Nationwide Conference North

Hyde United

Harrison (20), Johnson (43), (90), Wharton (58) 

Hednesford Town

Hunter (42), Heath (50)

(2) 4

(1) 2



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Colin Hunter



Moor Green (H) 6.12.05

The Pitmen's woeful form in November continued into December this afternoon, as hosts Hyde gave their own hopes of survival a boost with all three points at Ewen Fields

The recent spell of wet weather had forced last Saturday's F.A. Trophy clash against Moor Green to be postponed, with the tie now due to be played this coming Tuesday at Keys Park. Under-pressure manager Chris Brindley rolled the dice once more as he was forced into fielding a fourth new goalkeeper of the season, with Stourbridge stopper Lewis Solly brought in to replace the suspended Richard Brush in the first of three changes to the side that had been heavily beaten against Harrogate Town two weeks ago; Ross Adams replaced the injured Ian Wright and player/manager Brindley came in up front ahead of Paul McMahon in the other two changes

Struggling Hyde were lying second bottom of the table at the start of play and had exited the F.A. Trophy at the first hurdle last weekend after a 5-1 beating from local rivals Stalybridge Celtic at Ewen Fields. Manager Steve Waywell - another manager coming under pressure to turn results around - made wholesale changes to his side for today's return to league action as Jean-Paul Ndebayi, Chris Lynch, Nathan Wharton, Steve Brackenbridge, Gerry Harrison and Nicky Clee all came into the side ahead of Mark Westhead, Danny Caldecott, Paul Jones, Carlos Meakin, Phil Salt and Neil Tolson

The visitors - looking for an immediate response to their dreadful display against Harrogate last time out - went close to opening the scoring within the first sixty seconds of the game as the ball was played back to Brindley, whose long ball forwards found Hunter out on the left. The winger cut inside and drove his shot at goal but was deflected into the path of Andy Bell by debutant Wharton, whose rebounded shot was well saved by Ndebayi, pushing the ball out for a Hednesford corner kick

Lee Williams took the resultant kick and floated the ball to the far post, where Richard Teesdale made a run into the box and headed into the Hednesford fans behind the goal

Hyde's first attack of the afternoon in the fifth minute saw youngster James Barrow make a run down the right flank and play Clee into space just outside the penalty area. The striker turned past Tom Marshall and fired over the crossbar with a rising effort at goal

In the ninth minute, Mike Flynn's long, raking ball forwards was flicked on by Clee and into the path of Matty McNeil, who turned past Adams but scuffed his shot into the hands of Solly

Good play from Hyde four minutes later saw Ndjebayi's long throwout picked up in midfield by Brackenbridge, who played McNeil into space behind Adams once more. The winger took two touches before looking to play Clee in on goal with a low cross into the penalty area, only for Solly to make a smothering save at the feet of the striker

Bell got on the end of Brindley's flick-on in the eighteenth minute as Williams played the ball up to his manager; Bell held off the challenge from Flynn but dragged his shot well wide of Ndjebayi's left-hand post

The hosts took the lead in the twentieth minute as forward Gerry Harrison was afforded time and space to pick up a loose ball in the Hednesford half of the pitch and advance on goal before shooting past Solly from twenty yards out

Bell - now without a goal in his last six games - latched onto Rob Heath's first-time pass just inside the Hyde penalty area two minutes later, turning back and laying the ball off to Danny Scheppel, who could only strike his shot well wide of goal

On twenty-eight minutes, Wharton - signed this week from Stalybridge - caused Tom Marshall problems as he twisted and turned past the young defender to make room for himself just inside the penalty area, but hit a weak shot straight at Solly

Hednesford hit back on the counter-attack through Hunter, who made a barnstorming run through the heart of the Hyde defence on thirty-two minutes but saw his shot blocked by the covering Flynn, who was having a fine game for the Tigers

Hunter was proving a tricky customer for the inexperienced Barrow, and another slalom-like run from the former Morecambe man on thirty-five minutes saw him beat the full-back and pull the ball back from the byeline

A minute later, Teesdale was taken off by the Pitmen despite showing no obvious signs of injury, prompting the visitors to bring McMahon on in his place; Brindley dropped back into central defence to allow McMahon to join partner Bell up front

Brindley headed high over the Hyde crossbar with eight minutes of the first half left, leaping characteristically to reach a Heath free-kick but nodded a couple of yards over the bar

Two minutes later, Branch's enterprising run down the left saw the youngster find McMahon with a well-delivered cross, only for the substitute to take a touch too many inside the Hyde penalty area and allow Flynn to clear the danger

McMahon turned provider for man of the match Hunter four minutes before half-time as the Pitmen got themselves back on level terms, holding the ball up well on the edge of the Hyde penalty area before finding the winger in space with a clever pass into his feet. Hunter took a touch before firing past Ndjebayi at his near post to make it 1-1

However, the Pitmen's recent defensive shortcomings were in evidence once more on forty-three minutes as they undid all their hard work in allowing Hyde to re-take the lead just before the break; a long and seemingly aimless ball forwards from Lincoln Adams was misjudged by Tom Marshall, who allowed the ball to bounce into the path of Dale Johnson and could not get back in front of the striker in time to stop him from firing past Solly from ten yards out

