Premier League: Weekend of Mixed Fortunes!
Premier League: HBU v Manchester Sat 6th Match @ The Arena (HBU Win 6 – 4)
Premier League: Kings Lynn Sun 7th March @ Kings Lynn (HBU Lose 3 – 6)
HBU Premier League Mixed Fortunes!
Herne Bay United had a tough weekend ahead of them – they were to face their toughest game of the season against the League leaders Manchester and a win would put United in a controlling position of playing all the teams with few remaining games undefeated in a season that HBU were aiming to be a learning season and development season for the future. United would also be facing improving side Kings Lynn who were second from bottom in the League so two completely different ends of the scale in games.
Saturday Night United faced League leaders and a New Manchester side from last season with their starting 4 being new signings from the continent and all professional players from Spain and Italy. Manchester started strong and United began also working with the system of choice for the season but Manchester were to score first with a well worked goal from Number 4 D’Ananasio. United stepped up applying more pressure and Brendan Barker scored from a ball falling favorably from his own shot in front of the goal making it 1-1. Again United were defending strongly and also gaining chances but the finishing product to the system was not being produced and late in the first half United lapsed and conceded two goals in last 3 minutes and in the last minute Barker was sinned bin for a harsh tackle, Jay Williamson keeping the score down and going into the break 1-3 down and all to do.
United started well in the second half with 3 men due to the 39 seconds still remaining on 2 minute power play working hard, Simon Hosking was entered as soon as the time elapsed and evened up the teams, with chances beginning to fall to them, Tom White shortly scored in the top left hand corner that came straight out from the inside bar of the goal, unfortunately for Tom he suffered an ankle injury in the process and had to leave the rink and would put him out for the rest of the weekend.
2-3 and United back in the game and was shortly followed by a superb individual effort from Hosking beating two players in the air to half volley the ball past Manchester’s young up and coming ‘Keeper. United now believed and Manchester were conceding team foul after team foul and had to give away a direct free hit once they reached 10. Neil Austin took the first but was kept out, but at 3-3 United kept the pressure on and Barker got the 4th for United with a first time shot assisted by Joe Singleton. This was again followed by a cracking backhand drive from Neil Austin to put United 5-3 up. Manchester were looking tired and ratty and frustrated and with no substitutions being made and were needing a boost they did not have. The team fouls continued to be committed and again United were awarded a direct, but Barker failed and was again kept out by Manchester’s ‘Keeper he now being the only member keeping Manchester’s game alive. Unfortunately for him with six minutes to go his stick was out of his hand and he placed his glove on top of the ball awarding United a penalty. Barker Converted on the second attempt due to movement and United were 6-3 up with 6 minutes remaining. Manchester were desperate and fighting to get back and score with 5 minutes remaining but were shortly given no chance after repeated disent towards the referee with two player blue carded in the remaining 4 seconds only for Number 9 to continue this and be awarded the red card and now received a match ban. United finished on top 6-4 and moved to the top of the table and did anyone dare say looking like title contenders.
The following morning United set off to Kings Lynne for their 2nd fixture one not to prove so easy. United never looked like the same team as the night before – A significantly reduced side was present and though weakened still had names that would have on 90% of occasions done the job.
Kings Lynn are a very promising young side and have been no easy opponent for anyone this season but have not done quite enough to win. Kings Lynn were always going to come out wanting to show their capabilities as this is a game they relish and seeing a weaker United they grasped their opportunity. United were always a step behind from the start and where the HBU younger players showed promise the night before, they failed to take a less pressured situation and use the opportunity presented but their inexperience showed and that consistency was not there, The older members of the team looked tired and were not firing as so often seen. United however did battle to stay in the game but it was not to be and Kings Lynn played superbly to keep United at bay and take a shock win against a team that one day beat the League Leaders beaten by 2nd from bottom Kings Lynn the next!
United Neil Austin said, “I really felt it today and taking nothing away from Kings Lynn they were stronger than us, it was unfortunate that a player was injured yesterday in our Manchester game and two others unavailable & another on holiday so we were weaker, and though I am not making excuses after last night’s fixture and heading straight to work for the London Fire service, last night I was called out a number of occasions and though gave it my all today I was running on empty. We now will work hard to concentrate on every game as it comes and continue the good we have done so far.”
Manager Phil McVey added to this by saying: “The lads were excellent against Manchester, it was a top game of hockey, probably the best match since the Arena opened. Both teams played some exceptional hockey. The lads gave everything and were well worthy of the win. The game on Sunday against close to bottom club Kings Lynne was completely the opposite. It was a tired performance from us. We took a depleted team due to injuries, holidays and work commitments; I think all of the players were shattered from the match the night before. Having said that, Kings Lynne played very well and deserved their victory. We have 5 games left this season; our next is another tough trip, this time to Letchworth. We need to get back to winning ways in that one.”
Herne Bay United teams for matches:
6th April: Jay Williamson, Joe Singleton, Karl Smith, Simon Hosking©(1), Neil Austin(1), Ashley Barton, David Todd, Tom White(1), Brendan Barker(3), Eddie Mount
7th April: Jay Williamson, Karl Smith, Simon Hosking©(1), Neil Austin(2), Ashley Barton, David Todd, Phil McVey, Eddie Mount