Defender sees red as Town slip to first defeat in four
DESPITE having to leave work early then struggle with the A34 and M40 traffic for Tuesday’s
DESPITE having to leave work early then struggle with the A34 and M40 traffic for Tuesday’s 7.30pm kick-off, Henley got off to an excellent start.
The Red Kites went in front after 11 minutes when Grant Kemp made ground down the right and threaded a pass to Ben Blackwell on the left who cut in and fired past Lee Farrow in the Ardley goal.
Henley continued to press and Blackwell and Nile O’Meally had chances. In the 22nd minute Ardley attacked and Matt Hill had to save well but in the melee in the six-yard box Andrew Nunn had to receive treatment for a head injury.
O’Meally caused Ardley problems with his pace and he shot over the bar in the 24th minute. Ardley started to get into the game and Hill had to make several more good saves but they levelled the scores in the 34th minute when Ben Cox headed home.
This prompted protests from the Henley bench as the referee had originally awarded a goal kick.
Henley fought back and O’Meally and Jack Thomson-Wheeler both went close. In the 42nd minute there was a scramble in the Henley box with bodies flying everywhere and Ardley’s Luke Cray managed to force the ball over the line to give his side a 2-1 lead.
Just before the interval Henley defender Nunn received a second yellow card and was sent off.
At half-time manager Gerry McGinty took off forward Patrick Gardner and replaced him with defender Brad Hoy as a direct replacement for Nunn.
With Ardley United now doing most of the attacking they made it 3-1 in the 50th minute, scoring direct from a free kick just outside the penalty area. They continued to attack Hill was booked 53rd minute when he conceded a penalty.
Jacob Walcott, brother of Theo, the Arsenal forward, stepped up to make the score 4-1.
With more than 30 minutes still to play it could have been a rout but the Red Kites defended stoutly and didn’t concede again.
MUCH of the ball was played in the midfield for the first 30 minutes with neither goalkeeper being forced into making a save.
The only attack of note in what started off as a drab affair came from Dan Davies who looped the ball over the midfield from Henley’s half into Grant Kemp’s path. He then travelled with the ball until just outside the penalty area before unleashing a looping shot over Lydney’s goalkeeper only to hit the post and be cleared.
Henley’s fans hoped for more after the restart, which coincided with a heavy downpour. It was Henley’s keeper Matt Hill who was tested first in the 50th minute making a fine save down low to tip the ball around the post.
A counter-attack started by Davies gave the ball to Nile O’Meally who attacked from the right, entered the penalty box twisting and turning the defender, before letting rip with a low crisp shot that beat the defender and goalkeeper to score.
Within a minute of the goal Henley’s Jack Thomson-Wheeler had to come off with an injury. On came Tommy Elmore to replace him which saw Kemp switch into a central role while Elmore played wide right.
In the 61st minute Henley’s central defender Tom Hogan conceded a free kick outside the box. Hill put up his wall and the free kick was sent just wide as Lydney pressed for an equaliser.
Their pressure told in the 73rd minute with a misplaced pass from Kemp as he looked for Ben Blackwell. Lydney’s right winger travelled down the wing unopposed with only Andrew Nunn tracking him. A cross came into Liam Sheppard who rose up at the back post to head it back across goal and hit the near post before slowly falling over the line.
In the 80th minute Richard Bennett had a ball passed though the centre with the defender the wrong side of him.
Bennett was in on goal but was brought down outside the box by the Lydney defender which presented a big decision for the referee but it was only a yellow card shown.
In the 82nd minute Ben Blackwell was replaced by Patrick Gardner who slotted up front while O’Meally moved to wide left taking Blackwell’s position.
This was a great change as Bennett played a pass out wide to O’Meally who attacked down the line to cross the ball into Gardner’s path who coolly tucked it away within three minutes of coming on.
Henley Town kept their heads, keeping the ball in Lydney’s half and in the corners, without any pressure from Lydney and saw out the four minutes of injury time without any problems.
Henley Town: Matt Hill, Callum Carlisle, Andrew Nunn, Tommy Hogan, Mitch Cooper, Dan Davies, Grant Kemp (capt), Jack Thomson-Wheeler, Richard Bennett, Nile O’Meally, Ben Blackwell. Subs Tommy Elmore, Patrick Gardner, Matt Brooklyn, Ben Hitchens.