Friday 1st December 2006
Leigh RMI: Lamb, Unsworth, Brockley, Macauley, Maddox, Ellison, Settle, Hussin, Simm, Jackson, Roscoe. Subs: Lugsden, Mann, Jones, Owen, Dillon
Hyde United: Jean-Paul Ndjebayi, David German, Paul Armstrong (Danny Caldecott), Earl Davis, Michael Taylor, Nathan Wharton, David Flitcroft, Steve Pickford, Dale Johnson (Steve Brackenridge), Gareth Seddon, Paul Gedman (Nicky Clee). Subs not used: Gerry Harrison, Chris Lynch.
After the euphoria of the victory at Chasetown, Hyde were brought down to earth with bump at the surreal surroundings of Hilton Park on Friday night. The Tigers never really recovered from conceding a goal in the very first minute in front of a Spartan crowd of just 151 housed in just one stand, with three sides of the ground out of bounds. It was fortunate that the large contingent of Hyde fans made plenty of noise in the eerie stadium.
Leigh took the lead almost from the kick-off as a ball was sent across the Hyde area. The defenders failed to clear as the impressive Chris Simm slotted home at the far post past the recalled Jean Paul Ndjebayi as Craig Dootson had failed to recover from a bad challenge on Tuesday and was still nursing bruised ribs.
The Tigers responded well and a superb run from Dale Johnson set up Gareth Seddon whose shot was deflected for a corner. It was Johnson again on 36 minutes who hit the ‘keepers legs after another brilliant piece of skill and seconds later David Flitcroft was inches wide with a free-kick.
In the second period, Leigh slowed the game down whenever they could to stop Hyde getting up a head of steam. The referee, Mr Duncan, was completely ineffective throughout and had a game to forget and although he added on seven minutes at the end, he should have dealt much earlier with the blatant time-wasting. He was not helped by his assistants as the game seemed to pass them by. Frustration set in for the Tigers with a series of bookings for petty offences as the referee lost control.
Hyde were still creating chances and Nathan Wharton missed from three yards with the goal at his mercy. He was the victim of a bad bounce which had been evident all evening on the bumpy pitch. As the game wore on, Hyde frequently gave the ball away, so the lively forwards did not get the service they needed, whilst the defence just had one of those nights with a succession of sliced clearances when quality balls were needed.
In the seventh minute of added time, Leigh broke clear and substitute Kieran Lugsden hammered the ball past Ndjebayi for an unlikely second goal to round off a thoroughly dismal night for Hyde. The travelling fans certainly deserved better and probably wished they had stayed at home and watched Coronation Street instead.
Report by Tony Beard.