Date: 24th October 2014 at 12:23pm
Written by:

Last night`s game between Hyde FC and Stockport County Development Squads, was into its dying embers at the neat Abbey Hey stadium……County were 2-1 up in a closely fought encounter, and looking winners, when the referee awarded Hyde a free kick in an very scoreable position, from which they unsurprisingly scored, albeit at the second attempt!

More about this later….for now I will content myself by saying the game ended 2-2 ,as the official blew for time directly the ball was played off at the re-start and the points were thus shared.

On the balance of play the result was not all that bad a reflection of how things went.

County went into an early lead as Jordan Young`s brilliant finish added the necessary gloss to an inch perfect ball from Jordan Lazenbury ,who went on to add a second notable assist late on when teeing Lee Stevenson ( playing for fitness and match time) for County`s second.

Before this, Hyde had scored a belter themselves through Marcus Dibble who capitalised on excellent work by Rob Swallow, and our Tameside neighbours made a real game of it until the Stevenson goal that seemed to have settled matters.

This proved not to be the case and it was a great pity that such an otherwise decent game should finish on such a sour note!

Despite the obvious disappointment, Alan Lord, who`s team were held up on the M60 due to a crash, will have gained much from this.

He will have seen Stevenson get his ` match time` and despite taking a time to get used to things at this level, score a typical sniffers effort.

Another experienced County head on show was Glenn Belezika, and I was really impressed with Glenn`s input…constantly encouraging his young team mates off the ball…..always firm and sharp with it! Alongside Glenn in a back four, I made Dave Moran the pick and vying with Jordan Lazenbury for the M.O.M!

Much of the early play took place in the Hyde half where Msawaile ,Lazenbury and Stevenson busied themselves trying to prise the home defence apart, with Charlie Russell and Jordan Lazenbury providing the ammo.

Leon O`Malley added useful support down the right, but both Lazenbury and Mike Hampson were unlucky with a couple of efforts- the only response from Hyde being a shot by George West that Josh Powell covered nicely.

This took us to the 11th minute when County`s pressure paid off thanks to a quality ball from Jordan Lazenbury that landed at the feet of Jordan Young on the edge of the box.

Young had plenty of red shirted company around him and a few bodies twixt self and goal, but a neat swivel and turn saw him unleash a lethal cross shot that crashed into the far corner of keeper Josh Broadbent`s net!

For some 15 or 20 minutes after this the pattern repeated itself pretty much …with Jack Mason, Big Wamasule and Lee Gregory doing their best to offer a threat , but the bulk of play being at the other end, where Gregory and Marcus Dibble were working hard to stem the tide.

This hard work eventually paid off with a goal.

Any pressure seemed to have been nullified as Powell`s firm punch cleared the ball out of the box for County, but Hyde were determined to not be denied, and within a minute were probing the box via Rob Swallow who only just failed to get a shot in.

The angst just would not subside for County though… as Swallow tried again…..was blocked …sending the ball out to Marcus Dibble who unleashed the fiercest of drives way past Powell`s dive into the net for the equaliser.

This enlivened Hyde no end and only an excellent last ditcher by Connor Hancock, saw off Jack Mason on the end of a fine ball from Gregory.

That was a warning for County ,and they seemed to be heeding it as a series of corners looked to have them a whisker away from getting a second goal- but instead Broadbent dealt with Hampson`s header well and it stayed 1-1.

All this time however…Hyde were keeping their powder dry and content to hit County on the break – West doing just this ,on 38 minutes, but lifting his shot over the bar.

If West was at all dismayed by this…it did not show ,as he ran at the yellow shirted blue back line with a purpose next ,before passing inside to Mason who`s shot thudded into the post with Powell beaten!

After this…..for Hyde …..Swallow saw a decent run and cross come to nothing for lack of support, and Russell, Lazenbury and Stevenson all had efforts charged down for County as , what seemed an overly long first half eventually ended with it still 1-1.

