Match Report -
Second half turn around
By Debbie Taylor

Oh yes! What a victory.

Two strikes from man of the match super midfielder Steve "Syd" Pickford sealed this historic victory over Tameside rivals.

But, for 45 minutes it did not look like it would finish that way.

Although Celtic started their shots on goal account with McNeil, Sullivan and Jones all managing to clear the cross-bar, the first half an hour was about Hyde's tactics.

They had decided to play very defensive, holding a high line, with often only two defenders in their half. And this was paying dividends. Celtic were frequently caught offside, and when they did get through, Hyde came back in numbers to defend. As usual Sullivan was a handful for the defence, and when he managed to stay on side, he caused no end of problems.

Most of the battle was in midfield however, resulting in the two number seven's being awarded man of the match for each side. And the fiercest contest was indeed between Matt Taylor and Steve Pickford.

Given it was a derby game, some of the tackles were hard and often deemed illegal. I don't often say this, but the referee (P. Bennett) was excellent. He seemed to see most things. Unfortunately, five minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half, he saw Pickford's rash challenge on Hanson, bringing the wing man down, and leaving him down.

When he got up, Hall took the free kick, putting in at the near post where a good ten players were vying for the ball. Simon Yeo - Hyde's top goal poacher, was on hand to bundle the ball, Gary Ingham and several other players into the back of the net.

At the restart, the ref blew for half time, and Wilson must have taken the opportunity to instruct his players in how to beat the offside trap.

The second half was Celtic pressure, with crosses flying in from both sides. Hyde did have breaks, but these were mopped up by the stoic Filson and excellent Crookes. The Hyde defence were stretched on numerous occasions, at one point, a Jones shot was cleared off the line, after the keeper was beaten.

In one bout of pressure, Jones and Sullivan both had attempts before, somehow, Pickford found the ball at his feet. The keeper was badly positioned, and Syd placed the ball, rather than blasting it. The shot didn't have much power, but it crossed the line, leaving the Hyde defence counting their blushes.

Celtic almost struck again immediately, Jones' soft header. was again cleared by a defender.

The goal did come after a Bauress corner was headed back towards goal, and Kevin Parr's header was fumbled by the keeper under pressure from Filson, into the path of Pickford, who could not believe his luck. A power shot this time put Celtic in front, and left Graham Bennett (any relation to the ref?) wondering what he had done wrong.

Hyde threw everybody forwards, and twice went close, once forcing a corner as Ingham could only parry around the post, and secondly heading just wide. Celtic seemed to fall back into the offside trap again for the last fifteen minutes, being caught four or five times, and only managing a couple of chances. Hyde though were pressing hard.

Twice more Ingham was called into action, and several times the Celtic back four were pressed into chaotic action. Locke made an excellent tackle in the box to deny Yeo his second, and Ward blocked a goal bound shot from fresh legs Tobin.

But it was Celtic that emerged the victors, and Hyde the victims in this even derby game. Perhaps we edged it, or perhaps we were lucky - it was difficult to call.

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