HBU Reserves held their home tournament in the National Division 1 at the Arena on Sunday.
HBU had 4 games, the first was against title rivals Houghton Regis, unfortunately HBU put in a shocking performance and were punished losing 1-3. The defeat means that Houghton Regis move clear at top of the table. However HBU needed to improve if they were going to get anything out of the next 3 games.
HBU’s next match was against local rivals Herne Bay, the game proved to be a tight affair, neither team could break through the others defence. Both keepers played well although the busier of the two was Guy Osborne, he pulled off a string of fine saves including a penalty save from United’s Phil McVey. HBU continued to pile on the pressure, and whilst down to 3 players (Pete Taylor having been sin binned for threatening behaviour) Stavros Zacharia found Phil McVey who finished first time to make it 1-0 to United. Then with 5 minutes remaining in the game Phil McVey scored with a fine finish into the top right hand corner of the goal to make it 2-0. The Bay could not break through HBU’s defence and the game ended 2-0.
HBU’s 3rd match of the day was against Ely, the last time they played it was an ill tempered game which United won by one goal. This time it was a different story, United dominated from start to finish. They had now found their rhythm and were moving the ball around well. HBU’s confidence was building and by half time they had cruised to a comfortable 5-0 lead (the first 2 goals coming from young star Ashley Barton, 1 from veteran Pete Taylor, and 2 from player coach Phil McVey). United picked up the second half where they had finished the 1st, Ely could not handle United’s superior team play and at full time United had recorded a emphatic 10-0 win. (2 goals from George Holmes & 3 from Myles Barker).
United’s 4th and final game of the day was against the England U17 National side. The last time they played the national side were winners, but fresh from an excellent performance against Ely, United were confident of victory. Despite going behind twice in the first half to a goal from Lewis Greenwood (HBU player representing England) and then an own goal, United pegged them back with goals from from young talent Ashley Barton and George Holmes. United went ahead with 3 minutes remaining in the first half when Phil McVey scored from the penalty spot to give united a 3-2 lead at the break. Three minutes into the second half United’s Phil McVey made it 4-2. United were unlucky not to go further ahead. Then with 56 seconds left England pulled one back, however it was too little too late and at the final whistle United were victorious 4-3.
The result leaves HBU top of table but Houghton Regis in 2nd have games in hand, if they win them they will be top. After the tournament HBU player George Holmes said “We started terribly. We were shocking against Houghton Regis and we deserved what we got. Phil was not happy with us and made it clear he expects more from us. We improved against the Bay then stepped it up another notch in our last 2 games. This is my first season with HBU and it has taken a while to get used to the pressure. HBU expect a high standard of play and they want to win every game they play. I am enjoying the challenge and feel my game has improved since I joined.”
United coach Phil McVey added: “I was fuming after our poor performance in the first game. But I must say after that we improved dramatically. I was very impressed with all of the players, especially George, Ashley and young Eddie in goal. They had to step up and perform after the first game and the response I got from them was excellent. All 3 have a bright future ahead of them. They are knocking on the door of the first team and if they keep on working hard and listening at training then there is no reason why they can’t force their way in to the premier league side next season.”
United’s final National Division 1 tournament is in June again at the arena.
Team: Garrett Priestley (GK), Eddie Mount (GK), Matt Holness, Jon Barton, Stav Zacharia, Paul McVey, Peter Taylor (1), George Holmes (3), Myles Barker (3), Ashley Barton (3), Phil McVey (7)