Match Report -
Hyde finally break their duck
By Iain Benson
Taking the lead early on must have lulled Celtic into a false sense of security, for they were punished for attempting to hold onto a one-goal lead for eighty minutes, through a second half which saw mounting Hyde pressure and inevitable goals. Celtic may cry injuries with the losses of Haran, Keeling, Price, Hockenhull and Banim, but in truth the team that was put out should have done better.

Celtic had by far and away the best of the opening half hour, with Sykes twice testing Ndjebayi, first a toe-poke then a header which the eccentric keeper held before Eastwood found Prince with a perfect ball that Prince dinked between Adams? legs to go one-on-one with Ndjebayi. Prince made no mistake. Smith could have doubled the lead inside a minute, but he fired wide. Eastwood made Ndjebayi work as he controlled Garvey?s great lob over the top and pushed it towards goal, with Ndjebayi saving with a foot. Had Prince put more power in his distance shot then he would have doubled his tally. Wharton then fouled Ellington just outside the box, and the free kick came out to Barnard who shot narrowly wide. Eastwood created some space selling Jones short before blasting a top corner curling shot that somehow Ndjebayi got across to with a sensational save, tipping it out for a corner.

Step by step, Hyde got back into the game and Flynn could have changed the face of the game when he got onto a corner ball but thudded it off the crossbar. Half time came with Hyde well back into the game, and Celtic?s dominance fading.

The second half continued the trend, with Hyde winning a couple of corners, and yet it was Celtic who may well have got the two goals. Eastwood?s touch gave him the time to pick out a superb spinning cross, Sykes coming in got a perfect header on it, and Ndjebayi got across to palm the ball away.

That was a bright spot in a half growing gloomier by the minute. Johnson freed McNeil, but his unmarked shot was harmlessly across the face.

Ndjebayi did spill the ball from another Eastwood shot, but this time there was no Ellington to follow up with the tap in, and Black almost embarrassed the Hyde keeper when his cross rapidly turned into a shot and shaved the woodwork as it went out for a goal kick.

The derby atmosphere was leant some vitriol when Sykes went past Wharton only for the ex-Celtic midfielder to haul Sykes off his feet, when Sykes faced up to Wharton, there was a sudden melee, and the result was a yellow card for Wharton and free kick for Hyde.

It was one of many free kicks given to Hyde around the box, some for mystifying reasons, and a Hyde goal looked inevitable. It came from a corner. The corner found a whole group of Hyde players who bundled the ball over the line, with McNeil getting the decisive touch, and Celtic unable to stop them. Moments later and McNeil got a flick on from a long throw. Pettinger had come too far and the ball looped over him and into the back of the net.

There was no time for a come back and Hyde had finally beaten Celtic at Bower Fold for the first time in ten years. Had Celtic been able to convert some of their chances in the first half hour, this would have been a different story ? but as it is, Celtic?s New Year gets a dark start.

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