Hyde United thrashed Stafford Rangers 4-0 on Saturday to continue their impressive recent form and move up to second in the Northern Premier Division.
All of the goals came in the second half as Liam Tongue, Dan O’Brien, Jack Dyche and Tom Pratt found the net to earn a fourth successive victory for the Tigers, who are now just a point behind leaders Matlock Town.
The visitors, who sit bottom of the table with just a solitary point, started brightly at Ewen Fields as a fierce shot from Joshua Green forced a smart save from Hyde goalkeeper Luke Mewitt.
Out of nowhere, the hosts almost took an 11th-minute lead as O’Brien saw a curling effort deflect narrowly wide, even though referee Lewis Raper didn’t award a corner.
The official also turned down Hyde’s appeals for a penalty on the half-hour mark when Dyche went down in the box, as Dave McGurk’s side began to increase the tempo.
After a goalless and largely uneventful first half, the Tigers broke the deadlock just after the hour mark as Tongue kept up his excellent goalscoring form.
Following winning goals away from home at FC United of Manchester and South Shields, the midfielder latched on to a smart pass from Pratt before powering a shot past Lewis King in the visitors goal for his third of the campaign.
“Another top performance by the boys! Nice to get another goal,” Tongue tweeted after the game.
The Tigers had to wait until the final 10 minutes to add gloss to the scoreline and seal a convincing victory.
The second goal arrived on 80 minutes when substitute Paddy Lane’s testing ball into the six-yard box was cleared to the edge of the area only as far as O’Brien, who placed a shot into the bottom corner.
Less than three minutes later, Dyche made it 3-0 when he rose highest to head home Kyle Brownhill’s inviting cross to net for a second successive game.
“Another great result for the boys. We dug in and deserved the win! Nice to get another goal,” Dyche posted on Twitter after Hyde’s latest win.
The captain rounded off the scoring in stoppage time as a delightful centre from Jacko Hardacre was converted at the far post by Pratt, who like Dyche also netted in the 3-1 home win over Buxton.
There was a sad moment for Stafford Rangers player Theodore Bailey-Jones, who was stretchered off with a bad injury in the closing minutes.
But the Tigers comfortably recorded their biggest win of the season so far and registered a first home clean sheet of the campaign, which bodes well early in their promotion bid.