Six goals; a hat-trick; both teams taking the lead; a penalty and two red cards – sounds like an exciting night! No doubt for the neutrals at Ewen Fields it was but for the 250+ travelling Chorley fans it will be seen as a case of two points dropped against the leagues basement club and with damage to follow in the form of more suspensions.
Following Saturday’s comfortable win over Harrogate Garry stuck with the same 16 players and despite being the better side in the opening 45 minutes went in at the interval a goal down.
In a bright and open start to the game, the ball was switching from end to end. Adam Roscoe saw an effort deflected wide and Sam Ashton was alert to save low to his left.
Hyde broke the deadlock on 22 minutes. Following a Chorley attack breaking down they hit the Magpies on the counter attack with four-v-three. The ball was moved out wide and when Jason Brizell hit his shot from 25 yards a deflection off Adam Mather gave Ashton no chance.
Billy O’Brien in the Tigers goal foiled both Darren Stephenson and Josh Hine then Roscoe headed wide from a Mather corner as Chorley turned up the pressure looking to level the score.
Mather curled two efforts goal ward, but both times O’Brien saved easily and at the break the Tigers had the lead.
With just two minutes of the second half played Chorley were level when Stephenson tapped home from close range from a Hine cross, but parity didn’t last and less than sixty seconds later Hyde were back in front when Tom Bentham netted after two failed attempts to clear the ball.
Chasing the game again, Chorley pressed, but fighting their way back into the game ended up with cards following, with both Dale Whitham and James Dean gaining yellow cards.
Paul Jarvis and Harry Winter were introduced for Roscoe and Hine, and then Kyle Jacobs was brought on for the injured Mark Ross.
Following Ross’s injury, caused by a late challenge that resulting in the latest yellow card to be brandished, Ashton launched the free-kick forward and Stephenson raced on and chipped O’Brien superbly to level the scores for the second time on 69 minutes.
Three minutes later it was Hyde 2 Darren Stephenson 3! And what a finish it was, smashing the ball beyond a helpless O’Brien to put Chorley in front and earn the Magpies striker the Man of the Match award.
So, three-two up away from home against the league bottom club, job done? No… not tonight. The Hyde players, not doubt inspired playing against one of the league’s top clubs in front of their largest attendance of the season, started to search for a way back onto the game and as the clock ticked on it was the home side that looked more likely to score next, but the goal they were given was harsh to say the least on Chorley and Chris Doyle imparticularly.
Despite what looked to be an excellent challenge, with the ball won and outside the box, referee Peter Gibbons was quick the blow his whistle and show Doyle a straight red, however assistant referee David Croft did not indicate a penalty with his flag at no point going near his chest in the usual way of indicating a spot kick should be awarded. However, despite the assistants better position the red card was shown and after a very brief discussion the penalty was awarded much to the befuddlement of everyone in black and white!
Given the opportunity Connor Hughes didn’t disappoint the home fans, stepping up and sending Ashton the wrong way to level the score in the 90th minute.
Five minutes were to be added, and then the task to hold on to a point became even more difficult when captain Whitham ‘took one for the team’ and was shown a second yellow following by the obligatory red after he pulled a player back in midfield.
No with nine men, could the Magpies hold on for four minutes… Yes, but it needed a superb Ashton save from a Hyde free-kick a minutes from time.
Plenty of talking points, but two points dropped is not good enough, hopefully it will lull Bamber Bridge into a false sense of security????
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Mather, Chris Doyle, Tom Smyth, Adam Roscoe, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, James Dean, Jack Dorney, Darren Stephenson
Subs: Andy Teague, Kyle Jacobs (Ross, 69), Harry Winter (Roscoe, 64), Paul Jarvis (Hine, 64), Astley Mulholland
Goals: Jason Brizell (22) , DARREN STEPHENSON (48), Tom Bentham (49), DARREN STEPHENSON (69, 72), Connor Hughes (90 pen)
Chorleyfc.com Man of the Match: Daren Stephenson; no doubt he his playing at the top of his game at the moment, outstanding tonight.