Match Report – by Terry Oakley
Herne Bay versus Peterborough
1st October 2023 at Herne Bay Arena
Herne Bay Squad
30 Bailey Smith (Goalkeeper - 1st Half)
1 Edan Emery-Webber (Goalkeeper - 2nd Half)
2 Jack Knowles
3 Harry Salkind
4 Charlie Webber
5 Zachary Williams
6 Bradley Hopkins
7 Dave Todd (Captain)
8 Ryan Partridge
9 Sean Spinks
1 Anthony Williams (Goalkeeper - 2nd Half)
2 James Berry
3 Tom Hillam
4 Josh Aaltonen
5 Michael Carter (Captain)
6 Harry Hillam
9 Luca Oakley
10 Tyler Salmon (Goalkeeper - 1st Half)
Referees:- Arran Bowyer and Jack Thomas.
Peterborough started this match strongly and had six shots within the first four minutes but all of those shots were hit at the body of the Herne Bay goalie. They did, however, put together a fine move to open the scoring. A break down the right by Michael Carter followed by a timely pass across the rink to two supporting players created the opening. The pass was perfectly timed to Luca Oakley who quickly gained control of the ball and as the keeper advanced to close his shooting angle down he slipped the ball to his left to the unmarked Harry Hillam and he swept the ball home.
Herne Bay 1 Peterborough 0
Herne Bay were playing patient hockey as they looked for shooting opportunities. However, Peterborough were playing their direct, explosive hockey that they have and from one of those Luca Oakley burst past two defenders and his goal bound shot was on target for the top right hand corner of the goal only for Bailey Smith to react splendidly and deflect the shot onto the crossbar and away to safety. This was followed up by another fast break forward which saw Harry Hillam create his space in front of goal for his shot and, he too, saw his shot strike the post and was also cleared to safety. A break forward by Michael Carter and Luca Oakley, exchanging passes, created the space for Luca to hit his shot fiercely at the Herne Bay goal only for the keeper to produce another fine save to deny him. Against the run of play Herne Bay equalised. Charlie Webber advanced down the left hand side of the Peterborough defence and continued his run behind the Peterborough goal. He was allowed to emerge from behind the goal unchallenged and had the time to confidently place his shot wide of the Peterborough goalkeeper and into the net.
Herne Bay 1 Peterborough 1
The next action saw Michael Carter and James Berry combine to release James in front of goal and his shot was goal bound all the way only for Bailey Smith, in the Herne Bay goal, to spread himself brilliantly to block his shot. Michael Carter, again, was involved in the next play when he went on a run which took him around the back of the Herne Bay goal and as he emerged back in front he was fouled by the flailing stick of the goalkeeper. Josh Aaltonen took the responsibility of the resultant penalty but his first shot was saved only for the goalie to be penalised for moving. Josh took his second shot which Bailey Smith again saved and his follow up effort struck the post and was cleared to safety. This proved to be a turning point in the first half. On the next attack a slapshot from Herne Bay's Ryan Partridge was deflected off a Peterborough stick which took it past Tyler Salmon and into the Peterborough goal.
Herne Bay 2 Peterborough 1
Half Time Herne Bay 2 Peterborough 1
Herne Bay started the second half with a stronger attitude than what they had showed in the first half. Snapping into tackles and breaking forward with purpose. Both teams were providing attacking cut and thrust hockey with both keepers making fine saves. Josh Aaltonen broke forward and his flicked shot hit the Herne Bay bar and was cleared to safety. It seemed just a matter of time until Peterborough would score their second goal as their attacking forward play fully deserved it. Michael Carter latched onto a misplaced pass in the center of the rink. He quickly spotted Harry Hillam in space ahead of him and delivered a timely pass which allowed Harry to speed around the back of the Herne Bay goal and as he emerged to the side of the goal he lifted the ball up into the air and smashed it past the keeper. Herne Bay 2 Peterborough 2
At this stage of the game Peterborough were well on top and continued to probe for the winner. Michael Carter went on a mazy run in which he took on the four Herne Bay outer rink players but his final shot was well saved by Edan Emery-Webber in the Herne Bay goal. Michael found himself involved in the next action as he was chopped down in the penalty area. Michael took the resultant penalty shot which was saved but the referee deemed that the goalie had moved so the shot was retaken. Again, the second opportunity was missed as the shot went high over the crossbar. The breakthrough finally came as Luca Oakley went strongly forward and his quick pass to Josh Aaltonen allowed him to quickly go around the back of the Herne Bay goal and, as with Harry Hillam's previous goal, Josh lifted the ball into the air and placed his shot over the goalkeeper.
Herne Bay 2 Peterborough 3
Further good breaks involving Luca Oakley and Josh Aaltonen kept the Herne Bay defence on their toes. An off the ball incident was well spotted by the referee and another penalty was awarded to Peterborough. Michael Carter took the responsibility of the penalty but his shot was blocked by Edan in the Herne Bay goal. The game progressed into the final minute of the game with Herne Bay shooting on sight at the Peterborough goal searching for an equaliser. With just 35 seconds of the match left, a flick shot from a Herne Bay player struck the Peterborough bar and was cleared to safety.
Even though Peterborough were awarded 3 penalties it was not a dirty match and the contest was well refereed throughout.
Full Time Herne Bay 2 Peterborough 3
Arthur Corr’s (Peterborough Coach) Man of the Match:- Harry Hillam.
For me, this was a repeat of this fixture in December 2022 which was played at Peterborough. That game finished in a 5-5 drawn game. The "repeat" was the performances of the Herne Bay goalkeepers who kept their team within striking distance of the Peterborough team throughout this match. Shot after shot from Peterborough went unrewarded due to the heroics of both Herne Bay goalkeepers, Bailey Smith and Edan Emery-Webber. Time and time again the speed of the Peterborough attacks down both flanks created goal scoring opportunities but their final shots, although mainly on target, tended to be into the goalkeeper's diving body. Both goalkeepers made save after save to keep their team within a chance of picking up a favorable result in this match. It took two pieces of sublime skill in the second half to finally breach the defiant display of accomplished goalkeeping.
All credit to the Herne Bay team as they continued to probe for an opening in the Peterborough defence with their stronger second half performance.
Peterborough will need to clinically take the chances they create in Premier League Hockey matches. To gain and miss 3 penalties, together with their shots striking the post/bar on four occasions shows that they "should have put this match to bed" long before the final whistle was blown. On a positive note for Peterborough they continued to play their attacking style of fast, pass and move hockey even went they went behind in the first half and in the end their efforts were rewarded with a well deserved victory.
I can see that the new rule of starting penalties and direct hits on the referee's whistle is going to make life hard for both goalkeepers and referees. The natural body movements of a goalkeeper when faced with either a penalty or direct hit make it almost impossible to remain in their D area until after the ball has been touched.