Fight back comes too late as Red Kites crash out of cup
HENLEY TOWN made a shock exit from the Oxfordshire Senior Cup in Tuesday’s second round tie on the Invesco Perpetual
HENLEY TOWN made a shock exit from the Oxfordshire Senior Cup in Tuesday’s second round tie on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle, writes John Bailey.
Henley had previously won all the five cup ties they had played during the season, each one in a different competition, while Marston are struggling near the foot of the table in the Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Division, so this was a game that the home side were expected to win.
The script was rewritten once the teams had taken the field, and the Town looked in for a humiliation when they were 5-1 down only six minutes into the second half. However, the Red Kites did salvage some self-respect from the game, coming within an ace of catching up and taking the match into extra time.
It was dire defending that got the Town into such a parlous state. All five goals conceded were at least partly attributable to mistakes by one or more of their own players, and a dreadful own-goal through lack of communication between central defender and goalkeeper was especially blameworthy.
Henley were 1-0 down as early as the sixth minute and 2-0 down by the 13th minute. They reduced these arrears five minutes later when Matt Godwin was brought down in the area and Louis Howell converted the penalty.
The match seemed to mean more to Marston, who brought plenty of support, than to Henley, and the visitors restored their two-goal advantage by scoring again in the 27th and 42nd minutes, while the Town went still further behind soon after the interval.
At this point, the Red Kites suddenly seemed to realise how badly the score-line reflected on them, and they raised their game perceptibly.
Graham Sims, Henley’s top scorer in spite of his midfield role pulled a goal back on 58 minutes.
So far the Saints had played far superior football to what Henley had expected, but they had given their all, and the Town dominated the rest of the match against their tiring opponents. Twice Henley chipped away at the lead from corners, with first Godwin and then Karl Sims the scorers. There were still 12 minutes to play, and Marston were reduced to breakaways while the Town laid siege to their goal with more than one shot being hacked off the line. But the Saints just deserved to pass through to the third round.
HENLEY TOWN’S five-match winning run came to an end at Wokingham and Emmbrook on Saturday in Division 1 East of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, writes Graham Harris.
Henley outplayed the hosts in the first half but the roles were reversed after the break.
On a rain-sodden surface, play got under way with a shot by Red Kites’ Sam Cripps, saved by Suma’s Ashley Withers.
Mitchell Cooper, Matt Godwin and Graham Sims all came close within the first 10 minutes as Henley found their rhythm.
Andrew Nunn, deputising for Ashley East between the sticks for Henley, was tested by a cross from George Dance gathering the ball cleanly. Another attack launched by the Red Kites involved a good pass from Dan Faherty finding Louis Howell who shot past the post with inches to spare. The Henley back line looked solid throughout the first 45 minutes. A free kick awarded to Wokingham and Emmbrook was cut out by Warren Baxter bringing the first half to a goalless close.
The hosts started the second half with a well executed goal. After just two minutes the ball arrived at the feet of forward Nick Bateman whose impressively struck shot travelled by Nunn high into the right hand corner.
Fine interplay between Scope and Rushforth for the home side resulted in several close calls for the Kites’ defence before Graham Sims was shown a yellow card for a hard tackle on Bateman as frustration mounted in the Henley camp.
Wokingham seized the initiative creating chances and exposing gaps in the Henley rear guard before Witt and Howell were replaced by Sheppard and Williams in an attempt to rekindle the Kites’ first half fire.
Wokingham and Emmbrook scored a second when Cooper lost the ball and substitute Matt Eggleston found Bateman who fired home.
Graham Sims’ firmly struck free kick hit the crossbar after a deflection but by that time the Kites’ cause was lost.