Stalybridge hosted Hyde for the first time in a league fixture for 4 years in an excellent physical encounter with both teams producing one of the games of the season.
The first 20 minutes were to be expected, both teams looking to hit the front early and play the game on their own terms. That made the game scrappy, producing a tasty midfield battle between Lipka and Daly of Hyde and Dent and Wilkinson of Stalybridge.
But it was Stalybridge who went in at half time ahead when Scott carried the ball away from a goalmouth scramble, evading Hyde players near the dugout and setting Kengni free to run the length of the half and score.
Hyde had to come out in the second half on the front foot but it was always going to be tough with Stalybridge pressing high. They went 2-0 up with Kengni getting his brace after running onto a through ball, placing it into the back of the net.
That wasn’t the end of the game though, with the excellent away following urging them on, Hyde found a way back. A Platt free kick was spilled by Turner, falling into the path of Chilaka who made no mistake. It was soon level with Pratt winning a corner, resulting in the delivery finding the big jump of Fagbola, the ball judged to have crossed the line despite Wilkinson’s efforts.
Both teams kept the game at a frantic pace until the finish with chances for both to win it but a draw was the fair result in the end.
By George Rothwell