Saturday 19th March 2005
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Hyde United: Tim Mullock, John Gaynor, Nicky Hill, Lincoln Adams, Alex Mortimer, John O'Kane (Paul Jones), Gerry Harrison (Craig Buckley), Phil Salt, Carl Barrowclough (Wayne Dean), Dale Johnson, Matty McNeil
Blyth Spartans: Wylam, Williams, Leeson, Snowdon, Forster, McCabe, Crawford, Fenton, Bell, Dale, Lowther. Subs: Shoulder, Ankers, Graham.
Hyde duly completed the double over the Spartans in the course of a week, but made heavy weather of it, in the glorious spring sunshine. A brace of goals from Dale Johnson ultimately clinched it, but the Tigers should have been home and dry before half time.
Johnson secured his first on 35 minutes when Matty McNeil flicked on Nicky Hill’s cross and he was on hand to slot past reserve ‘keeper Darren Wylam. In fact, Wylam was in the thick of action throughout the first half having constant difficulty with Alex Mortimer’s in-swinging corners. Right on half time a Mortimer screamer was inches wide.
The Tigers should have doubled their lead a minute into the second half when Johnson was narrowly wide. If that had gone in, the floodgates could have opened, but instead Blyth clawed their way back into the game and had a purple patch for 15 minutes with Hyde defending desperately.
Steve Waywell introduced Wayne Dean and he made all the difference. He could have scored in a minute, and generally wreaked havoc for the rest of the game. Gerry Harrison who gets stronger each game ultimately gave Hyde some breathing space as his 20-yarder squirmed under the despairing Wylam. Normal service had been resumed and with five minutes left Johnson pounced after another error from Wylam to get the third following good work from Mortimer and Dean.
Some of the shirt-sleeved crowd had been critical of Hyde’s performance, but that was harsh as a 3-0 victory, with three regulars missing, over a tough uncompromising team, was ultimately a great result. Three more points also, in the pursuit of Workington. The title dream is still on and with three of the championship contenders still to visit Ewen Fields, it is in the Tigers’ own hands.