Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Red Kites searching for morale boost

HENLEY TOWN will tomorrow (Saturday) make their last league journey of the season when they visit Binfield for a 3pm kick-off.

The match was due to be played on March 6 but had to be postponed as the Stubbs Lane ground was waterlogged.

Binfield remain in the eighth position they then occupied, having played only one league fixture in the interim, which brought a 3-0 defeat against strong opposition at Thatcham.

It is Henley whose position has altered, for they are now on the bottom rung of the ladder as a result of Burnham’s victory over Royal Wootton Bassett last weekend.

Despite the Red Kites’ own poor form, for a long while it looked improbable that Burnham could overtake them.

The Blues lost their first 14 league matches of the season, also losing all four cup-ties they played in the same period. At that point, Henley were nine points ahead of them with a game in hand and better goal difference.

Then on October 15, when Burnham finally got off the mark, Henley maintained the gap by winning on the same day.

But their record since then tells its own story, 18 subsequent league matches bringing only another four points.

Before last Saturday, with three league games remaining for each side, the Red Kites maintained a one-point advantage, but it was clear that Burnham had an easier run-in, their highest placed opponents in their remaining matches standing 10th whilst the lowest of Henley’s was Binfield in eighth slot.

Avoiding bottom position may be a desirable end for the morale of the players and supporters of both clubs but how many clubs will be relegated remains a closely-guarded secret. It is also quite possible that it would be easier for either club to rebuild for the longer term in Division 1.

Henley withdrew their reserve team from the Uhlsport Hellenic League last week. Despite the efforts of several different managers, it had been a struggle to raise sufficient players for the side almost throughout the season.

The youth team gained a good point at home to Highmoor/Ibis last week. The visitors stood halfway up the table with games in hand over every other side. Henley’s goals came from Lamar Korma and substitute Henry Horton.

On Monday, the youths entertain their counterparts from Kidlington in a league fixture, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Sunday side visit Coley Park in the league, kicking off at 10.30am.

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