Sunday, 22 April 2018

Match reflects the weather as game takes time to warm up

HENLEY were keen to solidify third place in the league after picking up only two points from a possible nine

HENLEY were keen to solidify third place in the league after picking up only two points from a possible nine in March.

The game looked unlikely to go ahead as unseasonal snow had covered most of the local area. However, with a sturdy team of groundsmen the home team managed to clear all the snow just in time to keep the fixture live.

It was a cold start for all involved, and the game also took its time to warm up, neither team really threatening or joining up consistent passages of play. With snow falling again, it was Foster who heated things up with a neat reverse finish to beat the Aylesbury keeper. The goal settled the game down a little, but there was still a lack of flowing hockey from either side.

As the first half progressed, the snow eased up and so did Henley’s application to the game plan. A sting of poor decisions saw them lose the lead and then shortly after fall behind.Half-time was a welcome chance for the home team to re-group and make a couple of tactical changes. Those changes resulted in more possession for Henley and a good move worked down the right side resulted in the equaliser, Geoff Joseph slipping the ball under the keeper.

From this point on the game became far more open, both teams creating chances to take the win. In the end it was a mistake on the part of Aylesbury that swung the balance.

A free hit was given to Henley on a fast break, but an Aylesbury player hit the ball away to prevent the hit being taken quickly and received a yellow card and the sin bin for his trouble — a costly error that gave Henley a numerical advantage and a real chance to capitalise. It wasn’t long before territory and possession pressure told, although the goal didn’t come from an expected source.

A ball into the D resulted in the ball nestling in the back of the Aylesbury net via one of their own defenders who expertly wrong-footed the keeper.

Finally, 3-2 became 4-2 shortly afterwards when Geoff Joseph bagged his second of the match. The sin-binned player returned, but it was too late to salvage this situation and the final whistle was blown.

The win secured Henley’s position of third in the league with only one game remaining. Whilst March hasn’t quite gone to plan, the team will be pleased with their overall performances and certainly have a strong base to build on for next year.

Henley: R Cox, E Foster, R Woolfrey, J Baker, M Woolfrey, D Herbert, R Hibberd, G Joseph, C Green, T Gaze, J Taylor, J Measures, O Gould.

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