Plastic not fantastic
By Chris Musson
Hyde United 4-0 Clitheroe 03-02-18
Hyde had a tremendous record on their own plastic pitch prior to Saturday, and with Alex Newby having signed for Chorley, George West on the bench for Stockport, Dimitri Tuanzebe recovering from a bout of flu and Ross Dent out suspended, the travelling Blues were wary of how the game would unfold. Pretty much as expected, was the answer, although it was lax defending which gave Hyde their foothold in the game and allowed them to record a deserved if slightly flattering win.
The first ten minutes were the usual pinball encouraged by these surfaces, but the visitors were pleased to get a feel for the pace of the pitch. However, on 13 minutes, a floated free kick into the Clitheroe box saw Danny Brady unable to get in front of the giant Tyrone Gay, who withstood a buffeting from Brady before dinking a header over Chris Thompson. Clitheroe continued to play football despite the setback and it was Brady who unusually found himself by the Hyde bye line on the left and his deep cross was narrowly headed over by Caldon Henson.
Within a minute though Hyde had doubled their lead, when an inswinging corner from the left was nodded home unchallenged. On 38 minutes, Chris Thompson made an astonishing full length save from a fierce shot after Brady had been beaten to the ball from a deep free kick. The Blues almost nicked one back on the stroke of half time, but after patient build up play down the right, Kurt Willoughby was released and after settling himself, he lashed the ball narrowly over.
The second half followed a broadly similar pattern. For the first fifteen minutes there was nothing between the sides. Then, on 61 minutes, Hyde burst down their left and from a deep cross, the ball was controlled and the following shot forced another great save from Thompson. One minute later, Hyde won the ball in the Clitheroe half, and a piercing pass unpicked the entire Clitheroe defence, leaving the forward to run and score well.
Ten minutes later, Hyde lofted the ball from the Clitheroe half, wrong footing Ian Rowlands and Henson, and with another sprint and shot, Thompson could not quite turn the ball round the post, and it was four. With 10 minutes left, the Blues almost secured a consolation goal when Stephen Rigby powered down the left and his scudding cross behind the defence was only just touched wide by substitute Tuanzebe.
There was no shame in this defeat, but Clitheroe were punished severely for individual errors. Stand out performer was young loanee George Hughes, who is tireless in seeking out the ball and knows what to do with it when he gets it.
Team : Chris Thompson, Caldon Henson, Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c), Joe Mitchell, Jacob Gregory (Dimitri Tuanzebe), Brad Carroll, Kurt Willoughby, George Hughes, Danny Byrnes (Harry Blackburn). Subs - Harry Blackburn, Dimitri Tuanzebe. Not used - Ryan Ellison, Jamie Hodgson.