Tell me a footballer or supporter who doesn’t mind seeing his team lose and I’ll introduce you to a person that tells little white lies. There are exceptions, of course, and the majority of people at Borough Park for this FA Trophy tie regarded the defeat as ‘acceptable’ in the circumstances.
Danny Grainger’s inexperienced line-up, a necessity not a choice, gave a decent enough account of themselves but never seriously threatened to end Reds’ recent failure in a competition for the country’s steps 1 – 4 clubs.
They ran out of steam eventually and lacked a presence in the final third of the pitch – a Jack Redshaw for example. He wasn’t, by any means, outstanding for the visitors but his superb positional sense, gathered over an impressive fifteen-year career, proved the crucial difference.
There was lots of intricate passing and good movement from Reds but not much ‘end product’ where it really mattered, whereas Hyde knew they had a reliable finisher with goal scoring potential.
And his two goals a quarter of an hour in and fifteen minutes from the end ensured a comfortable passage into the next round for Hyde.
His first, after seventeen minutes, saw Reds caught out on a swift counter attack and he found space at the far post to despatch Antoine Makoli’s cross from the left. Then, in the seventy-fifth minute when Reds were, technically, still in the game he netted his second, Hyde’s third, to put the game to bed.
Reds had equalised on the stroke of half time with a well-constructed goal of their own when Steven Rigg met a pin-point Brad Hubbold cross to head past Sam Waller.
They deserved that goal which was the reward for a good response to United’s opener.
The turning point of the game might have been the Kofi Moore shot which rattled the Hyde crossbar. He had combined well with Lewis Moore and his effort, well struck and accurate, rebounded off the woodwork. It was more worthy of a goal than the effort which restored the visitors lead after fifty-seven minutes.
Hyde did press well in the build-up to Ryan White’s goal but it was a block tackle rather than a deliberate shot and the ball rebounded over Danny Eccles and into the net.
Jamie Devitt made his debut late in the game and a fifteen-minute cameo provided a ‘highlights package’ of his wonderful career – a string of accurate passes, a couple of crosses into the danger area, a shot on target via a free kick and a booking!
Reds were well served by youngsters Matty Bell, Fin Wallbank, Keelan Leslie, the two Moores and Kitt Nelson with seniors Rigg and Hubbold holding the side together.
It was certainly unusual to see Lewis Moore feature in the FA Youth Cup and Trophy in the same week and, whilst that is great prospect for the future, it is the present injury crisis which is causing most concern.
Even with seven named substitutes, eight senior players were absent from the squad. Goalkeeper Danny Eccles did make a welcome return after his three months stint in the treatment room but when Sam Smith hobbled off before half time it was a case of one in, one out.
As stated previously, an ‘acceptable’ defeat, whatever that means.
Workington: Eccles, McCaragher, Bell, Wallbank, Smith (Hammell, 34), Leslie, Moore K, Hubbold, Rigg (Devitt, 77), Moore L (Allison, 71), Nelson. Substitutes – Martin, Casson, Tait, Lister (not used).
Hyde United: Waller, Ditchfield, Amado, Spooner, Fleming, Turner, White, Whittingham (Pritchard, 85), Bunn (Bell, 66), Redshaw, Makoli (Badjie, 82). Substitutes – Mellor, Alessandra, Foster (not used).
Referee: Ben Schofield
Bookings: Devitt (Workington), Spooner, Fleming, Bunn, Bell (Hyde United)