With Dean Hitchin on after the break for Leon O`Malley, who had taken a knock, County set about regaining their lead , but Hampson was denied by a good stop by Broadbent after Joe Mswaile had set him up.

Mswaile was getting forward to good effect and this would continue in what was a better game from him, but he was faced by determined defending from Hyde most notably from Dibble and Gregory ,so for County…a second goal had to wait!

Having said that Dibble and Gregory had defended well…..they also offered something going forward and Dibble was unlucky to see his shot deflected for a corner from Gregory`s free kick.

It went end to end for a bit now with Swallow providing threat and width down the right for Hyde, whilst Mswaile and Lazenbury did likewise for County – just a finish was missing for both outfits, and when at last it looked like County had produced one..Mswaile`s brilliant run to the by-line ended with his shot coming back out off one of a line of defenders on the line!

County were possibly shell shocked at this last disappointment, and were massively indebted to Dave Moran who was on hand to stop the rot as George West scuttled clear with every intent to score!

After this….Lazenbury and Hampson both went close for County, whilst Moran was again called on to work wonders as Swallow threatened to latch onto a route one ball from Broadbent!

Callum Cooke came on for goal scorer Jordan Young for County ,and slightly later Hampson gave way to George Buckwell, as they tried to counter Hyde`s increasingly lively work , largely involving Swallow and Mason…but not exclusively- Nang Assan going close with one effort as a series of free kicks pushed County back.

Slowly but surely County managed to get back a measure of control – Mswaile doing really well again down the left but having to be content with a corner after a fine blocking tackle by Jack Pritchard stopped his run.

Enter Jordan Lazenbury stage left, and his kick landed in a bunch of players clustered on the goal line. One was keeper Broadbent who grabbed the ball and then spilled it…..the other was ace sniffer of goals Lee Stevenson and the rest was a formality as he forced the ball home to make it 2-1 to County!

Another Lazenbury/ Stevenson combo followed on from the last action as Hyde seemingly wilted, and County looked to capitalise on this, but Lazenbury`s final ball bounced agonisingly wide of the far post with the Tamesider`s on the rack!

It was at this point that an element of the surreal took over proceedings.

All seemed well…..a late Hyde raid had ended with Josh Powell making a stop and then regaining his footing before lumping the ball skyward in our direction on the far touchline.

End of story …except no…….the referee had blown his whistle….not for the end of the game but for…………………… well no one immediately could guess precisely what the kick was for, but it emerged later that the referee gave it for the County keeper holding onto the ball too long!

” Twelve seconds” he defiantly snorted as he made for the dressing rooms at game`s end , but I saw no such expanse of time twixt Josh getting and getting rid of the ball!

Any way … when was the last time Law 12 of FIFA`s Laws of the Game, was last invoked by a referee?

Way back I would vouch, and the Rule is in fact intended to be discretionary and not called on except for ` egregious exceptions`-FIFA advice! Again I saw no such element.

In addition the 6 seconds mentioned in the rule is ,as I understand it, start not the second the keeper grabs the ball…but when he /she gathers himself/herself….gets up …looks around and finds someone to pass to- in other words the referee has to use his common sense!

Despite all the above …the referee was adamant and the kick from a position almost impossible to miss duly went in taking a deflection en-route.

It was 2-2…. and seconds later….after County had kicked off again….that was the final score as the referee had blown for time!

As I say a sad end to what had been a decent game!

(Want more? See the photos for this report here)

County line up:
Josh Powell, Leon O`Malley ( Dean Hitchen 48), Glenn Belezika, Connor Hancock, Dave Moran, Charlie Russell, Joe Mswaile, Mike Hampson ( George Buckwell 75), Lee Stevenson, Jordan Lazenbury, Jordan Young(Callum Cooke 67).

Hyde line up:
Josh Broadbent, Lee Walshaw, George Mannion, Lee Gregory( Dan Judge 60), Jack Pritchard, Marcus Dibble, Rob Swallow, George Riley, Jack Mason( Wjani Evans 85), Big Wamasula( Nana Assan 75), George West.

Ian Brown

Ian Brown