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Let’s get this party started! Hyde claim promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier Division
Monday 23rd April 2018 @ 17:01 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Darren Kelly has described Saturday’s promotion as the biggest moment of his managerial career.

The Hyde boss watched on in delight as captain Paddy Miller headed home a dramatic 95th minute winner to secure a 2-1 victory at Mossley, thus confirming promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Kelly, who initially joined the club towards the end of the 2015/16 season, has guided the Tigers to 26 league victories, 11 draws and just four losses, as well as an FA Cup first round appearance against MK Dons on BBC Two.

Impressively, Hyde have yet to lose a league fixture at home this season and Kelly will aim to preserve this stat when Colwyn Bay visit Ewen Fields for the final game on Saturday.

Following the win at Mossley, the former Oldham Athletic and Halifax boss said it was amazing to secure promotion and reserved special praise for the board of directors – particularly chief executive Mark Worthington. Speaking to 26 nil live, Kelly said: “He came into the job at the start, with a vision and a long-term plan, and this is the start of it” said Kelly of Worthington.

“He’s an amazing CEO who has backed me when other people wouldn’t.

“From day one he backed me; he supported me; he stood by me. Even at the start, we didn’t hit the ground running and had a couple of bad results, but he was the first person to pick the phone up and be right there for me, and I never forget things like that.

“On a personal level, it’s my biggest and best moment. Mark Worthington, Pete Ainger and all the other guys behind the scenes. When I first came into the job a lot of people wrote me off, but I’m a fighter and the board have backed me and this is what it’s all about.”

In a roller coaster game at Seel Park, Hyde took the lead in the seventh minute through Elliot Rokka, only for Mossley to equalise 20 minutes later.

With the score level in the dying seconds, it looked as if Hyde’s promotion party would be put on hold for another week.

However, with virtually the last piece of action, Miller popped up with the decisive goal to spark a mass pitch invasion. Reflecting on the moment, Kelly said: “The players were up for it today. I spoke to the players earlier in the day about promotion.

“I thought, ‘here we go, another 1-1’. We had a bit of luck in terms of how the ball broke and how we got the corner, but captain majestic scored with his head and now we’re promoted.”

Having joined from Farsley Celtic in December 2016, Miller quickly became a fans’ favourite and asserted himself as the team’s leader.

The defender praised his team mates’ endeavour to keep going when times got tough. He said: “The boys have been different class and it just shows what togetherness we’ve got in there to hold tight, because for long periods today it looked like we weren’t going up, but that just shows what we’re about.

“We still want to finish second, but we can enjoy next week now knowing we’re promoted. It couldn’t work out any better.”

Kelly is hoping the Hyde supporters will turn out in droves for what will be a special occasion on Saturday. Looking ahead to the Colwyn Bay clash, he said: “The players are mixing with the fans and that’s what it’s about – it’s a community club.

“Hopefully the crowd will turn out and everyone can have a fantastic day. We’ve had amazing support today – they’ve been unreal.”

Although the season isn’t over just yet, attention will soon turn to matters in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, where Hyde previously played two years ago.

With interest in the club rising, Kelly sent out a clear message to potential future players. He said: “When I’m chatting to players it’s not about the budget; it’s about the vision. I don’t want players who come for money. I want players who buy into the vision and want to succeed as players. The players we have now aren’t on a lot of money. They do this because they bought into the vision that I sold them. I’m delighted for everyone concerned with the club today.”