We had once again seen the best and the worst of the Pitmen in the first forty-five minutes; threatening on the break through Hunter and Bell but defensively suspect every time the opposition press them in their own third of the pitch

The men in green started the second period well and forced two corners in succession early on before they got themselves back on level terms once more in the fiftieth minute. Bell made his way down the right and beat Chris Lynch for pace before sending over a cross to the near post. Ndjebayi made a terrible hash of what should have been an easy claim at his near post, fumbling the ball into the path of the incoming Heath who slotted the loose ball home from close-range. Game on again

The Pitmen enjoyed their best spell of the game in the next ten minutes, exerting pressure on the Hyde defence and working Ndjebayi with several good chances. On fifty-two minutes, neat interplay involving McMahon and Heath played Hunter into space behind Barrow. He cut inside and tried his luck with an angled shot that Ndjebayi parried away at his near post

Three minutes later, the Hyde goalkeeper tipped another Brindley header over the crossbar for a Hednesford corner kick after Branch's long throw from the left had been flicked into the path of the Pitmen's manager by Bell

Bell's hold-up play on fifty-seven minutes brought Heath into the game once more as he laid the ball off to the former Stafford Rangers man thirty yards from goal. The midfielder stepped inside of a challenge from Brackenbridge and unleashed a powerful shot that swerved in the air and forced Ndjebayi into an unorthodox save down to his right

However, Hyde re-took the lead very much against the run of play a minute later as the Pitmen once again caused their own issues in defence with more sloppy play. Adams looked to clear his lines down the right but could only slice his clearance straight into the path of Wharton, who controlled the ball well twenty-five yards from goal before unleashing a fine swerving, dipping shot beyond the reach of Solly

The Pitmen were reeling once more and Wharton almost took advantage of more defensive errors just a minute later as he won a free-kick in a dangerous position after Brindley had brought him down. The same player took the free-kick and shot a foot or so wide of Solly's right-hand post

Hunter continued to look like the Pitmen's best route back into the game, probing down the left and always looking to create something; on sixty-three minutes, he gave substitute Danny Caldecott - on for the struggling Barrow - a welcome to the game as he tied the right-back up in knots before crossing to the near post, where Flynn hacked the ball away from the lurking figure of McMahon

Tom Marshall assumed responsibility from regular free-kick taker Williams midway through the second half as he thundered a shot narrowly past the post from twenty-five yards out after Scheppel had been fouled by Adams

Branch found Hunter with a ball that bounced along the left touchline and into the path of the winger on seventy minutes, with Hunter once again stealing half a yard on Caldecott and sending over a deep cross to the far post. Bell challenged Ndjedayi in the air and forced the stopper into palming the ball behind for another Hednesford corner kick

Williams delivered another fine free-kick into the danger zone three minutes later, finding the head of Marshall but could only watch as the teenager was penalised by the referee for pushing Ndjebayi in the build-up

With time starting to run out for the Pitmen to conjure up an equaliser, the away side brought on another striker with sixteen minutes remaining as Craig Marshall replaced Scheppel - this saw the Pitmen switch to a direct 4-3-3 formation, with McMahon flanked by Bell and the substitute up front

More questionable, but effective, goalkeeping from Ndjebayi on seventy-nine minutes saw him fumble Heath's long-range effort in front of Bell but managed to scoop the ball away from the clutches of the striker and turn it behind for a corner kick

A quickly-taken free-kick from Adams on eighty-two minutes found Bell racing clear of Lynch down the right; he turned past the full-back and looked to pick out McMahon in the six-yard box, only for the excellent Flynn to get there first and slice the ball away from goal

With five minutes remaining, Craig Marshall's flick-on from namesake Tom's pass was seized on by McMahon, whose opportunistic first-time effort drifted just wide of the post from twenty yards out

With the Pitmen committing so many men forwards in search of the elusive equaliser, gaps started to appear at the back and in the final minute of normal time Hyde caught the visitors out on the counter-attack with a killer fourth goal. Clee broke quickly through the midfield area and played Johnson into space in front of him. Tom Marshall chased back and looked to challenge the striker but was powerless to stop the Hyde number ten from getting his shot away, beating Solly and nestling in the far corner of the net via a touch off the base of the post

Three points for the hosts leapfrog them over the Pitmen into fifteenth place in the table, condemning Brindley's side to a fourth defeat in six games and without a win since the F.A. Cup win over Vauxhall Motors back in October. With only three points covering five of the bottom six, Brindley's men will need to re-discover their early season form quickly to avoid being dragged into the bottom three during December. Tuesday night sees the Pitmen host Moor Green for the second time this season as they look to make progress in their re-arranged F.A. Trophy game from last weekend

Hyde United: Ndjebayi, Barrow (Caldecott 60), Lynch, Wharton, Flynn, Adams, Brackenridge (Dean 80), Harrison (Meakin 80), Clee, Johnson, McNeil       Subs Unused: Dean, Caldecott, Meakin, Tolson, Armstrong

Hednesford Town: Solly, Adams, Branch, T. Marshall, Teesdale (McMahon 36), Williams ©, Scheppel (C. Marshall 74), Heath, Bell, Brindley, Hunter     Subs Unused: Brannan, Harvey, Molloy