Friday, 23 March 2018
HOME side Henley Ladies 1sts put in an exceptional team performance last Saturday to beat top-of-the-table Oxford Ladies to end the visitors’ unbeaten season.
This was the third week in a row that Henley have taken three points off one of the top two placed teams – the South League Division 3A being particularly tight as the top four teams vie for promotion. The win also extended Henley’s unbeaten run to 10 matches.
Henley were keen to build on their recent winning form, under the guidance of coach Rhys Joyce, and went into the game confident they could correct both the league and trophy defeats to Oxford earlier in the season.
Henley’s confidence caught Oxford off guard and the home side piled on the pressure from the first whistle. It wasn’t long before the amber and blues won a short corner and whilst the planned routine went astray, improvisation saw captain Georgie Metcalfe receive the ball with her back to goal, turn and flick the ball into the net.
It was 15 minutes into the game before the visiting side entered their attacking D, but Henley’s defence had by no means been taking it easy. Tight marking, good communication and well-worked transfers around the backline of Rachel Herbert, Kat Green and Chloe Nelson caused the Oxford strikers many problems and helped create a solid platform from which to build attacks from the turnover of ball.
Henley’s second short corner, won by Charlotte Cockerton who had skilfully dribbled past a number of Oxford players which ended in them giving away a foul in the D, allowed Henley to execute a favourite routine that saw Sophie Hoskins deflect the ball over the line from a Green disguised pass.
By now Oxford had regrouped and got back into the game. Henley’s keeper Hannah Lavis came to the rescue a number of times after Oxford were able to get away strikes at goal but one particularly quick attack resulted in an unmarked player who had the time to tip a well-weighted ball into the goal, leaving the score at 2-1 at half-time.
The second half produced another 35 minutes of good hockey between the two sides. Centre midfielders Jem Mackie and Lou England caused trouble for Oxford as their tireless legwork helped Henley keep possession.
Wingers Emma Walker and Mel Joyce also linked well with strikers Hoskins, Metcalfe and Keira Halloran but despite large proportions of time spent in Henley’s attacking half, attempts at goal were cleared up by the Oxford keeper and they were unable to win another short corner.
As the final whistle loomed, Oxford’s desperate desire to equalise intensified and Henley spent the final 10 minutes doing everything they could to stop the visiting side from getting the shots away they needed.
Ellie Roseff in the sweeper position swept up many attacks by putting in some vital tackles, much to Oxford’s frustration.
ESME Emmett netted a hat-trick as Henley 3rds came from behind to defeat visitors Thame Ladies 2nds at Jubilee Park last Saturday.
On a cold and wet morning Henley started brightly with Rosie Wilkinson putting in some good passes but out of the blue Thame went ahead after five minutes.
Henley got back into the match as Holly Verran exerted pressure on the opposition. Hannah Webber made some good passes while Annie Williams made great strides heading towards the goal.
Wilkinson played a short corner but Emmett’s shot went narrowly wide. Soon after Wilkinson went close once again for the hosts.
Henley began to shine with total possession and territory gained. Verran went on a run into the D but was foiled by the Thame defence. Soon after a short corner saw Emmett convert to level the scores.
Emmett was on target again soon after to put the amber and blues ahead with a penalty flick. In the second half Heath played in a short corner but Emmett’s show went wide.
Jess Stevens secured the ball heading for goal while Wendy McLoughlin made some good tackles to retain Henley’s lead.
Henley created several chances of increasing their lead before Emmett completed her hat-trick from a penalty flick.
Thame upped the pressure in the closing stages of the match but were denied by Henley keeper Sarah Drummond.
19 February 2018
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