A magnificent defensive effort saw Gloucester City take a point off league leaders Hyde in their own back yard.
Matt Coupe led his back line superbly as City contained sustained pressure from the high flying Manchester based side.
Hyde were determined to play their fast passing football from the off with Matthew Berkeley giving keeper Lewis Carey an early test. Adam Griffin’s powerful ball across to Daniel Poole on 5 minutes heralded another attack but Poole couldn’t get passed Tom Hamblin’s head as the first defence of the City box began.
A looping free kick caught the wind moments later but Carey was unfazed, clearing the ball upfield and allowing City to attack. Both sides could have gone ahead either side of the 20 minute mark, first Will Morford slipped as he prepared to round Daniel Carnell, having beaten Hyde captain Gianluca Havern. Carnell’s clearance went straight to Berkeley who got as far as the six yard box before a robust challenge from Coupe stopped him in his tracks.
With Gloucester sticking to strict zonal marking to contain Hyde they began to see more of the ball, Hamblin and Mullings both had shots on 28 minutes as City brought the game to Hyde. On the left flank the travelling Gloucester fans were treated to the sight of Jack Harris throwing himself into the game, finally looking back to his tough tackling best.
But they must have cringed when tempers flared between Darren Edwards and Matt Lock on the half hour market with the latter not taking well to the former’s criticism of a misplaced pass. After a playground style bit of pushing and shoving and some stern word from the ref they saw out the half glaring at each other.
As Gloucester pushed towards the end of the half Darren Mullings rifled a shot just high of the crossbar from outside the box before Mike Green resorted to acrobatic defending to keep out another Hyde attack at the other end.
The home side came out firing on all cylinders in the second half with Gloucester forced into action after a run of corners. Once again Harris was looking fearless as he cleared the ball upfield.
City’s brave defending wasn’t exactly textbook at times with Coupe’s decision to chip the ball just over the bar to clear it on 50 minutes giving Carey a scare but they continued to contain Hyde.
That said Hyde showed little of the class in front of goal which had dominated the first meeting of the teams this season back in August.
Not even Hyde wonder striker Scott Spencer couldn’t find a way past City, scuffing two shots as he came on off the bench, one flying wide the other on 68 minutes looping way over the bar.
Minutes later he bottled a one-on-one with Carey, shooting when he should’ve chipped.
The flag was already up for offside when Darren Edwards poked the ball into the net at the other end.
In a tense final ten minutes Carey tipped the ball over the ball after a Hyde cross caught a gust of wind before saving a shot from Spencer.
City had chances to nick a late winner with Steve Davies shooting wide before Edwards found Tom Webb clear on the edge of the box, the City captain didn’t quite reach the ball before Carnell snatched it away as Gloucester successfully defended their unbeaten record at Ewen Fields.
Hyde: Carnell, Brizell, Griffin, Hall, Havern, Pearson (Spencer 67) Moses, Byrne, Berkeley (Broadbent 74) Poole, Crowther. Subs: Williams, Worsley, Birch.
Gloucester: Carey, Green, Harris, Coupe, Hamblin, Webb, Lock (Rawlings 75), Mullings, Edwards, Morford (Davies 73), Mann. Subs: Wilson, Rose
Ref: Scott Oldham
Star man: Matt Coupe (Glos)