Monday, 19 March 2018

Newly-promoted Kites suffer opening day loss

HENLEY Town got their Uhlsport Hellenic League season off to a losing start as they

HENLEY Town got their Uhlsport Hellenic League season off to a losing start as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Binfield on Tuesday.

The Red Kites, who beat Binfield 5-3 in the final of the Reading Senior Cup in May, took an early lead through striker Ben Clark but goals either side of half-time saw them fall to a narrow defeat in their first match since promotion to the Premier Division.

Henley, managed for the first competitive game by the new coaching team of Gerry McGinty and Jock Mowat, started on the front foot and were rewarded when Clark slid in from six yards to fire home.

But after taking the lead the home side eased off and let Binfield into the game. Just 10 minutes later some slack defending allowed Binfield centre forward Liam Ferdinand to turn in the box before slotting in at the near post.

Binfield could have taken the lead before half-time when a two-on-one breakaway saw Ferdinand left with a simple tap-in, only to blaze his shot over the bar.

The visitors were not to be denied after the break when they took the lead from midfielder Michael Walton’s powerful header from a corner. The goal galvanised the visitors, who took control of the game but were unable to find a third goal.

Henley weathered the storm and launched their own offensive in the last 15 minutes of the game. Grant Kemp’s header drew a smart save from visiting keeper Garry Aulsberry before Warren Baxter was also denied with the last kick of the game.

Despite the defeat, head coach McGinty was pleased with the efforts of his players. He said: “The fact that we are disappointed with the result shows how far we’ve come.

“We should have got something from the game but it is a good sign that we can match a team that has finished mid-table for the last few years.

“We need to cut out the soft goals and silly mistakes. This match shows that there are no games where we are going to get smashed, it will be tight and we need to be a bit cuter.

“Some of the boys were a bit naive, they are young guys and need to learn the tricks of the trade.”

Henley Town: Ben Hitchens, Callum Carlisle, Bradley Hoy, Warren Baxter, Mitch Cooper, Grant Kemp, Asa Povey, Dan Davies, Ben Clark, Patrick Gardner, Nile O’Meally-Newell. Substitutes: Jordan Gumbs, Jordan Goddard. Liam Tindell, Chris Nelson, Tommy Elmore.

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