Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Hyde United

Simpson (84), Chilaka (90)


Hednesford Town

(0) 2

(0) 0



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Callam Mendez-Jones




Mickleover Sports (H) 24.11.18

The Pitmen fail to follow up last weekend's win over Warrington with another positive result but can be proud of their commitment and character as they are downed by Hyde United at Ewen Fields this afternoon


Last Saturday's win and performance had lifted Rob Smith's side back into the top half of the league table, with the benefit of a week without a game to enable players to recover sufficiently. The previous week had seen skipper Stefan Galinski depart the club due to a combination of travelling issues and budget cuts, with the former Grantham man signing for big-spending league rivals Basford United. Smith was able to welcome the talented Jed Davies back into the fold after the playmaker had missed nearly two months of the campaign out injured, but was without Matt Dodd, Lewis Archer and Osebi Abadaki, all of whom were injured. Josef Bursik was once again missing due to England U19 duty, with veteran stopper Jose Veiga handed a first league start of the season to cover for the one game Bursik was missing


Hyde had returned to step three in the summer after a two-season stay at step four, stabilising the club after a disastrous three relegations in three seasons from the National League to the Evo-Stik Division One from 2014 to 2016. Manager Darren Kelly has overseen the rise of the Tigers since his appointment in 2016, winning promotion after finishing third in the Evo-Stik Division One North behind big-spending Scarborough Athletic and South Shields. Kelly's squad was full of experienced performers, particularly players who had performed at step two level such as Nicky Platt, Matty Hughes, Chib Chilaka, Peter Crook and Jerome Wright. Kelly had lost the experienced Tom Greaves last week, with the former FC United of Manchester man electing to join the up-and-coming Ossett United following a short spell at Ewen Fields


Veiga was into action early on, making the first of a string of saves in the third minutes as he made an unorthodox stop to turn a Tom Pratt header away from goal after Luke Porritt had picked him out with a left-wing cross


A powerful run from Dan Sweeney saw the on-loan striker move deep into the Hyde half on nine minutes, cleverly back-heeling the ball to Matt Curley, whose deep cross was too high for Nathan Fox to turn home at the far post


The home side broke quickly after mopping up the Pitmen's pressure, with Pratt playing Porritt through on goal down the left wing. Porritt cut inside and laid the ball off into the path of Connor Simpson, whose sidefooted effort was palmed away by Veiga


A quick counter-attack from the hosts in the sixteenth minute saw them go agonisingly close to opening the scoring, as Wright's intended through-ball was inadvertently played back to him by Sam Griffiths, resulting in Wright's effort bobbling past Veiga and coming back off the inside of the post and back into play. A close call for the visitors


Midway through the half, the Pitmen were nearly rewarded for excellent, patient build-up play as no fewer than seven players and twenty passes were involved before Curley's deep cross was headed into the arms of Hyde keeper Crook by Reece King at the far post


Two minutes later, a free-kick won by Sweeney was floated to the far post by Joe Fitzpatrick, where new signing Rudy Misambo headed narrowly wide after rising highest to meet the ball


The Pitmen were dealt a key double blow just before the half-hour mark, as King was shown his second straight red card of the season following a late, two-footed lunge on Tom Pratt in midfield. King looked to have won a portion of the ball, but the referee saw otherwise and had no hesitation in showing the young midfielder a red card, picked up in a similar way to the one he had earned against Scarborough Athletic on the opening day of the season. This will now see King miss the next four games with a long suspension and fine to come 


Smith - clearly incensed at the red card - continued to berate the officials at the award of the red card and got himself into hot water for his comments towards the men in black, earning himself a sending-off for his aggressive actions. Another example of ill-discipline that has blighted the squad throughout the past year and yet more poor leading from the front, setting an example to the young squad


The away side regrouped and did well to cover for the loss of King in midfield. Skipper Charlie Gatter stepped into a role higher up the pitch, with Sweeney and Cockerline compromising their attacking instincts a little to make supporting runs out wide


A quick break from the hosts on forty-one saw Veiga tested once more as Ross Daly played Pratt in on goal, with the former Trafford forward playing the ball back into the path of Grant Roberts. His rising shot was tipped over the bar by Veiga, who did enough to turn the ball away from goal


In the final minute if the half, Pratt was denied by Veiga once more as he raced onto a through ball, only to be denied by a smothering save by the soon-to-be 42-year-old


