On a highly emotional afternoon at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday, Matlock Town and Hyde United shared the points in a 1-1 draw in a day of firsts.
It was Matlock’s first match since the tragic passing of Jordan Sinnott and also new manager Paul Phillips’ first game in charge.
Both sides paid Jordan a fitting tribute, Matlock players turned up to the game in football shirts with Sinnott 25 on them, Hyde warmed up in red tops with Sinnott 25 on the back and Matlock wore T shirts bearing a slogan “Do It For Jordan” and his photograph.
All of the players and match officials wore black armbands and as the teams emerged ahead of a minute’s applause, Jordan’s great friend, Hyde keeper Lloyd Allinson, placed a wreath in the centre circle – with Matlock making a similar gesture with blue and white flowers.
Phillips’ era did not get off to the best of starts as they fell behind in the ninth minute after what had been a promising opening. A free kick was blasted low and hard by Liam Tongue, Jon Stewart could only parry and Tom Pratt fired in the loose ball.
Following head tennis in the Hyde box, Piteu Crouz hooked a 23rd minute volley wide in reply.
The 25th minute saw applause ring around the stadium as another mark of respect for Sinnott, the referee allowing a break in play as the ball had gone dead.
Whatever Phillips said to his troops at the interval certainly seemed to have the desired effect. Matlock had not played badly by any stretch of the imagination in the opening half, but after the interval it was all one-way traffic towards the visitors’ goal.
Within two minutes of the restart, Hyde were reduced to ten men when Kyle Brownhill received a second yellow card after bringing down Crouz inches outside the penalty box. Crouz hit the junction of bar and post from the following free kick.
Chilaka slid a near post effort wide after a throw had been flicked on but when Dwayne Wiley flung in another throw it led to a 52nd minute equaliser.
The throw was helped on by Yates, Crouz saw his initial shot blocked but reacted quickest to slide in and tuck a low close range shot into the net. The Gladiators players raced to the dugout where a Sinnott 25 shirt was raised in tribute.