The ground was pretty easy to find as it located directly behind an ice rink on the edge of town and, because the ice rink is so well signposted, you can’t really fail to find the ground! However priorities have to be made and you can’t go the seaside and not have walk down to the seafront and sample some fish ‘n’ chips, so it was a case of whizzing past the ground and heading off in the general direction of the North Sea. I have to admit the food did not disappoint and it was one of the best pieces of cod I’ve sampled in a while. Can the day get any better? You bet it can!
After returning to the ground and parking up, it was time to enter Hillheads Park for the main event. It was £7 to enter and a further £1 for a programme. The welcome was warm as people connected to the club stopped and had a chat to you. They were genuinely pleased that we’d come all this way to watch the bay. It’s the little things like this that make you feel appreciated. I’d never get that a welcome like that at Goodison, I’m afraid.
The ground is simple enough with a big main stand and a covered terrace next to it. The other three sides of the ground are terracing. On having a look at the pitch, the first thing that hits you is how wide the pitch is. It’s massive! I suspect that in these parts they like old fashioned wing play and indeed that it how the game would be won.
Whitley Bay came out of the blocks like an express train and hit Hyde with a double whammy that left them two goals down within 5 minutes. Paul Chow found the bottom corner of the net after just 3 minutes. From the kick off the ball was intercepted and passed out wide to man-of-the-match Chris Moore, who cut in and shot past the keeper. It was more or less game over after 25 minutes when a Moore cross was headed home by Rob Livermore.
The travelling Hyde supporters were not amused and indeed when a ball went out for a corner kick one fan hurled it back at the Hyde player and asked for some pride in the shirt. The Bay could have added to their tally before half time but it was Hyde who came closest when Chris Simm hit the post. Perhaps it may have been a different story if that had found the net.
The second half continued where the first had left off with Whitely Bay continuing to push forward, however Hyde did manage to pull a goal back on 65 minutes when a Chris Lynch diving header reduced the arrears. However any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Neil Tolson was sent off a couple of minutes later for calling the linesman a f****** c*** and towards the end of the game Karl Munroe was sent off, again for foul and abusive language.
The fact that Hyde finished with only nine men should not detract from Whitley Bays performance which was simply magnificent. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining game of football, which was well worth the long trip north. It will be interesting to see who the Bay draw in the next round.
FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round
Whitley Bay 3-1 Hyde United