Tigers roar into Premier Cup semi-final
Friday 13th December 2013 @ 20:30 by Lisa B

Hyde FC 4 Maine Road 0

Manchester Premier Cup quarter-final

For this surprisingly entertaining Manchester Premier Cup tie, Scott McNiven resisted the temptation to field his full first team despite facing no game for three weeks.

Only Luke Ashworth, Adam Thurston, Liam Tomsett and Adam Blakeman survived from the starting line-up against North Ferriby United 10 days ago.

The game started in a similar vein to that FA Trophy tie, though, with once again the Tigers facing a penalty within two minutes of kick-off.

Edward Moran was the man taken down inside the box, but when Saul Henderson stepped up to take the spot-kick, Ashley Frith produced a superb diving save at full stretch to deny the big number nine.

Maine Road are not an average North West Counties League side and their brand of easy on the eye passing football meant that this was going to be an open and flowing game.

Hyde were looking to move the ball with pace and David Poole broke free down the  right in the fifth minute, but fired over.

Thurston’s whipped in cross was turned narrowly wide by Danny Carlton, while Poole’s crisp shot produced a fine save from Gregory Hall diving to his left.

On 19 minutes Carlton played a lovely through ball to Poole for a one on one with the Sky Blues’ keeper, but he blazed the ball over.

The opening goal arrived in the 34th minute after Carlton’s strike had been turned around the post by Hall for a corner.

The set-piece was only partially cleared and when the ball was played back in to the far post, Tomsett was on hand to head home.

There was almost an instant reply for the visitors when Martin Hill’s dangerous cross was turned onto his own post by Ashworth, but after that only two more fine saves from Hall kept Maine Road in the game at the interval.

Road had the first chance of the second period when Henderson beat the Hyde offside trap on 52 minutes, but Frith denied him with a great stop.

Both sides continued to play passing football although the Tigers always looked to have more of a cutting edge.

Hall was tested again by Jake Pollard’s snapshot, while Blakeman tried his luck from distance, going close.

After Tom Bentham had fired wide for Road, the decisive goal arrived on 74 minutes.

Substitute Damase Kiwanda showed superb strength to hold off the challenge of two defenders before blasting the ball high into the roof of the net past Hall.

If the goal was good his celebration was even better as he ran towards the Shed with a double somersault that was maybe just a little over the top for the occasion, but the faithful enjoyed it anyway.

Bentham sent another effort across the face of goal for the Road before a David Poole header and a Connor Hughes drive in the dying minutes gave the scoreline a slightly flattering look for the Skrill Premier outfit.

The Tigers will take any win at present though and McNiven will have been pleased with this workout for some of his fringe and returning players and also with their overall shape and application.

Maine Road too can take positives from the way they applied themselves and contributed to a thoroughly absorbing contest.

Hyde: Frith, Brizell, Thurston, Fitzgerald, Ashworth, Tomsett, Pollard (Kiwanda), Blakeman (Manship), Poole, Carlton (Kirby), Hughes. Subs not used: Morrell, Day. Attendance: 131.

by Dave Edler