National Premier League
Bury 2 – 5 Herne Bay United
Herne Bay United travelled to Soham to face title challengers Bury on Saturday evening. Bury were confident that they would be the first club to take points of United this season. The game started with United looking impenetrable in defence and confident in attack. The first five minutes saw United ease their way into the game, restricting Bury to shots from long range. With 20 minutes left in the half United won an indirect free hit to be taken from the bottom corner of Bury’s penalty area. United’s Tom White reacted quickly, spotting that the Bury keeper was off his post he hit the ball at the keeper, it rebounded of the keeper into the goal. The referee awarded the goal and United were 0-1 ahead. United continued to dominate the game, moving the ball around well. Bury were now under pressure and twice in 3 minutes bury conceded penalties, however United failed to convert either chance and the score remained 0-1. Then with 2 minutes to go United’s Danny Butcher beat 2 players before slotting the ball home to make it 0-2 at halftime.
United knew that Bury were going to come out all guns blazing at the start of the 2nd half, and that’s exactly what happened. United weathered the storm but after 6 minutes Bury managed to pull a goal back when Martin Walker scored from close range to make it 1-2. Bury’s hopes were immediately dashed when 90 seconds later Butcher scored his 2nd of the game to restore United’s 2 goal cushion (1-3). Bury did not give up and 2 minutes later they scored with a controversial goal. A shot from Bury was saved it went up and hit the basket ball net behind the goal before dropping back down and rebounding in off an unsighted Jay Williamson in the United goal. The rules state that if the ball hits a temporary structure other than the barrier then the game should be stopped and a bully awarded. However the refs did not do this and awarded the goal. Bury were now back in the game (2-3). United did not let the goal distract them from the job in hand, they continued to quietly push and probe Bury’s defence, then with 10 minutes remaining in the game United captain Simon Hosking scored to make it 2-4. There was no way back for Bury, United controlled the remainder of the game, and although Bury threatened United’s goal a couple more times they never looked like getting back into the match. Then with 16 seconds left and Bury over committing in attack, United broke and Hosking scored his 2nd to make the final score Bury 2 – 5 HBU.
After the game United’s Danny Butcher said: “The gaffer told us he wanted a solid professional performance in defence and attack, we needed to play as a team. That’s exactly what we did. We felt we were always in control of the match from the first minute to the last. All the lads are thrilled with the win. We know we can play better, but we are still developing as a side. Bury are one of the favourites for the title so to beat them away from home is great. That said, we know we are not the finished article, we need to take it one game at a time”.
United Manager Phil McVey said: “The team did exactly what I wanted them to do. It was not about putting on a display, or a show for the Bury fans, I wanted a solid, no nonsense performance. We need to defend and attack as a unit and that’s exactly what we did from start to finish. There was not a stand out performance from anyone in the team, today was all about the TEAM performing. We are now sitting top of the league having won 6 out of 6 but for me that is irrelevant. This year is all about developing the squad and the team. 6 out of the 9 players today were 22 or younger. It’s great that the younger players are stepping up. Clearly they still have a lot to learn but they are listening to me and working hard in training and the improvement individually and as a team is there for all to see. They are far from the finished article and we have a long way to go, but at the moment we are on track in regards of their development. Hopefully if they continue to listen and work then they can continue to grow as individuals and as a team. It’s nice to be top of the league, but there are 5 clubs with a realistic chance of winning the league, and out of those 5, I consider HBU’s chances to be the slimmest. It’s changing all the time, earlier today Middlesbrough drew with Grimsby 3-3 at Grimsby, which means they have both dropped more points. The favourites would now have to be Manchester, followed by Grimsby, Bury, Middlesbrough then us”.
HBU Team: Jay Williamson (GK), Karl Smith, Neil Austin, Fabio Vicente, Danny Butcher (2), Tom White (1), David Todd, Joe Singleton, Simon Hosking © (2).
Man of the match: Danny Butcher (scored the goals at right times).
HBU National Division 1
HBU National Division 1 squad travelled to Soham at the weekend in their 2nd Tournament of the season and one they hoped to put themselves at the top of the table.
HBU are looking at this Hockey being a chance to help progress the younger members in the club to senior level and at the same time with the aim to win. This weekend unfortunately two of the squad selected were unavailable so one from the Under 17’s and two from the Under 15’s squads travelled with the team and showed very promising signs throughout the day, they were supported by four senior members of the club.
HBU firstly faced the home side of the day Ely who are a young team progressing with some good pace and good building Hockey. The game started fairly close and chances were falling to both teams but Garrett Preistley in goal was giving United the back bone they needed, and the time to settle into the game. United had the strength and Ely sat back off United possibly giving them too much respect and it was this that set the tone of the game. United stepped it up with first half finishing 0-2 to United and HBU looking fairly comfortable not overly pushing and the goals coming from Brendan Barker and Matt Holness.
Again in the second half Ely showed moments of good hockey but the strongest efforts came individualy and again United rarely looked in trouble with Barker getting two more and Alex Mount getting his first of the day. Final Score 0-5 to HBU.
HBU’s 2nd match of the day was against current favourites with no losses this season Maidstone. HBU looked a lot more together and the first half was very closely fought with both teams having opportunities but it was United that were looking more clinical with Maidstones Keeper making some excellent saves. Again it was late in the 1st half when United took the advantage with two goals through Barker. HBU were showing some real moments of good flowing Roller Hockey. The 2nd half was a little easier for United they were gelling a lot better and some very good moments from all and some nice play between the Junior and senior members of the team showing the understanding is coming together. United capitalised on the heads dropping and tiredness of Maidstone setting in, Barker getting his 3rd and then 1 each from Lewis Greenwood and Alex Mount. Final Score 5-0 to United.
3rd and Final game was against Sheffield and again started very tight United taking the lead with two goals from Phil McVey and Brendan Barker, but United allowed Sheffield back in with two goals one a very well struck Back hand from Jermane Clarke. First half was 2-2.
Again United were really pushing Sheffield and Derek Bell in goal was stopping all that was thrown at him. It was beginning to look like the game might play out but with 6 minutes to go United found there momentum and 3 goals from Barker, 1 from McVey and Mount finishing twice the final score was a comfortable 8-2 victory and rounded off a overall positive Day for HBU in National Division 1 and going top of the table.
After the day Brendan Barker commented: ” was a good day and you forget how hard it is to play three games in a day and you certainly feel it. I enjoyed the day and it is good to help the younger players come forward. Overall the day was positive we were seeing a few issues with players some common mistakes that they are all making and others that are individual but nothing we can’t improve on, but we must remember the oldest Junior with us was just 16years old, they are very young with so much time to learn and at some points played some very slick and flowing roller hockey that shows they have the potential to be great and we are lucky to have them playing so well at such an age.
United player manager Phil McVey added: “A good day, I was pleased with the performance of the younger players. They show glimpses of the players they might become if they work hard and listen. I was most pleased with Luke Latham, his performance in the first 2 games was far from where it needed to be, I made him aware that he needed to improve, and to his credit in the last game of the day he completely turned his form around. His reaction to criticism is exactly what I am looking for in a player. He dug in and put in a performance. As a coach that’s all you can ask for. I need all of the players to have that same attitude, if we have that we are 90% of the way there.”
HBU ‘s next ND1 tournament is at East Grinstead on the 3rd February.
HBU Squad: Garrett Priestley, Alex Mount(4), Matt Holness(1), Lewis Greenwood(1), Luke Latham, Philip McVey © (2), Brendan Barker(10)
Man of tournament: Garrett Priestley (he showed that at 48 age is not a barrier)