Hyde FC – 3
FC – 2
Football Conference North – 19th November 2011
For those who have followed my escapades since the start of the season will know some of the trips I’ve made following Colwyn Bay this year. Places such as Leeds are considered local derbies, with far flung trips to Bishop Stortford and Gloucester considered to be “Northern” (yeah I know, they are not, just not as far south as some). Fair to say the miles clocked up this year is considerably up on last year. Fixtures are cruel at times – with FC Halifax and Harrogate on Tuesday night, but they are also kind. None more so than my sole away trip in November for the Seagulls: Hyde FC.
As an expat Seagull, Manchester clubs are ridiculously easy to get to. I was robbed of one trip – Droylesden away due to commitments at a conference. Luckily, with Altrincham, Stalybridge and Hyde all being in the league, there were at least three more (For this season at least, at the time of writing Hyde and Stalybridge were clear of the chasing pack). Either way, I was still in bed for 11am, for an away game. Result!
After a milk disaster (it was off), I headed out of the house a little earlier than I attended – Manchester’s Christmas Markets were on, and what better way to celebrate a local away day/sour milk than with the decadence of a hog roast breakfast.
Full up (I also had a cupcake, don’t judge me), I boarded the train for the long, arduous 15 minute journey to Newton For Hyde. I’d received directions earlier in the week on how to get from the station to the nearest boozer (The Sportsman), and from the boozer to the ground. With a friend of mine heading up early, I had great chance to catch up, have a few beers, watch the early Premier League match (Arsenal vs Norwich) and generally relax a little bit.
The Sportsman was a cracking little boozer, with a fair few ales and friendly patrons, but the fun began when we struck up conversation with a groundhopper from Manchester, who himself had been displaced from his team – Tooting & Mitcham of the Isthmian League. After chatting about football for a while, we headed upto Hyde’s ground.
Hyde’s ground is nothing like anything in Non League. After being partnered by Manchester City – which saw them groundshare and sponsorship – the traditional red colour that dominated the ground changed to blue, the sponsors boards were filled with Manchester City’s partners (which were few & far between), and the club’s crest was placed alongside Hyde’s. However the most impressive thing was the pitch, it looked immaculate. We could be on for a cracking game.
90 minutes later, we weren’t disappointed.
The game kicked off and Hyde took control of the ball, playing some nice football but not penetrating the line, and after 10 minutes Colwyn Bay came back into the game. However, with two early bookings (which were justified), the tackles died down for the Bay. Hyde did take the lead controversially after 21 minutes. A header from Andy Pearson was adjudged to have crossed the line despite Mike Lea appearing to head the ball out. Some Hyde fans said the ball didn’t cross the line, though some Colwyn Bay fans said that it did. I don’t know, but Hyde 1 – 0 Colwyn Bay was the score.
Further controversy was to follow a few minutes later when Danny Lloyd’s equaliser, a pounced shot from a Lee McEvilly free kick, was ruled offside. It was seemed to be given by the referee, but a linesman was incredibly late with a flag. Whilst Colwyn Bay players surrounded the official, Hyde played on, but couldn’t capitalise.
Colwyn Bay did get an equaliser a few minutes later when Danny Meadowcroft headed in a corner in off the post, and could’ve taken a surprising lead should Gareth Evans had a better shot, but come half time, the score was 1-1. A fair result, and we were fairly happy with it, though there was the lingering feeling that if linesmen didn’t exist we’d be 2-0 up.
After a pie (which was alright, though distinctly poor amount of chips for £1), and a cup of tea, we headed for what was to be an enthralling second half. The Seagulls started brightly, forcing a few half chances and playing in much of the early second half in the Hyde’s half. So it was naturally Hyde who took the lead again in the second half with a header by Matt Berkeley from an Andy Griffin free kick. Colwyn Bay equalised 10 minutes later, with Gareth Evans coolly finishing after being put clear by Danny Lloyd. However, 5 minutes later, the winning goal and probably the best goal in a long time was scored.
Substitute Tom Fisher had only just come on, and with his first two touches of the ball he found space 25 yards out. The third was a rifled shot into the top corner. Next followed 10 minutes of the best end to end football, with Hyde looking for a goal to kill the game and Colwyn Bay looking for the winner. No team had many clear cut chances, and the game finished 3-2 to Hyde.
After a friendly beer or two in the clubhouse I headed home (which took the stupidly long time of one hour). I enjoyed my visit to Hyde almost as much as I hated my trip to Boston United. The fans were friendly, the beer was great and the football was excellent. With a 2 hour round trip, plus the pursuit for revenge and hundreds of other tangibles, I have come to this selfish conclusion.
I’m hoping Hyde stay in the Conference North.