The Tigers defence were never really troubled, although Tim Mullock produced a couple of fine saves when it mattered. All in all a most satisfactory start for the Tigers, but I think there will be sterner tests ahead. The only disappointment on the day was the sparce attendance of just 210. The Tigers and their style of football deserve many more.