Friday, 22 June 2018

Town boss delighted as side draw with leaders

HENLEY TOWN rocked league leaders Rayners Lane by holding them to a 3-3 draw away on Saturday.

HENLEY TOWN rocked league leaders Rayners Lane by holding them to a 3-3 draw away on Saturday.

The Lilywhites, who sit bottom of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East, were unfortunate not to bag their first win of the season after leading 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining.

Even once the home side had pegged the score back and missed a penalty that would have completed the turnaround, Sam Rolfe almost won the points at the death but was denied by the bar.

The visitors, who were beaten 5-0 by the same side earlier in the season, took a shock lead after 15 minutes when defender Michael Williams headed home from a corner.

Tom Sheppard doubled the lead 20 minutes later when he dribbled the ball past several players before slotting home from the edge of the area.

Rayners Lane pulled a goal back minutes later after Mark Woolley scored with a powerful header and they launched an onslaught early in the second half.

But the Lilywhites’ two-goal lead was restored on the hour mark after Prince Alozi collected Craig Sinclair’s pass down the right channel and beat the on rushing keeper.

Lawrence Yaku took advantage of a defensive mix-up to grab a goal back for the hosts before Paul Leslie smashed home a 25-yard free kick to equalise with just over 10 minutes remaining.

It looked like Henley would go home with nothing to show for their efforts when Rayners Lane were awarded a late penalty after Sinclair was judged to have fouled an opponent in the area but Yaku sent the resulting spot kick over the bar.

The Lilywhites held out for their second point of the season but could have taken the maximum return if Rolfe had seen his effort go the right side of the crossbar.

After the game, caretaker manager Roy Hanley said he was happy to have held out for a draw. He said: “It was a funny game because I knew that we had goals in us this week because we had a couple of new players involved and I thought we would be a lot more of a threat up top.

“In the first half we probably could have scored a couple more but they were creating chances and are a very good team. They aren’t top of the league for nothing and are a big, strong, powerful team.

“With 20 minutes left, I knew we were in for a very torrid time against them but the way we defended, apart from the mix-up, was very good.

“There were a lot of positives but scoring three against the leaders and taking a point off them is fantastic considering the position we’re in.

“I felt we’ve been making progress over the last few games and we played a lot better. We’ve got a few new players on board and that made a difference.

“The boys deserved that point, not just from Saturday but for the last few games because they have worked incredibly hard.”

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