CARL Macauley argued afterwards that there had been nothing to choose between Hyde and Witton.

That was reflected on the pitch until Dom Smalley – on loan to the Tigers from Chester – applied the finishing touch to a swift counter-attack to settle the outcome late on.

Albion lost possession just outside the home team’s penalty area when James Foley slipped, setting in motion a move that saw Tom Pratt invite substitute Luke Porritt to raid down the left.

His cross to the back post found Smalley, arriving late and with no Albion defender for company, who steered a smart diving header into the far corner.

And that was enough for Hyde.

Macauley said: “I’m really disappointed with the way we conceded.

“While they broke well, we fell asleep and didn’t track their full-back who ended up scoring.

“That was frustrating because there wasn’t much between us; both sides had done a pretty effective job out of possession to limit the other.”

Albion, able only to name two outfield substitutes with Billy Smart ruled out by suspension and James Yates unavailable due to work commitments, were forced to reshuffle when River Humphreys succumbed to an ankle injury.

Rob Hopley switched to defence, while Cesaire came on to bolster their midfield.

Chances were few, and Foley’s shot flew over for the visitors.

Hyde posed more of a threat after the interval and James Poole, borrowed from last season’s Northern Premier League champions Altrincham, sent an attempt narrowly wide.

They were gifted an opportunity to take the lead when Hopley went to ground and tripped Paddy Lane, conceding a penalty.

However goalkeeper Greg Hall dived to his right before diverting Pratt’s spot-kick to safety.

Albion resisted until the 77th minutes when Smalley popped up, condemning them to a first defeat in the league away from Wincham Park since October.

Macauley said: “It’s difficult for us to change a game when we’ve so few options from the bench because we’re light on numbers right now.

“Rob [Hopley] can do a job for us in defence but we don’t want to lose the threat he poses to the opposition at the other end of the field.”

Albion remain 14th in the table, four points clear of the drop zone.

Hyde | Crook (GK), Smalley, Brownhill, Daly, Fagbola, McCombe, Pratt, Lipka, Chilaka, Poole (Platt 71), Lane (Porritt 64) Subs not used Hughes, Roberts, Olarewaju Goal Smalley 77 Booked Smalley

Witton | Hall (GK), Gardner, Devine, Wardle, Humphreys (Cesaire 21), Booth, McKenna, Owens, Hopley, Jones, Foley (Cobley 82) Sub not used Eastwood (GK) Booked Foley

Referee Jamie O’Connor

Attendance 418