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National Division 1: HBU Remain Top after First Tournament of the Year

Posted by  on January 16, 2012

National Division 1

Location: Houghton Regis; Date: 08.01.2012

Herne Bay United Reserves played in their 3rd tournament of the season in the National Division 1 at Houghton Regis on Sunday.

They had 3 tough games, the first against Sheffield and the remaining 2 matches against last season’s top 2 teams. (Halifax and Houghton Regis).

The first game was against Sheffield. HBU dominated from the first whistle and it wasn’t long before they took a commanding lead. United were moving the ball around well and won the game 11-2.

United’s 2nd game was to be a much tougher game. Halifax were runners up last season and United knew they were going to have to play well if they were going to win the game. HBU were solid in defence and dangerous in attack. Whilst Halifax applied pressure periodically United ran out comfortable winners 7-3.

The last game of the day saw HBU face home side and current ND1 champions Houghton Regis. If United had any real aspirations of winning the division then they needed to avoid defeat. The game did not start well and Houghton Regis capitalised on United’s slow start to the match scoring 2 in the first 3 minutes. Now having to chase the game United took the game to the home side. Then with 5 minutes remaining in the half up and coming star Ashley Barton scored twice for United to make the score 2-2 at the break.

United started the second half as slowly as they did the first and again Houghton Regis took advantage scoring twice in quick succession to go into the lead – 4-2. United knew they had to avoid defeat if they want to challenge for the title, so they changed tactics in defence and went to a full rink press. The tactic worked as first they pulled a goal back with a shot from veteran Peter Taylor which flew in off the post to make it 4-3, then with only 2 minutes on the clock Phil McVey scored from a rebound to level the score at 4-4. Despite both sides having chances to win it in the last minute there were no more goals and the score ended 4-4.

HBU team: Garrett Priestley (GK), Peter Halvorsen © (2), George Holmes (2), Ashley Barton (3), Peter Taylor (1), Dave Todd (7), Phil McVey (7), Matt Holness.

After the tournament United’s in form striker Dave (Toddy) Todd said: “We are disappointed not to come away with maximum points, but it is still in our hands. We have 2 tournaments left and they are both at the Bay Arena so hopefully we can make the home advantage count. I’m happy to have scored 7 today but a little frustrated that I didn’t score in the last game. Overall a good day though.”

Player Coach Phil McVey added: “We played well in the first 2 games, but we weren’t sharp enough in the last game against Houghton Regis. Whilst we accept they are a very good side, and current ND1 champions we did not perform as we know we can do. On a personal note I was happy with my performance in the first 2 games but I did not play well in the final game. From a team perspective even though we did not play well in the last game we did what we needed to do and that was not lose. So I am happy with the fact that we refused to roll over. All the lads played, and played well at times. If we win our 7 remaining games we will win the league as Project 2012 (England U17’s) results are removed from the table.

Ashley Barton deserves a special mention, he was excellent for us today. Both he and George Holmes showed they can do it at senior level today and both have a bright future at the club.”

HBU’s 1st team are in action this weekend against Premier league Champions Middlesbrough at the Bay Arena. United need to win it if they have any designs on winning the league this season. Game starts at 19:45