High-flying Hyde United became the latest promotion chaser to fail to take all three points from the Kensite as Ben Hardcastle’s second half penalty secured a well-earned point for the Colls.
Hyde visiting the Kensite saw the final instalment of Colls’ recent trilogy of home fixtures against the top three of the Evo-Stik League Division One North, with a victory over Scarborough Athletic being followed by defeat against leaders South Shields.
In what was a game of two penalties, Hyde went in front from 12 yards through Max Leonard on 12 minutes, with Ben Hardcastle levelling the scores with Colls’ own spot kick on 63 minutes. Micheal Clegg’s black and whites faced a final nine minutes with only ten men after skipper Brad Cooke was shown a straight red card for a foul on Luke Porritt, but Colls held out for a point to add to the three earned with Saturday’s 3-2 win away to Ossett Town.
Visitors Hyde had an early chance when Colls goalkeeper Greg Hartley was called upon to make a smart save at the back post, but there was nothing he could do to keep out Max Leonard’s twelfth minute penalty, awarded for a handball against Danny Lafferty.
Luke Porritt was to be something of a pivotal figure on Hyde’s left flank, drawing a foul out of Lewis Doyle that brought an early yellow card and a degree of reorganisation in the Colls defence with Lafferty moving to right back, though he too was to be booked for a foul on Porritt.
With Colls attacking up the slope in the first half, their best chance fell to Marcus Cusani, who curled a twenty fourth minute effort just wide of the target after cutting inside on to his right foot just inside the Hyde penalty area.
Jack Kenny replaced Jordan Cover at the break as Colls looked to level the scores, which they duly managed on 63 minutes when Hardcastle sent Peter Crook the wrong way to roll home his second penalty in three days.
The higher status of the visitors – a Conference National side as recently as four years ago – was counting for little as Colls started to create the better chances of the game with Hardcastle at the centre of things, flashing the ball agonisingly across the face of goal on seventy minutes after neat footwork had created the opening before seeing Crook save his attempt from the edge of the box eight minutes later, albeit after a deflection had taken much of the sting out of his attempt.
While Hyde predictably dominated possession after Cooke was sent from the field on 81 minutes, it was actually Colls who had the better chance of the remainder of the game, substitute James Sigsworth breaking clear on goal but denied by Crook from a narrow angle before the home side safely saw out five minutes of added time to claim a share of the spoils.
With the Evo-Stik League Division One set to change next season from a north/south split to an east/west arrangement, Tadcaster Albion have the dubious honour of being the final team to cross the Pennines to visit the Kensite on Saturday (21st April, 3pm) before Prescot Cables make the somewhat shorter journey to downtown Athy the following Monday (23rd April, 7.45pm) as Colls’ end-of-season run of home games continues.
Atherton Collieries: Greg Hartley, Lewis Doyle (Dave Sherlock 80’), Gareth Peet, Josh Messer, Matt Grimshaw, Daniel Lafferty, Ben Hardcastle, Brad Cooke ©, Jordan Cover (Jack Kenny 46’), Liam O’Neill (James Sigsworth 69’), Marcus Cusani. Substitutes (not used); Jonny Hurst, Adam Farrell
Goals: Ben Hardcastle (penalty, 63′)
Hyde United: Peter Crook, Kyle Harrison, Kyle Brownhill, Janni Lipka, Tyrone Gay, Paddy Miller ©, Dominic McHale (Karl Jones 72’), Big Khamsuk, Ben Deegan (Dominic Marie 64’), Max Leonard (Elliott Rokka 72’), Luke Porritt. Substitutes (not used); Harry Coates, James Burke
Goals: Max Leonard (penalty, 12′)
Match Report: Matt Lawton
Photograph: David Featherstone