IT was a nightmare start to 2022 for Hyde United who were heavily beaten at home by Mickleover on New Year’s Day.
Jim Gannon later spoke of the need for reinforcements after the Tigers’ recent revival came to a juddering halt.
The Tigers’ manager, whose side went into the match unbeaten in six league and cup games, pinpointed the “erosion” of his squad as he pointed to the loss of players on a weekly basis.
Hyde were again depleted, especially defensively as experienced Mickleover capitalised on their shortcomings at the back with three of their goals originating from set-pieces.
The Tigers, who had been sound defensively in previous matches, were without goalkeeper Joe Green who was struck down by Covid-19, left-back Kyle Brownhill through injury while loan centre back James Jones had returned to Alfreton Town.
In addition, in-form striker Jonah Mitchell, with three goals in the previous five games, was ruled out through a dead leg.
Gannon said: “I have a lot of thinking to do in the next few days as we don’t have the strongest squad.
“I was very pleased with three or four players, but perhaps it was a game too much for one or two as it has been a tough six weeks and Christmas period.”
Mickleover, third bottom at the start of play, did not look like a side without a win in six league games and struggling for form as they were too strong for Hyde.
They had an experienced and strong spine to their side, man mountain centre back Pablo Mills formerly of Derby County, Rotherham United and Crawley, Dutch midfielder playmaker Kemy Agustin once of Birmingham City and Swansea City and striker Stuart Beavon whose former clubs included Wycombe Wanderers, Preston North End, Burton Albion and Swansea City.
Mills and Beavon are both aged 37 and Agustin 35, and between them they have racked up more than 800 appearances at league level, experience the Hyde side lacked.
In a frenetic opening, when play went from end to end at a ferocious pace, Mickleover could have taken the lead inside 30 seconds when Beavon was denied by a smart save from stand-in goalkeeper Craig Ellison.
The visitors took the lead midway through the opening period when a free kick from the left was cleared only as far as Mills who rifled home a low shot.
Hyde were caught cold three minutes later following another set play as the ball was again played in from the left and fellow centre back Phil Watt found the net with a diving header from six yards.
The Tigers’ best chance of the opening period was a free kick from Liam Tongue which forced a smart save from Jonathan Hedge.
Hyde’s hopes of a positive start to the second period were dashed when they conceded a penalty within three minutes after Brad Roscoe brought down William Radcliffe, a decision given by an assistant referee as Mason Warren scored from the spot.
It looked game over only for Hyde to produce their best spell of the match.
Tongue forced a fine save from Hedge following a terrific shot on the run from 30 plus yards and Mickleover hacked another effort off the line following a goalmouth scramble.
Hyde gained a toehold back into the match when Roscoe scored his fourth goal of the season, a glancing header from substitute Harry Benns’ free kick with 21 minutes left.
But any hope of a heroic fightback ended seven minutes later when Hyde conceded a fourth goal.
Ellison claimed he was fouled after failing to catch a corner as Watt was on target again stabbing the ball home.
And to add to their woes, Hyde finished with 10 men after 18-year-old midfielder Cameron Fogerty limped off with a gashed shin with all three substitutes used, another worry for Gannon.