PL Kings Lynn v HBU
Date:14th Dec 2013. Venue: Lynnsport
Herne Bay United were away to Kings Lynn at the weekend in the Premier League. United lost the league by one point last season and it was the away fixture to Kings Lynn that was the deciding match and dropping the three points there cost them the title. This season they did not want to risk such a mistake.
Kings Lynn are a maturing side who challenge any team they play and this season they have been reinforced with the summer signings of Sam Kay from Middlesbrough and Michael Carter from Peterborough.
Kings Lynn immediately made their mark when Captain Josh Taylor created space to finish an unstoppable slap shot to the top corner 13 seconds into the game.
United composed themselves and knew there was a long way to go and began to build momentum looking to level the score as soon as possible and they didn’t have to wait long before Simon Hosking responded. This was shortly followed by a second United goal, which was a well built team effort with the assist from Hosking’s to give Neil Austin his first of the game and United a 1 – 2 lead.
Chances were falling to both teams and the match became quite scrappy with fouls being committed by both teams. Kings Lynn’s Jamie Griffin brought the teams level with 13 minutes to go with a rebound finish of a Kings Lynn shot and the ball falling kindly for them.
United made its first team change in Hosking for Brendan Barker who within moments was on a clear counter attack only to be brought down by Kings Lynn’s Taylor, United looking for a sure blue card to only be given a team foul. Letting this foul go set a precedent for the rest of the match and shortly after a second sure blue card tackle by United’s Singleton again was not given. This now set the tone of the match and the referees very much lost their grasp on the match.
Shortly after this incident in the United’s half following a Kings Lynn attack Barker and Kings Lynn’s Sam Kay went for an even50/50 ball with Sam on the barrier side Barker on the outside with Barker clearing the ball down the barrier to be picked up by Austin who was countering. Kay at full speed in the challenge came into contact with the wall getting badly injured. He didn’t return to his feet and the game was then stopped. Kay had a bad cut above the left eye and he left the rink to seek medical attention. The referees then deliberated and penalized HBU with a TF but it was confusing decision as they had let the game play on.
The game restarted and both teams continuing to fight for dominance and United were working hard to take the clear lead and were soon rewarded with a team effort this time Barker with the assist for Captain Joe Singleton to finish. Barker then followed up shortly after with United’s forth with three minutes remaining. However with United again committing more than necessary team fouls it was not long before 10 team fouls was reached
and Kings Lynn had their first direct of the match. Michael Carter stepped up and made no mistake in finishing making the score just before the 1st half buzzer 3 – 4 to HBU.
The second half resumed and United were first to score through a Fabio Vicente slap shot and now looked in control with regular team changes with the main difference being the injection of Lewis Greenwood who is in his Rookie season in the Premier League. United missed two opportunities from the dead ball in this game but United made up for it when Vicente finished another good team goal after Barker fed the ball over.
United now with a 4 – 7 lead, Kings Lynn on 14 team fouls and United were looking for that team foul but it was not coming, the referees lacked assertiveness and control. Kings Lynn never gave up and Captain Josh Taylor fought through to give Kings Lynn a glimmer of hope with a minute and a half left 5 – 7.
United were faltering and looked scrappy towards the end and trying to regain composure, with Jay Williamson making it impossible for Kings Lynn to get any closer, only for United to be awarded a Penalty 20 seconds from the end.
Further controversy and confusion followed. Following the Penalty decision a Kings Lynn player made his opinion of the decision known and was sanctioned with a team foul against him which meant they now had 15 team fouls and United would have a Penalty and a direct immediately to follow the Penalty.
However initially it was agreed that whether the penalty was scored or not the Direct would be also taken, but once the Penalty was taken by Barker scoring his second of the game, the third official pointed out that the ball had to be taken to the centre to restart so the goal could be validated, it was then discussed again between officials and the decision was made that the direct would not be taken and the team foul stood which meant HBU could not have that opportunity which was their right to win a direct at the 15th team foul. The players from both teams objected and following this the 15th team foul was removed. The match restarted and United won 5 – 8 with a valuable 3 points.
United’s Jay Williamson commented after the game, “I am happy with the result today and it is a real shame a player was injured and I speak on behalf of the team when I say I hope all heals well for him, it was a freak incident.”
United took the game but it could have been so a much more enjoyable game to watch, and the lack of assertiveness and control by the referees left the game with a bitter taste.
The Venue though allows Roller Hockey to be played, questions have to be asked on its suitability and health and safety – a small rink with dangerous barriers, alcoves and brick walls. A fast moving senior game on skates and injuries as we saw today are a consequence of such a sport in such a venue.
HBU team list: Eddie Mount, Joe Singleton© (1), Danny Butcher, Lewis Greenwood, Simon Hosking(1), Neil Austin(2), Tom White, Brendan Barker(2), Fabio Vicente(2), Jay Williamson
Kings Lynn: Will Martin, Josh Gay, Sam Kay, Jack Tucker, Josh Taylor©(2), Jami Griffin(2), Michael Carter(1)