Hyde denied in Leamington thriller

HYDE remain bottom of the Conference North after being denied a second league win of the season by Leamington in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Ewen Fields.

So near yet so far: Hyde could not find a winning formula despite bossing proceedings for large periods (Picture by Adam Higgins)
So near yet so far: Hyde could not find a winning formula despite bossing proceedings for large periods (Picture by Adam Higgins)

HYDE remain bottom of the Conference North after being denied a second league win of the season by Leamington in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Ewen Fields.

The Tigers were the better side throughout the first half and took a deserved lead through a crisp strike from Connor Hughes on the half-hour mark.

Leamington levelled from the penalty spot two minutes after the break through Matt Dodd before Hyde immediately restored their advantage through a Jamie Tank own goal.

But the Warwickshire visitors took a share of the spoils as Jordan Goddard arrowed a precise shot into the bottom corner with 15 minutes to go.

Hyde boss Scott McNiven will have mixed emotions after his side, whose only victory so far came last month against Lowestoft Town, collected their seventh point from 15 league outings this term.

The Tigers, seeking to avenge their 4-0 defeat at Leamington earlier this month, had suffered six defeats in their previous nine games but produced a refreshing attack-minded display to take their tally to 14 goals in their last four home matches.

But their Achilles heel of poor defending cost them again as the division’s leakiest rearguard, who have now conceded 36 times this term, allowed Leamington to salvage a point.

Leamington had won three of their previous four league games but stay 13th in the table, the same position they finished at the end of 2013-14.

Brakes boss Paul Holleran, who ranked their performance in last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat by Stockport County as one of their best this term, suggested in the build-up that Hyde “play better football than their league placing suggests”.

And his statement appeared to be true as the hosts, who handed 18-year-old academy midfielder George Riley his full league debut, flew out of the traps.

Six-goal top scorer Tom Bentham tested Leamington’s debutant goalkeeper Mats Morch with a downward header from Hughes’s pinpoint cross inside five minutes.

The breakthrough almost arrived when Luke Giverin’s low shot struck the base of the post before the follow-up from Steve Tames was blocked on the goalline by Goddard.

Leamington gained a foothold in possession, but Hyde were the more potent attacking force and went ahead as Bentham nodded down Giverin’s free-kick into the path of Hughes, who slammed home a precise shot from the edge of the box.

The winger could have added to his fourth goal of the campaign moments later when he sped clear of Leamington captain Stephen Morley, checked inside of the left-back and blazed over from 15 yards.

Leamington, without suspended striker Danny Newton, often lacked a cutting edge in the final third and spurned a glorious opportunity before the break when Hyde keeper Billy O’Brien parried Aron Wint’s effort but Dodd sidefooted the rebound over from close range.

However, in a dramatic start to the second half, the visitors were awarded a penalty within 45 seconds when Giverin was adjudged to have handled Matt Fry’s right-wing cross by referee Neil Sharp – and Brakes midfielder Dodd confidently converted his second goal of the season.

It was a nightmare opening for Hyde but their response was as astonishing as it was swift when, just 90 seconds later, Bentham’s low delivery was turned into his own net by the outstretched leg of Tank, who replaced the injured James Mace at half-time.

Leamington upped the ante without carving any clear-cut chances but their growing influence was rewarded as the Hyde defence was carved open when Goddard skipped past three players before stroking a composed finish beyond the reach of O’Brien.

The former Bristol Rovers midfielder then curled inches wide as Leamington, backed by around 30 away fans in Greater Manchester, almost completed a stunning turnaround.

For the vociferous home crowd, it was a familiar feeling as Hyde were pegged back having been in the ascendancy for long periods.

The hosts were left to rue two missed opportunities in the closing stages when Giverin’s deflected shot rebounded off the woodwork before Bentham slotted wide with the goal gaping after keeper Morch kept out substitute Joe Conchie.

Leamington could have snatched a late winner themselves – Tank’s header was hooked off the line by Adam Blakeman and Chilton forced a flying stop from O’Brien – but, after a breathless finale, both sides were made to settle for a point.

Quays News Man of the Match:  Connor Hughes (Hyde FC)

The former Oldham winger caused problems to the Leamington left-back all afternoon with his direct pace and threat from both feet. He scored a well-executed goal with his right foot and could have had a couple more. An eye-catching performance from the youngster, who netted his second goal from open play this term, which gave Hyde an outlet down the flanks and a different dimension to their play.

Teams:

Hyde FC (4-3-3): 1 O’Brien, 2 O’Connor, 4 Lomax, 5 McQuade ©, 3 Blakeman, 6 Kerr, 8 Riley (14 Conchie ’81), 10 Tames (12 Almond ’68), 7 Hughes, 9 Bentham, 11 Giverin.

Subs not used: 15 Mukuna, 16 Brownhill, 17 Thurston.

Booked: Bentham (76), McQuade (85)

Goals: Hughes (30), Tank (49 OG)
Leamington FC (4-4-2): 1 Morch, 2 Fry, 4 Goddard, 5 Pierpoint, 3 Morley ©, 6 Mace (14 Tank ‘45), 7 Wint (12 Magunda ’83), 8 Edwards, 11 Chilton, 9 Moore, 10 Dodd.

Subs not used: 17 Maher (GK), 15 Naylor, 16 Porter.

Booked: Fry (21)

Goals: Dodd (47 pen), Goddard (75)
Referee: Neil Sharp (Hartlepool)
Attendance:
326
Written from Ewen Fields

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