Thursday, 14 December 2017

Town face basement battle

OVERNIGHT frost at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle last weekend caused the postponement of Henley Town’s game against Holyport. The Sunday team’s match also had to be called off, writes John Bailey.

It would need a hard winter for the first team to suffer from any serious fixture congestion, as they have only 14 league matches still to play and remain in only one cup competition.

That is the Bluefin Sports Hellenic Supplementary Cup, the draw for the first round of which was made last week, bringing the Town a local derby at Wallingford Town on a date still to be arranged.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Henley travel to Milton United in Division 1 East of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3pm.

The Red Kites stand at the bottom of the table, with Milton one position above them. When you are at the foot of the league yet cannot be relegated, it is easy to fall into thinking that results do not matter.

In fact, the rest of the season will be more enjoyable both for players and supporters if the side sets itself small targets, even though winning the league will not be one of them.

Avoiding bottom position would be a realistic first objective for Henley, and a win tomorrow would enable them to leapfrog over the Miltonians, which would be a good start. With Milton similarly placed, this must rank as a crucial game for both sides.

Milton have one more point from one more game but also a considerably better goal difference. They have suffered fewer defeats by large margins than Henley. On Tuesday Milton United narrowly lost out 4-3 away at AFC Aldermaston.

Like the Town and some of their other opponents, they are one of those teams who shuffle backwards and forwards between the Premier Division and Division 1 East.

Since the sides first met, in the2004-05 season, they could hardly have been more evenly matched, each winning five of the 14 meetings, with three games drawn and another abandoned.

It is four years since they last clashed, when a 2-2 draw at the Triangle followed a 3-0 win for the Berkshire club at Milton Heights.

The reserves and Sunday team both have home league fixtures this week against the leaders of their respective leagues.

The reserves entertain Wargrave tomorrow, kick-off 2pm, while the Sundays meet old rivals Reading United, kick-off 10.30am.

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