Premier League: A Solid performing weekend for HBU
Premier League –
Letchworth 1 v 5 Herne Bay United (Kings)
Time: 4.00pm; Date: 17.03.2012; Location: Letchworth
HBU faced a tough weekend in the Premier League with 2 matches. The first was away to Letchworth. United only narrowly beat their opponents in their home fixture earlier in the season so they know it was going to be tough. The Letchworth rink is only about a 1/3 of the size of the Arena in Herne Bay, and in the past the smaller dimensions has caused problems. This time though, United controlled the game straight from the start. United scored after 15 minutes through Brendan Barker to make it 0 -1. Letchworth tried to respond but they could not get past United’s solid defence. An example of this was Letchworths Ricky Jupp, who with 7 minutes remaining in the half tried to flick the ball up between 2 United defenders to plough a furrow to the goal, however United’s player Coach Phil McVey swung for the ball and accidentally caught his opponent in the mouth with his stick, resulting in 2 cut lips to the Letchworth player. United continued to pressure Letchworth and were rewarded with 2 more unanswered goals before half time (Barker & Simon Hosking).
With the score at 0 – 3 United knew they just had to maintain their discipline in defence and attack, 9 minutes into the 2nd half and United’s Neil Austin put HBU 0 – 4 up with a well taken penalty. It was looking increasingly difficult for Letchworth to get anything out of the game, and the match was over as a contest when Barker scored his 3rd and United’s 5th with 9 minutes left. Despite Letchworth pulling a goal back through the injured Ricky Jupp with 8 minutes to go, United could not be caught and they ran out comfortable winners 1-5.
(Kings fish bar Man of the Match: Joe Singleton)
Team: HBU: Dan Barton (GK), Simon Hosking (1) ©, Neil Austin (1), Tom White, Joel Defigueiredo, Joe Singleton, Karl Smith, Phil McVey, Brendan Barker (3)
HBU 8 v 5 Grimsby
Time: 11.45am; Date: 18.03.2012: Location: The Arena Herne Bay
United’s second game of the weekend saw them face title challengers Grimsby who were undefeated so far this season, and have aspirations of winning the title themselves this year. Grimsby having beaten RHC Invicta the night before went going into the game confident they would win. The game started with both teams creating chances, it was Grimsby though who took the initiative after 5 minutes with Nik Johnson scoring from close range to make it 0 – 1. Grimsby pressed on and made their momentum count when Josh Dring scored 3 minutes later to make it 0 – 2. United did not panic, and continued to move the ball around nicely. Then with 14 minutes left in the half player coach Phil McVey scored from the edge of the box to halve the deficit (1-2). United now had the upper hand and 90 seconds later they capitalised when McVey made a rink long pass to teammate Brendan Barker who finished 1st time past a helpless Eddie Revel in Grimsby’s goal to tie the game at 2 – 2. There was nothing between the 2 sides, both keepers were being kept very busy. Then, with 2 minutes left in the half Grimsby’s Marc Waddingham scored to put Grimsby 2-3 up at the break.
United went after Grimsby straight from the restart and Barker scored a well taken individual goal after just 40 seconds to tie the game at 3 – 3. United were now starting to threaten Grimsby’s goal with virtually every attack, but they could not find the goal to put them in front. Instead it was Grimsby’s Johnson who scored from a long range slap shot which again put the northern side in front 3 – 4 with 15 minutes to go. Despite the goal United were now on the charge and had all the momentum, scoring 5 unanswered goals (Barker (2), Neil Austin (1), Karl Smith (2)) over the next 10 minutes to put them 8 – 4 up. Grimsby scored a consolation goal through Waddingham with 8 seconds remaining but United ran out comfortable winners 8 – 5.
(Kings fish bar Man of the Match: Karl Smith)
Team HBU: Dan Barton (GK), Dave Garlick (GK), Neil Austin (1), Karl Smith (2), Dave Todd, Tom White, Joe Defigueiredo, Joe Singleton, Phil McVey (1), Brendan Barker (4)
After the game United striker Brendan Barker said: “This was always going to be a tough weekend, Letchworth are a good side, whilst Grimsby have designs on the title. We showed we can play as a team, both performances were controlled. We moved the ball around well. We are pleased with the weekends work”.
Player manager Phil McVey added: “Two wins this weekend keeps us in touch with the leaders. Middlesbrough have to be the clear favourites for the title, but they haven’t faced Grimsby yet. We are hoping that Grimsby can beat Middlesbrough in a couple of weeks, and that would make it a 3 horse race again. All we can do is win all our matches and hope that Middlesbrough slip up somewhere. I was pleased with our results this weekend but I was also pleased with the manner of our performances. We played as a team. We were controlled throughout and everybody played their part. This year and next year will be transitional seasons for the 1st team. We need to develop the younger players, and fast track them into the team. Results may suffer in the short term but hopefully we will be there or there about at the end of this season and next.”