Ralph and Foster on target as Henley clinch promotion
HENLEY made club history last Saturday by securing promotion to South Hockey League Premier Division 1,
HENLEY made club history last Saturday by securing promotion to South Hockey League Premier Division 1, following a nervy victory over Tulse Hill and Dulwich at Jubilee Park.
Henley started the stronger and asserted an early dominance. Patient build–up in the midfield through Joyce, Kochar and Foster made a lead seem inevitable and the opening goal eventually came from a penalty corner, with David Ralph flicking past the goalkeeper.
However, the hosts allowed Tulse Hill and Dulwich a way back into the game. The visitors, from a non–threatening position in the corner, managed to find a cross through to the penalty spot, which was picked up and slotted past goalkeeper Cox by the Tulse Hill and Dulwich winger.
Moments later Ralph found himself in space on the left wing after an astute pass from Rhys Joyce. Ralph then fired a pin–point cross to Henley captain Ed Foster, who deflected the ball first–time into the top corner to make the score 2–1 at half–time.
Henley looked on top in the second half and were beginning to create chances aplenty but lacked the clinical finishing required to extend the lead.
The game began to open up in the latter stages and with Henley needing the win to confirm promotion, it provided for a tense finale. Fortunately for the home side with the crowd behind them the defensive unit of Gaze, Mortimer and Hughes–Burne remained strong and saw the final whistle through unscathed.
Henley travel to West Hampstead for the final league match of the season tomorrow (Saturday), where a further win will see captain Foster lift the league title.
The promotion means that this is the highest league the club has ever played in â?? just one below the national league.
Henley 1sts: R Cox, T Gaze, E Hughes–Burne, R Mortimer, R Joyce, M Kochar, T Walter, R Hibberd, E Foster, D Ralph, C Green, G Joseph, R Woolfrey, J Measures.
HENLEY 4ths started the stronger of the two sides winning a penalty flick inside the first few minutes which Ian Rechner fired against the post. Soon after Newbold caused mayhem within the Leighton defence winning short corner after short corner but Henley were not able to capitalise.
The hosts won a short corner halfway through the first half which they converted to take the lead. Soon after Ewan Watkins got a yellow card in a desperate attempt to win the ball back.
Henley’s 10 men equalised when James Rechner flicked the ball into the empty net after a run by Ian Rechner.
Henley came out all guns blazing in the second half and piled on the pressure. The visitors won a short corner and on the second time of asking Newbold hit the ball past the Leighton Buzzard keeper.
The hosts started to attack the Henley defence but Simon Ward and Andy Green were able to stay strong and divert their chances. Towards the end of the second half Henley mounted one last attack with Watkins providing a slicing ball across the whole pitch to Ian Rechner who converted calmly.
Tensions began to rise again and in an attempt to keep all three points Newbold got a yellow card and had to sit the rest of the game out.
With the last attack of the game Leighton Buzzard grabbed a consolation goal.