Friday 24th March 2006
Leigh RMI: Coates, Harris, Roscoe, Carrington, Coyne, Melling, Williams, Willis, Smith, Simm, Wilkinson Subs: Dunne, Brockley, Shillito, Hay, Mann
Hyde United: Mark Crossley, David German, Chris Lynch (Neil Tolson), Lincoln Adams, Mike Flynn, Danny Caldecott (Steve Brackenridge), Wayne Dean, Lee Unsworth, Nicky Clee, Dale Johnson, Mark Quayle. Subs not used: John O'Kane, Paul Jones, Tony Ellis. Sent off: Mark Quayle, Tony Ellis.
Hyde grabbed a dramatic late equaliser, three minutes into injury time, despite playing the last half hour with 10 men after Mark Quayle had been harshly sent off. Tony Ellis was also banished to the stands for protesting. The referee, Mr McGee had a dreadful game and certainly did the Tigers no favours as two clear penalty claims for handball were waved away.
With Jean Paul Ndjebayi suspended, Hyde gave a debut to Mark Crossley in goal and he produced two stunning saves in a pretty even first half. The nearest Hyde came to scoring was a Lee Unsworth effort which clipped the bar. The Tigers had most of the play in the second half despite the loss of Quayle on 60 minutes for a late tackle. His frustration showed as he had been fouled twice in the build up, but the ineffective referee had taken to action.
For long periods the game looked a certain no score draw. The pitch was heavy and there was little atmosphere from a spartan crowd, but the Railwaymen went in front on a rare breakaway on 72 minutes through Andy Roscoe. The Tigers continued to battle and Dale Johnson and Danny Caldecott both went close. Caldecott had a storming game in midfield, deputising for the injured Nathan Wharton. With two minutes of injury time gone, Hyde forced a corner. Enter Neil Tolson from the bench. Two corners were scrambled away, but on the third, Mike Flynn headed goalwards and there was Tolson to sweep the ball home with his one and only touch. A Steve Waywell masterstroke.
A dramatic finale but nothing less than the injury ravaged Tigers deserved.