The Butchers Arms hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Tigers recently, with three defeats coming at the hands of Dastardly Dave Pace’s unit of crack footballing commandos here last season alone. The axis of power is shifting in Tameside, though, and while Droylsden have already thrown their proverbial towel on their usual in-and-around-the-play-offs poolside recliner, Hyde are absolutely romping the Conference North after picking up 8 wins from 8, something which was unthinkable just a couple of months back.
In fact, with S****b****e now definitely feeling the effects of the full-time training they took up in the summer of 2010 with 7 wins from 8 goal-packed games, things could get very interesting on the fringes of East Manchester come the end of April, not to mention the festive derbies.
A full moon hovers above, as keen to catch the action as any of the 625 punters, and despite being a quarter of a million miles away somehow makes more noise than the assembled Droylsden fans who remain resolutely silent – not even a cough – as though Pacey has asked them all to put their fingers on their lips for speaking too loudly on the way in.
The combined masses of Leigh Street and The Shed are in full voice behind Paul Phillips’ goal, though, and it takes a sturdy midfield tussle for one irked home fan to finally break his monastic vow and grumble through dry, cracked lips at the visiting team in general “They’re cynical, they can’t play football”, before going on a tirade about what a hovel Hyde is.
In truth, neither side are playing with much fluidity, with Droylsden just about having the slight edge when ex-Tiger, Carlos Logan, takes a pot-shot at David Carnell’s goal from the left of the penalty area, only for it to dribble through the keeper’s claws and over the line for first blood to The Bloo….oh, I’ve said this before, haven’t I?
It’s 1-0 to Droyslden on 25 minutes at any rate, and the first away goal conceded by Hyde in 5 games on the road.
Speaking of Carlos Logan, he’s filling the left-back void left by Liam Brownhill, who joined Chester in the summer. We had Dave Pace on the show a few weeks back, and when I asked him why he’d let an England ‘C’ international join a club in a lower league, he said (or words very close to it) “Look Burkey, when you’ve got a lump of cheese in the fridge, sooner or later it’s gonna go moldy so you have to chuck it out, and that’s what happened.”
Say what you like about the guy, but he’s gold dust on the wireless.
With a tip of the hat to Harry Pearson’s seminal ‘The Far Corner…’ (a book I’d been unknowingly and inferiorly ripping off for the best part of a year until I read it), the gent to my left appears to be one of his famed ‘hindsight commentators’, groaning in anguish with lines like “too fancy!”, “he’s got too much to do!” and ”that’ll never work!” a second or two after Hyde give the ball away.
The roars drown out his undoubted “he’s gonna score here” as Callum Byrne gets his 1st goal of the campaign to level the scores on 40 minutes. In fact, it’s Hyde’s first shot and comes when a clearance lands at the slight playmaker’s feet just outside the ‘D’. He somehow half lobs/half blasts a right-footed effort onto the underside of Phillips’ crossbar which bounces six inches behind the line and nestles into the side-netting with a satisfying touch of spin.
You know that Cantona goal? The one where he just turns around, astonished at his own brilliance? It was honestly just like that, except that Callum goes running off into the distance pursued by his team mates like a bunch of girls playing kiss-chase in the playground. An incredible goal, simple as that.
Hyde finish the half on the up, finally getting a few more sighters off at the Droylsden goal, but it remains 1-1.
This is normally where I’d break off for to talk about pies, but there aren’t any to be had at the Traditional Carvery food van which has apparently usurped 1Leg’s Nigella Sisters and their little kiosk. I’ll leave The Rhino to tell this story:
“So, I says, “can I have a Bovril?”, and she goes “no, sorry love, we’re just waiting for the hot water”. So, I says, “well, if you had any hot water, could I have had a Bovril?”, and she goes “no, we don’t have any.” They’re mental.”
The Tigers are straight on the assault from kick-off in the second half, and Ryan Crowther smashes a 20 yarder against the bar a few minutes in, although sadly not the underside, and it rebounds to safety.
Byrne then has an almighty clash of boots with Droyslden’s Dan Gardner, such was both players’ commitment to the challenge that the soundwave from it knocks a passing starling straight out of the sky and next to the home dugout where the beastly Aeon Lattie crushes it to death with his feet.
Gardner is carried off, replaced by David Poole, and moments later Scott Spencer scores his 11th of the season, when his shot takes an improbably angled deflection off John Hardiker and out of the grasp of Phillips, who isn’t in possession of the requisite Go-Go-Gadget arm extensions. 2-1 to Hyde.
Ciaran ‘Killer’ Kilheeney is soon up the other end, and lobs a shot against the visitor’s bar on the hour, but it’s the last real threat from The Bloods for almost half an hour with Carnell plucking crosses out of the air with squirrel-like agility. Indeed, it’s Hyde who take a decisive 3-1 lead on 77 minutes when a Mike Aspin free-kick from the right twice finds the flailing right arm of a falling Nat Kerr, who bundles home a tremendous own goal.
Kerr then reverts to nasty type, launching into a vicious two-footed, calf-high lunge from behind on Matty Berkeley just after the restart which thankfully doesn’t lead to any serious injury, yet Kerr somehow is only shown a yellow card for what is the most blatant red I’ve seen while writing this blog.
With injury time upon us, Poole does nab one back for Droylsden to make it 3-2, but rather than a frantic onslaught from the hosts, it’s Hyde who ease the clock down for what is ultimately a well deserved victory. Chuffed. To. Bits.
And finally, just for Tony 1Leg, here’s a picture of me having a big cuddle with Zippy and Beans, as I know he loves reading about me and my feline companions. Not sure how I managed to get such a perfect Manga fringe, but there you go…