Match Report – by Terry Oakley
Peterborough versus Herne Bay
17th December 2022 at Bushfields Leisure Centre, Peterborough
Herne Bay Squad
30 Bailey Smith (Goalkeeper)
66 Jake Rawlinson
81 Fionnbarr Parkinson Terry
32 Johnny Bristow
23 Dave Todd
57 George White
36 Jack Knowles
Marco Mota and Derek Bell.
Well, what a start to this match. Two goals in the first two minutes. Firstly, Josh Aaltonen advanced towards the Herne Bay goal and a gap appeared long enough for him to hit a fine slapshot past the Herne Bay goalie. Peterborough 1 Herne Bay 0.
Then Fionnbarr Parkinson Terry tried his luck with a shot from the half way line and as the ball travelled through several sets of legs it managed to find it’s way under the Peterborough goalkeeper. Peterborough 1 Herne Bay 1.
An excellent run by Luca Oakley, who left three Herne Bay players in his wake, finished with him hitting a fine shot at goal which was partially saved by the Herne Bay goalkeeper who then saw the ball roll along his goal line which was subsequently cleared by a desperate Herne Bay defender. During the first ten minutes of this game the Herne Bay goalie was in frenzied, constant action working hard in keeping the Peterborough shots from entering his net.
The next action featured a fine move down the Herne Bay left by Declan Lander who produced a timely cross rink pass to the unmarked Luca Oakley who confidently swept his shot past Bailey Smith in the Herne Bay goal. Peterborough 2 Herne Bay 1.
Another excellent sprint down Herne Bay’s left by Declan Lander followed by a cross rink pass to Luca Oakley and he dispatched his shot which, this time, unfortunately struck the Herne Bay post.
Another fast break by Declan Lander followed by his well struck slapshot forced the keeper to spread himself across his goal only for the ball to spin off his glove and onto the roof of the net. This was followed by two quick breaks in two minutes by Harry Hillam and both of his resulting slapshots were well saved by the Herne Bay goalkeeper.
Herne Bay then ventured upfield and for a brief moment Peterborough seemed to switch off as Dave Todd hit a speculative shot that went through two sets of legs leaving Anthony Williams in the Peterborough goal unsighted and into the net. Peterborough 2 Herne Bay 2.
A devastating run from Luca Oakley from deep in his own half left two Herne Bay players struggling behind him, which was well supported in attack by Josh Aaltonen, and Luca’s timely cross rink pass to Josh was gleefully swept home by him. Peterborough 3 Herne Bay 2.
Half Time Peterborough 3 Herne Bay 2.
The second half began with another fast break down the Herne Bay left by Josh Aaltonen and his fine pass was well struck towards goal by Luca Oakley only for the Herne Bay goalkeeper to deliver a spectacular save to deny him his second goal. Luca quickly followed this up by another run deep into the heart of the Herne Bay defence only for the goalkeeper to provide another excellent save from Luca’s slapshot.
Harry Hillam’s turn next in seeing if he can force a shot past the Herne Bay goalkeeper. Harry advanced centrally over the half way line and hit a fine slapshot past the Herne Bay goalie who seemed to be unsighted with his defensive team mates blocking his view. Peterborough 4 Herne Bay 2.
Unfortunately for Peterborough, not two minutes later a Peterborough player slipped in his own penalty area and as he fell he hit the ball forward. The referee quickly seized on this and gave Herne Bay a penalty. The resultant hit was confidently dispatched by Dave Todd for his second goal of the match. Peterborough 4 Herne Bay 3.
Another fast venture forward by Luca Oakley resulted in his slapshot hitting the Herne Bay post and bouncing to safety. This was followed shortly by another fine individual run by Harry Hillam only for his hard slapshot to hit the bar and again bounce to safety. It seemed only a matter of time until Peterborough were to get their next goal and sure enough it came from another fast break down the Herne Bay right. Harry Hillam’s fine run and cross rink pass to Josh Aaltonen was swept home by him for his third goal of the game. Peterborough 5 Herne Bay 3.
They say that when you score a goal, your team are at your most vulnerable as you switch off concentration following your delight at scoring a goal. And so it proved. Straight from the restart, Herne Bay attacked down the centre of the Peterborough defence and there was George White to strike his shot under the dive of Anthony Williams in the Peterborough goal. Peterborough 5 Herne Bay 4.
At this stage of the game Peterborough were still mounting attack after attack on the Herne Bay goal. Then with 54 seconds of the match left, a Peterborough player was caught with two opponents tackling him and after winning the ball the two Herne Bay players quickly advanced forward against one defender and Dave Todd hit a fine shot past the Peterborough goalie for his third goal of the match. Peterborough 5 Herne Bay 5.
Full Time Peterborough 5 Herne Bay 5.
Peterborough had 53 shots on target at the Herne Bay goal throughout the duration of this match with another 6 hitting the woodwork and multiple missed opportunities that didn't even work the goalkeeper. When you consider that the match only runs for a total period of 50 minutes this was no mean feat. However, they came up against an inspired goalkeeper who literally turned himself inside out to reach shots destined for the top and bottom corners of his goal. Time and time again the speed of the Peterborough attacks down both flanks created goal scoring opportunities but they were not expecting to find a goalkeeper who stood alone between them and a “cricket score” during this match.
A special mention to that outstanding performance of the Herne Bay Goalkeeper, Bailey Smith. His goal was under siege for most of this match. When he lined up with his team mates in the centre of the rink at the end of this game you could see that he was drenched in sweat from his acrobatic exploits in keeping the Peterborough attacks at bay. A truly memorable display from Bailey!
It felt like a defeat for Peterborough after dominating this match for long periods, when it fact it was one point gained and two points dropped.
The trip home for the Herne Bay Boys’ across the Dartford Bridge must have been so much more enjoyable for them on their way back to Kent. Compare that to the looks of the Peterborough players at the end who were clearly dismayed as to why they did not win this match comfortably.
Credit to Herne Bay as they never gave up and kept their “defensive box” tight in front of an excellent goalie who was determined not to be beaten.
Peterborough need to clinically take the chances they create in Premier League Hockey (in the same way that Kings Lynn did in our match with them last weekend) and also that when you have just scored a goal you become most vulnerable to a swift response from your opponents.
On a closing positive note, this young Peterborough Team are going to get better and better. They are exciting to watch and their attacking prowess is a delight to see.