Premier League: HBU RH & SC 6 V 3 Letchworth RHC
HBU (Kings) 6 v 3 Letchworth
Location: The Bay Arena
Herne Bay United had their first home game in the national premier league against Letchworth on Sunday morning. United coming straight off a 21-2 win in their first game of the season last week were confident of victory. Letchworth however had different ideas and were not going to be intimidated. United went into the game making 2 changes from the previous week, Joie Singleton replaced Joel Defigueredo and Dan Barton replaced Dave Garlick.
United started slowly, Letchworth were solid in defence and despite United dominating possession they could not find a way through their opponents. Letchworth struggled to keep the ball in attack but were happy to keep soaking up the limited pressure United applied. It was a game where both defences were dominating. With 13 minutes remaining in the half United’s Brendan Barker scored from close range to put United in front 1-0. This should have been the catalyst needed to kick start united into stepping up the pressure. United though were stuck in 2nd gear and it was Letchworth who stepped their game up. With 4 minutes left in the half Letchworth captain Andrew Allen scored to tie the game at 1-1. The visitors sensed that an upset was on the cards. United were misfiring in attack, and Letchworth’s keeper Ben Howes was equal to everything United could throw at him. 30 seconds later Letchworth capitalised again when veteran striker Nigel Allen robbed Barker of the ball on the halfway line, sprinted to the edge of penalty and rifling the ball home past a helpless united keeper to put the visitors 1-2 ahead, United could not respond and the score remained 1-2 at halftime.
United were in danger of losing the game, and they came out for the 2nd half determined to get back on track. Straight from the whistle they went after Letchworth and were rewarded with a string of chances, a combination of poor finishing and some fines saves from the Letchworth keeper denied them the goal that would bring them level. Then with 19 minutes left in the game Letchworth heaped more misery on United when Stuart Langley’s long range effort took a wicked deflection off Neil Austin before finding the bottom corner of the net to put United 1-3 behind. The home side had to respond otherwise the game would be lost. Within 30 seconds United’s Barker scored his 2nd of the game to make it 2-3. It was now a case of whether Letchworth could withstand United pressure for the rest of the game. They held out for another 6 minutes but with 12 minutes remaining Barker scored his 3rd to tie the game. Within a minutes he scored his 4th to put United in front 4-3. United were still missing chance after the chance and could relax until Joe Singleton scored with an excellent flick shot into the top corner to make it 5-3 with 5 minutes to go. Barker finished the scoring with his 5th and United’s 6th with 31 seconds left in the game to make the final score HBU 6 v 3 Letchworth.
After the game United striker Brendan Barker said: “We were not good today. Our finishing was terrible. Credit to Letchworth they were very solid, and a hard team to beat. It was a Sunday morning performance from us. We struggled to get going the whole game. It was a wake up call for us. We did not play with the intensity required. That said we won the game and whilst we know we need to improve a win is a win. On a personal note I am happy to score 5 goals.”
Letchworth veteran striker Nigel Allen said: “We pushed United all the way, unfortunately for us we could not sustain the level required for the whole game. United didn’t let up for the whole game, and in the last 10 minutes tiredness got the better of us. We pushed them all the way though, and we know if we can keep playing like this we can have our best season for some years.”
HBU coach Phil mcvey said: “We were so far off the level of performance required. We were one paced, our finishing was unbelievably bad. We had at least 80% of the possession and could not make it count. Hopefully this will act as a wake up call to the squad. We need to put on a performance every game we play. Credit to Letchworth they pushed us all the way. We need to improve, we have 2 matches this weekend, against bury away and Manchester at home. Every game we play this season is a must win game.”
Kings Fish Bar Man Of The Match went to: Brendan Barker
Team Lists: HBU RH & SC: Dan Barton, Joe Singleton(1), Karl Smith, Dan Butcher, Simon Hosking(Cap), Neil Austin, Luciano Difeo, Brendan Barker(5), Tom White, Jay Williamson
Letchworth RHC: Matt White, Jake Mansfield, Nigel Allen(1), Andrew Allen(Cap)(1), Stuart Langley(1), Neil Warren, Craig Gibson, Ben Howes, Ricky Jupp