HYDE UNITED YOUTH 2, STOCKPORT COUNTY YOUTH 1
Hyde United became FA Youth Cup giantkillers following their dramatic Friday night victory against Stockport County.
With the second-qualifying round tie at Ewen Fields heading for a penalty shootout decider, substitute Aiden Butterworth held his nerve to score a 96th minute winner for the young Tigers.
And it sparked joyous celebrations at the final whistle and tears as the players from this close-knit group sprinted to the touchline to embrace badly hurt striker Oli Grey.
It was the serious knee injury Grey sustained late in the game that brought about 10 minutes of added time.
Tigers’ youth team manager Jack Pritchard praised the character of his players after they had fallen behind late in the opening period.
But goals from Fin Rorke, another substitute, and Butterworth, two 17-year-olds, helped earn a home third-qualifying round tie against Skelmersdale United, the one remaining hurdle before reaching the first-round proper.
“I can’t praise the lads enough for overcoming what was a very difficult challenge,” explained Pritchard.
And he was especially delighted for the substitutes who became matchwinners.
Prichard said: “I knew Fin and Aiden would be disappointed not to have started the game.
“I wanted to be in a position after an hour when we were still in the game and could send them on to win it.
“Fin scored goals like that every day in training and Aiden held his nerve.”
Pritchard praised Urmston lad Rorke, 17, a former Rochdale academy player, who has overcome serious injury.
“Fin has not long been back after having a bad anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. He has had a tough time, but this was a nice reward,” he continued.
Pritchard made one change from the previous round as Luis Cantello replaced Butterworth on the left wing, a tactical decision.
It was a case of both evenly matched sides cancelling out one another in the opening period which was played with great pace and intensity.
Hyde, who had only been troubled once when a cross from Stockport left-back Adam Owen looped over goalkeeper Jack Bailey and struck the crossbar, fell behind five minutes before the break.
A sliced clearance from a low cross fell invitingly to Tomas Kelly who could not miss from close range.
But Hyde came close to equalising in stoppage time when Alex Judd’s header from a corner was cleared off the line.
Prichard made a bold decision to substitute Carter Waters, the matchwinner in the previous round, after an hour and replace him with Rorke.
“The way Stockport were set up, you could tell they had watched us and that included nullifying Carter. But as I have always maintained, we have other strings to our bow,” he said.
Rorke had only been on the pitch nine minutes when he made it 1-1 with a screamer from 14 yards into the top corner after Stockport failed to clear a cross from the right.
The injury and loss of Grey minutes after the equaliser did not derail Hyde who had the momentum with them.
Macclesfield-based Butterworth was put clean through by Dilesh Patel in the 85th minute, but overran the ball enabling goalkeeper Josh Schofield to deny him. You had the feeling Hyde might have blown their chance of victory.
That was not the case as Butterworth was put through down the middle in almost identical circumstances in the 96th minute, but this time there was no mistake as he buried a shot low past Schofield to secure victory to the delight of the Hyde fans kin a crowd of 252.