This lunchtime kick-off between Hyde United U19s and FC Halifax Town U19s was destined to be a close but thrilling affair and that it was. The visitors opened the scoring after just five minutes from an excellent run down the line by pacey attacker Jacob Heatley who drove it low across the box for left winger Ousman Cham to smash it in from close range. The next 15 minutes’ saw constant attacking from the visitors with several chances going close but offside calls and ineffective finishing preventing them from increasing their lead.
As the midway point of the half approached, the home side grew more into the game, creating more attacking threats and competing with Town’s midfield, a battle that would continue throughout the match. However, they were still unable to break through Town’s solid defensive line and consequently found themselves chasing the counter attack numerous times. The visitor’s solidarity at the back and attacking prowess proved effective as Town struck again just before the thirty-minute mark from another quick counter attack seeing Heatley once again turn on the burners down the line to cross into Midfielder Marko Basic who was there to meet it and double their lead. An identical goal to the first granted Heatley with a well-deserved second assist of the day and left United trailing by two. With the way Town were playing, scoring a goal before half time would prove crucial if the home side wanted to go into the break with any hope in the second half.
The later stages of the half were very end to end with both teams looking like they could score but it was the home side who found the back of the net before the break. A hard-fought battle down the right side accompanied with some clever trickery allowed Hyde’s number 7 to float one into Town’s box for Hyde’s attacker to head it home past Atkinson who before looked reluctant to concede.
The second half was underway and Town were straight out the blocks with several attacks in the opening minutes however all adjudged offside by the keen-eyed linesman. The opening ten minutes were dominated by Town’s eagerness to attack with midfielder Marko Basic, who was involved in the build up to both goals, running the show in midfield. Approaching the sixtieth minute mark, united were almost level but an excellent fingertip save from Town keeper Jack Atkinson kept out a curling strike from Hyde’s forward.
The following ten minutes’ saw Town go very quiet in the attacking department and United doing the complete opposite. The home side begin to utilise their left wing more and more frequently with number 11 looking very lively in both attacking and defensive aspects. This continued with the home side going very close to an equaliser twice in quick succession – firstly from a header that skimmed the top of the crossbar and then a quickly taken free kick, looped over the wall but wide of the mark.
The visitors were then gifted an identical free kick at the other end after some intricate play again from Basic, who moments earlier took the ball from defence and ran thirty yards up the field past several Hyde players. Unfortunately, it was the same outcome with substitute Jack Knight’s effort going wide of Hyde’s goal.
Approaching the final five minutes, Town were pushing for a third to reassure their lead and were almost gifted with a clear-cut chance after a mix up in midfield allowed Basic, who was arguably the best player on the field, to charge through towards goal before a hefty challenge from a United defender. Screams of “GET HIM OFF” were heard from the stands but the referee issued a final warning for a challenge that probably deserved at least a booking. The free kick given was an ideal opportunity for Town to try seal the victory but their attempts of passing it into the goal fell short and was easily dealt with by the Hyde United defence.
With three minutes of added time to go, United needed to find something from somewhere and a corner in the last minute could have been the gift they needed. Every player piled into the box including the Hyde keeper to try and salvage a point. After a scramble in the box, the referee blew for a handball and awarded a penalty in the dying embers of the game. With literally seconds of the game remaining this was United’s last chance and a chance they took. The Hyde captain stepped up and powerfully slotted past Atkinson to bring the home side level and secure a point for his team.
As the sound of the final whistle rang around Ewen Field, United were still in celebratory mode after clinching that last second point much to the disappointment of The Shaymen who thought they had secured the win with seconds to go.
Venue: Ewen Fields
Kick-off: 12:30 pm
Final score: FCHT 2 – 2 HUFC
Goal scorers: Cham (5), Basic (29)
Man of the match: Marko Basic
FC Halifax Town U19s squad vs Hyde United U19s:
1. Jack Atkinson
2. Ross Barrows ©
3. Reece Kendall
4. Jake Thompson
5. Alex Maloney
6. Jack Johnson
7. James Sunderland
8. Liam Healey
9. Jacob Heatley
10. Marko Basic
11. Ousman Cham
14. Brad Swain
15. Shiraz Khan
16. George Glover
17. Kelan Swales
18. Jack Knight
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