Huntingdon Town secured second place in the Premier Division of the United Counties League with a scintillating 9-0 win at Stewarts & Lloyds on Easter Monday.
But manager Seb Hayes says the season isn’t over yet and he is targeting two cup final wins in the next couple of weeks to convince everyone that the team will be real contenders for promotion next time out.
Declan Rogers hit a hat-trick, Ben Seymour-Shove scored twice and Mike Hyem, Pat Bexfield, Charlie De’Ath and Jacob Joyce got the other four goals in Huntingdon’s biggest win of the season. Wwith a game to go, the win finally put them out of reach of AFC Rushden & Diamonds, a team that was expected cruise through to Step 4 in their second year as a pheonix club. Afterwards, Hayes and the players received their runners-up medals.
The manager told The Hunts Post: “We want to make sure that the players finish with two winners medals and not just one runners-up medal. We were brilliant today but we need to go and win these two cup finals. Finishing second is a massive achievement for the club but we know we can do more next season.”
This was Huntingdon’s second season in the UCL Premier and after Ricky Marheineke guided the team to fourth-place last year, his assistant Hayes picked up the reigns when Histon manager Brian Page chose Marheineke as his assistant.
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind at the club that Hayes was the right man to succeed Marheineke and the transition was flawless.
Huntingdon chose not to apply for promotion to Step 4 this year – and were wise not to with big-spending Spalding running away with the title from early on. But on Saturday Huntingdon gave them a second bloody nose in two weeks when they completed a double, beating the Tulips 2-1 with goals from Chris Jones and Joyce just eights days after beating them 2-0 at Jubilee Park.
On Saturday, Huntingdon end their season at home to Sileby Rangers. Then there is the small matter of those two finals. On the May 5 bank holiday Monday they will play Deeping Rangers in the UCL Cup final at Yaxley, and the following Thursday they are at St Neots Town’s Cozy Stadium in the final of the Hinchingbrooke Cup against Stotfold.
Meanwhile, Rogers and Seymour-Shove have scored 67 goals between them this season – and they are still counting, the pair have three games remaining to fight it out for the golden boot.
The captain is Mike Hyem. He says their race for the golden boot has pushed the team forward in recent weeks.
“They have been clinical,” he said. “And they create chances for themselves as well as the team.”
Hyem left Godmanchester Rovers to sign for Huntingdon last summer, and says he knew all about Rogers, but not so much about Seymour-Shove. “I knew Dec was quality but I didn’t realise how good Ben was,” he said. “The goals they have been scoring have been unreal.”
Seymour-Shove is the younger man of the partnership. At 20 he has settled at Huntingdon having been with Peterborough as a trainee and Cambridge City and Soham Town Rangers. “The race for the golden boot has been a good factor in the race for second,” he said. “But it’s not just about me and Dec – Stuart Eason has scored plenty too and Mike Hyem has got more than 10 from midfield.”
But Rogers, 24, who apart from a short spell at St Neots Town, has been with Huntingdon during the club’s recent meteoric rise, thinks the race is already over – despite the final league game and two cup matches.
“I don’t think Ben has anything left now,” he joked. “I think the golden boot is mine
“Sometimes the competition does get the better of you and you take the chance yourself but it has been a positive thing for us and the team.
“It has been a great season and I hope we can repeat this form when it matters next season when we will be aiming for promotion.”
When The Hunts Post paid a visit to Jubilee Park on Saturday to talk to leading goalscorers, it turned out that there wasn’t a golden boot to be found at the club.
Step forward Michael Vincent, the owner of United Counties League sponsors ChromaSport & Trophies. We approached his company to help out and now the two Huntingdon forwards are playing for a real golden boot.
On Saturday they will again be in action when they end their UCL campaign with a home game against lowly Sileby Rangers. And then there’s the two cup finals – UCL and Hinchingbrooke – for the two players to bag a few more. And they will.