Hyde keep the Trophy
By Iain Benson
The Ray Stanley Memorial Shield was taken away from Bower Fold by the team that brought it, after what, on paper, was a comprehensive victory for the freshly promoted Hyde.
The Celtic team started with several faces from last season, with Dennis Sheriff leading the line on his own, and he was put through one-on-one with Dave Carnell, but the Hyde, and former Celtic keeper, stood up well, and Sheriff's shot rolled wide. New signing, Jamie Mullan, looked lively down the right wing, and he almost got a just reward for his endeavour in the sunshine, when he cut inside and curled an effort just past the opposite post after being picked out by a forty-yard ball from Greg Wilkinson.
Hyde too had gone close on a couple of occasions, with Stefan Cox firing across the face and Adam Griffin putting his free header from a corner over the bar.
The visitors took the lead with some mad scrambling as Ashleuy Woodhouse, Joel Bembo-Leta and Kristian Platt twice tried to stop Hyde, only for the scramble to end with a toe poke from Callum Byrne through a crowd to be adjudged as crossing the line despite Mark Lees looking to have cleared it.
One of the fresh faces in the squad did his chances of a contract no harm with his play in the first half, and Adam Pepper forced a great save from Carnell after Pepper had run the Hyde defence ragged and made enough space for a shot.
Bang on half time, Stefan Cox again ran the Celtic back line ragged, and provided the final touch into the six yard box for everybody but David Poole to miss, and he converted to put Hyde up before the interval.
The second half was a usual friendly approach from Celtic, with everybody except Callum Warburton coming off, and being replaced by trialists and youth. And there were some impressive performances. Although Frank Atanga gave Hyde a glossy scoreline when he converted their corner with a free header from ten yards, there was some good play on show from Celtic.
Jamie Green did well to make some space for a shot that Carnell did well to save, whilst new signing Jack Laird was lively and came closest to scoring for Celtic just before the end of the match when he used good quick feet and made the space for a curling effort that cannoned back off the post. But all over the park there were good showings by the potential next crop of Celtic first teamers, and the season bodes well if they can gel into a team.