CAMERON Hyde’s return to the centre of the North Companions defence could have been the difference as the home side outclassed a previously unbeaten Joeys FC 4-0 at Marius Street on Saturday.
Hyde slipped back into his role at centre back with ease in only his second game since he injured himself 20 minutes into the season.
Joeys have scored 49 goals this season to be the highest scorer across both conferences, but they hardly got a look in in the first half.
A very lopsided territory stat meant Joeys could only hold on for so long, and when Ben van Aanholt picked up a great pass on a run forward and beat the keeper Norths lifted even more.
A shot over the bar, another into the bar and another off the post kept the home side at bay to go into halftime up 1-nil.
Once again in the second half Hyde and his defence fed the ball up front, only this half Norths got it inside the posts.
Jake Thompson opened up with a great shot finding the back of the net, before Nic Bowden ran one in three minutes later.
After threatening to do something brilliant all day, Will Kam brought the supporters to their feet.
Kam turned onto a pass before dribbling across the top of the box and beating the keeper by driving the ball low in the left corner for one of the goals of the season.
Coach Gavin Thompson said the presence of Hyde at the back was one of the main reasons for the win.
“He is a good communicator and keeps us together,” Thompson said.
“We really missed him.”
It hasn’t been all bad for the defender since injuring his knee in the first game.
Hyde has spent the last month in Brazil, attending every Socceroos game as well as the Uruguay verse Columbia quarter final.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Hyde said.
“I have put a bit of weight on with all the pub food and beer.”
Hyde said it was easy to slip back into his role, but was glad to make the full 90 minutes.
“That’s my first full game since the semi final last year.”
“I think I just compliment Zac Kam at the back.”
“He does a lot of the work.”
The defender said that being the only team to beat Joeys gives them a lot of confidence.
The win keeps Norths at outright second behind Tamworth FC in the Southern Conference.