Hyde continued to press early in the second half, but a half-time team talk from Larry Chambers saw the Pitmen emerge well-organised and more disciplined in their approach. Veiga made an error of judgement as he came to challenge Simpson for a high ball, only succeeding in punching the ball straight into the path of Pratt. The Hednesford defence did well to crowd the forward out, forcing Wright into a bobbling shot wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area


Pratt had the ball in the net for Hyde on fifty-one minutes, heading past Veiga after Wright's cross into the penalty, but Hyde were denied the opening goal by an earlier offside flag


The excellent Pratt got the better of Misambo on fifty-eight minutes, slipping past the centre-back and laying the ball off to Platt, who had just come on as a substitute. The former FC United midfielder was off-target with his effort, dragging his shot wide from the edge of the penalty area


A rare foray into the Hyde half from the Pitmen saw them break quickly as a Fitzpatrick through ball to find Sweeney on sixty-six minutes. The on-loan Solihull man tried his luck with a powerful first-time shot that Crook saved at the second attempt


Lifted by Sweeney's effort, the Pitmen gained confidence going forwards with Cockerline dragging a weak effort wide of goal as he took the ball forwards two minutes later


Hyde had been ponderous in possession during the second period and wasted their best effort since the restart on sixty-nine minutes. A deep cross from Kyle Brownhill found Porritt unmarked at the far post, but the midfielder somehow turned his shot wide of goal with the net gaping


The Pitmen made their first change of the afternoon on seventy-two minutes; Cockerline had run himself into the ground covering the extra turf required by all of the remaining ten men and was given a deserved ovation by the Hednesford supporters as he headed off as he was replaced by Davies


A clutch of Hyde set-pieces failed to break the Pitmen's resolve, with Veiga doing well on two successive occasions to claim deep corner kicks from the left. There was a growing feeling amongst the Pitmen's supporters that they could earn themselves a point after all, despite having been hamstrung by a lack of numbers for over fifty minutes of the match


Davies got in on the action with nine minutes remaining, slipping the ball through to the excellent Fox as he made another one of his charges forwards. With little to aim for, Fox tried his luck with a long-range effort that rippled the side-netting


However, the Pitmen finally ran out of luck with six minutes remaining, as Hyde finally got the breakthrough; a deep cross from Daly drifted over the heads over everyone and away from goal, with Brownhill doing well to reach the ball before it went out of play. This seemed to catch the Pitmen out, with the men in white stopping play almost expecting a goal kick to be called. Daly's cross back in found Simpson, who tapped home from close-range to give Hyde a lead that they had to work hard for


Veiga made another fine save to keep his side in contention on eighty-seven minutes, tipping a low Roberts shot away from goal down to his right-hand side


With the game now slipping away from the battling away side, Chambers made the Pitmen's second-hand final change of the game with the late introduction of Michael Howard for Fitzpatrick, another player visibly shattered having worked hard in midfield


The hosts made the points safe with a killer second goal in added time. Pratt picked up the ball and ran at the Hednesford defence before slipping the ball into the path of Chilaka, who had come on as a late substitute. The former Bradford (Park Avenue) striker took a touch before firing past Veiga from twelve yards out to seal the win for the Tigers


A defeat is never nice to stomach, but the remaining players in white deserved the applause from the away supporters at the end of the game as they trudged off, having worked their socks off to try and earn their side a positive outcome on another day of ill-discipline in some quarters. Ultimately, it was tired legs and tired minds that were the Pitmen's undoing, with another full week of rest ahead for them before they return to Keys Park to face Mickleover Sports next weekend. This fixture kicks off a run of games against sides in the bottom half of the table, many of which the Pitmen should be looking to take points from to enable them to consolidate their position in mid-table, well away from the drop zone


Hyde United: Crook, Harrison © (Platt 57), Brownhill, Daly, McCombe , Fagbola, Wright (Chilaka 77), Roberts (Haydock 90), Simpson, Pratt, Porritt       Subs Unused: O'Connor, Nyaupembe


Hednesford Town: Veiga, CurleyFox, Mendez-Jones , Misambo , Griffiths, Gatter ©, Fitzpatrick (Howard 88), Cockerline (Davies 72), Sweeney, King ▆ (29)    Subs Unused: Craddock, Coyle, Lycett


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