HYDE UNITED FC 1 - 1 SOUTH SHIELDS FC
This was a fantastic spectacle, between two very good sides, played out in-front of a bumper Tuesday night crowd of 739.
Hyde were forced to make a couple of changes with Captain Paddy Miller carrying a knock, Kyle Harrison still recovering from a damaged elbow and Big Khamsuk unavailable, but the strength of Hyde is the depth of their squad, and Darren & Dave were able to field a 16 who they were confident would be able to win the game.
The opening couple of minutes made it clear that South Shields and Hyde were both outstanding teams, with Shields moving the ball through midfield and their talisman Julio Arca with ease, and they capitalised on their early pressure with a goal of quality scored on 2 minutes by the Shields 11 Richard Juul, who picked up a ball switched out to the right wing before cutting inside and curling a left footed shot into the far corner of the Hyde goal. 1-0 South Shields.
Hyde responded immediately, as we all expected, and got on the front foot. Two excellent runs down the left by Like Pirritt, forced Shields back and a third run resulted in a Hyde corner on 7 minutes taken by Janni Lipka. The ball found Tyrone Gay unmarked on the penalty spot and his bullet header was smartly saved by the Shields Keeper, but he was unable to stop Max Leonard from prodding home from 3 yards. 1-1
The game was frantic, and Shields enjoyed a 20 minute period of control before Hyde started to get hold of the ball, and stop the threat from Arca in the middle of the pitch. Shields had four first half bookings, with both left sided players receiving a yellow, and it was Hyde who carved out the best of the chances, with Beadle, Tom Pratt and Janni Lipka all going close and the latter forcing excellent save from the South Shields keeper.
The second half was better than the first in terms of an attacking spectacle. South Shields were once again in control for the opening period of the half, without actually forcing the Hyde keeper to make any saves, and Hyde grew into the game, through hard work and determination and certainly finished the stronger of the two sides, with excellent work from Tom Pratt, and an overall workrate which just didn't let up.
The best chance of the half fell to Dominic Marie, following a Tom Pratt interception in the centre circle and a driving run, but his pass to Marie was slightly overhit allowing the keeper to clear, when it looked like Hyde were going to get the winner with 5 minutes to play.
FULL TIME 1-1
For the crowd of 739, this was a fantastic game, and a brilliant advert for non league football at Step 4. Both sides have real quality and will grace the division above. It is up to them to make sure they stay focussed on the remaining 14 games of the season, and deliver the promotion they both deserve. At least we don't have to play each other again, this season.
Updated 10:28 - 21 Feb 2018 by Mark Worthington