NEWLY-PROMOTED Henley got their South Premier League Division 1 campaign off to a flying start as
NEWLY-PROMOTED Henley got their South Premier League Division 1 campaign off to a flying start as they defeated county rivals Banbury at Jubilee Park last Saturday.
The opening five minutes saw both sides settling into their stride. Henley were finding plenty of space up front and drew first blood in the eighth minute, scoring from a short corner, Foster converting a drag flick into the top corner of the Banbury goal.
Henley doubled their lead 10 minutes later after Foster found Joseph unmarked in the D, who after rounding the keeper was brought down. Joyce duly dispatched the penalty flick to make it 2-0.
Good defence from keeper Cox and defenders Rowe, Hughes-Burne and Mortimer kept the Banbury forwards at bay until 10 minutes before half-time when the visitors pulled a goal back. Rowe was judged to have fouled a Banbury forward in a goal-scoring opportunity and was subsequently sin-binned for 10 minutes and Banbury were given a penalty flick. The Banbury forward missed the flick but the same player then rounded goalkeeper Cox and slotted the ball into an empty net.
This seemed to spur Henley on and after good play from Kochar and Joyce in the middle of the park, they found Hibberd unmarked on the right flank. A good ball into the D from Hibberd found Joseph who finished into the bottom left hand corner to make it 3-1.
Early in the second half Banbury won a short corner. A well worked routine was eventually dispatched at the near post to reduce the deficit to a single goal.
With Banbury pushing higher and higher up the pitch in search of an equalising goal, Henley were finding more and more space on the counterattack. Good hold-up play from Green eventually found Walter on the left side of the opposition D, who managed to squeeze the ball past the keeper and defender to make it 4-2 with 20 minutes left to play.
Minutes later Henley scored again when a ball up pitch from Kochar found Walter unmarked, who returned the favour to Green and played a the ball into the striker who got the last touch ahead of the onrushing keeper.
With 15 minutes left and with nothing to lose, Banbury were pressing Henley almost in the home side’s D and managed to convert their third goal through sheer weight of numbers.
With five minutes remaining Henley scored two more unanswered goals. First, Gaze converted a bouncing ball at the back post and with a minute to go Heaver added his name to the score sheet, again converting a bouncing ball at the back post with a volley.
HENLEY 2nds, fielding several new players, got their league season off to a winning start at Abingdon. Surging runs down the flanks pinned the Abingdon defence back into their own half for large periods.
After a strong drive forward by skipper Herbert, the resultant penalty corner was slotted home by Ian Roberts under the keeper’s right arm to open the visitors’ account. With nerves settled Henley were soon into their stride. A quickly taken free hit by debutant Sam Hall on the right found Herbert with space to attack along the by-line and pick out John-Joe Cottam to score.
Abingdon had some success through the midfield and forced some good defensive work from Jeremy Clarke and solid saves from David Bowyer in the Henley goal.
Henley started brightly in the second half as Jeremy Hughes-Burne was given time and space amongst the Abingdon defence to express himself creatively, Guy Harmer performed well as target-man up front and Nico Cheesman and Jack Draycott made life difficult for the home side to break beyond half way.
As the half developed Henley’s game management seemed to dissipate allowing Abingdon opportunities to get back into the game.
Lacklustre work in midfield by the visitors saw Abingdon pull a goal back as the game become more fragmented. Herbert settled Henley’s nerves with a goal to put his side 3-1 up. Lapses in discipline and decision-making by Henley saw them double their tally with another goal, but the visitors held on to secure all three points.
Henley 2nds: D Bowyer, J Clarke, I Roberts, S Hall, J Draycott, D Herbert, N Cheesman, J Hughes-Burne, G Harmer, W Doward, J-J. Cottam.