Tuesday 26th December 2006
Hyde United: Craig Dootson, David German, Paul Howarth (Chris Lynch), Earl Davis, Michael Taylor, Nathan Wharton, David Flitcroft, Steve Pickford, Dale Johnson (Paul Gedman), Gareth Seddon, Nicky Clee. Subs not used: Gerry Harrison, Lincoln Adams, Jean-Paul Ndjebayi. Sent off: Gareth Seddon.
Stalybridge Celtic: Paul Pettinger; Grant Black; Scott Maxfield; Barrie Keeling; Mark Hume; Ashley Winn; Steve Smith (Dominic Krief 9 mins); Paul Sykes; Lee Ellington; Steve Brodie; Neil Prince (Cayne Hanley 56 mins) Unused Subs: Ben Smith; Kevin Parr; Nick Buxton. Sent Off: Hume
This was a thrilling encounter with Hyde fully deserving the points in a pulsating game. However that is only half the story because as derby’s go this was certainly on the tame side, so how the referee can finish with 9 bookings, two of which resulted in red cards remains a mystery. In addition, Stalybridge Manager, John Reed was banished from the touchline for a half-time altercation and now faces an FA Charge.
For the first half hour, nothing went right for Celtic. After just fourteen minutes, former Tiger, Steve Smith collapsed with a serious leg injury and was taken to hospital. Mark Hume was then booked for delaying a throw in before Hyde took the lead on 27 minutes. Dave Flitcroft lobbed forward for Earl Davis to show excellent silky skills in setting up Gareth Seddon to score. Just three minutes later, Hume held back Steve Pickford as he tried to burst through and was half way to the dressing room before the referee produced a second yellow. Paul Pettinger was booked for protesting, although the decision looked correct. Seddon, Pickford and Davis were then booked in quick succession as Celtic produced their best football of the game and it was no surprise when Lee Ellington equalised on 38 minutes with an opportunist goal.
Hyde started the second half the stronger and on 52 minutes Pickford went clear, but his first shot came back off Pettinger’s knees, as did his second attempt , but it proved third time lucky as his next try found Seddon, who headed into an empty net. It was now all Hyde with Dale Johnson marginally wide and then having a goal disallowed in the space of two minutes.
Celtic fought back strongly and Hyde’s defence had to be at its best, but there was still time for Davis to head inches wide. Flitcroft was then booked for what looked like a good tackle and the result was still in the balance with two minutes left as Seddon broke clear. He appeared to be clipped in the area, but the referee thought otherwise and produced a second yellow for a dive. A very controversial decision and a sad end after Seddon had played so superbly throughout.
With just a minute remaining, Michael Taylor found himself on the left and his cross was gleefully side-footed home by Nathan Wharton for his first home goal of the season to end a scintillating game which had been been played in a great spirit with credit to both sides. It is a shame referees feel they have to impress the Assessor on technicalities rather than actually refereeing the game to the benefit of fans and players alike.