Premier League: HBU defeat, means title bid takes a knock
HBU 4 v 8 Middlesbrough
Herne Bay United faced last year’s premier league winners Middlesbrough at the Arena on Saturday night. This was the first meeting between the 2 teams since the cup final last season. Middlesbrough were looking for revenge for the cup final defeat and for which ever side won the game it would give them a huge advantage for the rest of the season. Middlesbrough had the better of the early exchanges and 6 minutes in Will Smith scored from close range to make it 0-1. United were further stunned when Smith scored again 3 minutes later to put the visitor’s 0-2 up. United immediately hit back with a goal from Luciano (Tati) Difeo 20 seconds later, but any hope United had of building any momentum was lost when Borough’s captain John Jones scored to make it 3-1 within 30 seconds. United could not sustain any sort of pressure on their northern rivals and Borough scored 2 more (Giralt & Smith) before United captain Simon Hosking scored from a penalty to make it 2-5 at half time.
United knew they were not performing as they should and they went out for the second half determined to put things right. Despite both teams creating chances neither side could break the deadlock in the 2nd half. Then with 11 minutes to go Owen Stewart scored a well taken goal to put Borough 2-6 up. 30 seconds later United player Difeo felt he was fouled by his opponent right in front of the referee, to his amazement the referee then awarded a free hit against him. Difeo then made his feelings known to the ref. This resulted in the referee showing the United player a blue card (Sin binning him for 2 minutes), this further infuriated the player from Argentina and letting his emotions get the better of him launched into another verbal rant at the ref. The referee then red carded Difeo and he was sent from the rink.
United continued to take the game to Borough but the northern side were looking solid in defence. Finally with 4 minutes left Brendan Barker scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-6, however again United conceded a goal immediately from the restart to make it 3-7. United hit back a minute later to make it 4-7. Tempers were rising in both camps and in the last 2 minutes Jones from Middlesbrough and Barker from United were both blue carded (separate incidents). Then with 50 seconds remaining Stewart scored from the edge of the box to make it 4-8 to the reigning champions.
After the game United player Luciano Diefeo said: “I would like to apologise to my team mates, my manager, the fans and the referee. I let my emotions get the better of me. I am still adjusting to life in England and it is hard for me. That is no excuse though and I should not have reacted like that. I only reacted because of the passion I have for both the game of roller hockey and for Herne Bay United. I have been welcomed into the HBU family with open arms. I will try to make sure it does not happen again.”
United striker Brendan Barker said: “It was a disappointing evening for us. We did not play well and Middlesbrough deserves the victory. The refereeing was questionable at times but they are not the reason we lost, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Well done to ‘boro. We will have to work even harder in training if we want to win out title back.”
HBU manager Phil McVey added: “We were 2nd best from start to finish. Middlesbrough look as though they have pushed on from last season. Individually we are as good if not better, but as a team they are way ahead of us. We made school boy errors in defence, players diving in and over committing in challenges, and we did not play with any confidence in attack. 3 times we conceded a goal within 60 seconds of scoring, for a team with experience that we have that is unacceptable. This is a transitional season for us, and I know it was always going to be difficult, we have a lot of new young players and it is a case of trying to bring them in slowly into the team. I have to try and get them up to speed as quick as possible and then put them in the team at the right time. Tonight’s result has confirmed to me that they are going to have to be introduced sooner rather than later. Take nothing away from Middlesbrough they are a very good team and they deserved to win the league last season. They look like the team to beat this season. It is up to us to regroup and come back stronger. Our season will hinge on how the players bounce back from this because make no mistake it hurts.”
HBU Kings Team: David Garlick, Dan Barton (gks), Joe Singleton, Karl Smith, Danny Butcher, Luciano Difeo (1), Simon Hosking,cpt (2), Neil Austin, Tom White, Brendan Barker (1)