HAMPERED by injury and unavailability in recent weeks, a more familiar Henley line-up took to the field on Saturday in
HAMPERED by injury and unavailability in recent weeks, a more familiar Henley line-up took to the field on Saturday in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East fixture at the Triangle against Maidenhead United Reserves, writes Graham Harris.
The Red Kites beat the Magpies 4-1 at York Road in August but the team Maidenhead brought to the Triangle were revamped and hungry for victory.
Henley’s league debutant Darragh O’Callaghan started brightly shooting wide of the goal with 10 minutes played. Soon after Richard Thomas just failed to connect with a Graham Sims free kick.
Louis Howell, who was carrying an injury, was then substituted by Sanchez Commack for the hosts.
Bradley Shaw, who was a constant danger to the Henley defence, collected the ball outside the area after 24 minutes and made a fine run before firing past keeper Ashley East to put the visitors ahead.
Graham Sims took two free kicks for Henley soon after the goal but both failed to penetrate the Magpies’ solid wall. East made a fine save from Shaw to deny Maidenhead a second goal minutes before half-time.
In the second half the Magpies’ Mandela Gbu had an early chance to score from close range screwing the ball wide. Commack and Graham Sims went close for the hosts as Henley created chances to equalise.
Zac Martin brought out the best in East who reacted quickly to turn the ball past the post for a corner to the Magpies.
After 71 minutes Bradley Shaw scored his second, striking the ball deftly into the left hand corner.
Henley substitute Matt Godwin had a shot well saved by Magpies’ Sam Grays, as the Red Kites strived for a breakthrough.
Maidenhead scored a third to emphasise their superiority after Issac Otooto seized the opportunity to net from close range eight minutes from time. Soon after Graham Sims was cautioned for a clumsy tackle but he redeemed himself by displaying impressive footwork, before scoring from 20 yards after 87 minutes.
Maidenhead played football that belied their current league postion, Henley need to improve their overall performance, to avoid more home reversals.
Henley Town: East, Cooper, K Sims, G Sims, Nunn, Thomas, Cripps, Gordon, Howell, O’Callaghan, Rann, Commack, Godwin.