THERE was no gentle introduction to the second half of the league for the Henley Ladies 1st team as
THERE was no gentle introduction to the second half of the league for the Henley Ladies 1st team as they met with top-of-the-league PHS Chiswick on Saturday.
The 7-1 loss at the start of the season was still a sore memory for most of the players, but the team was unrecognisable as they lined up for the starting whistle.
Henley had a new coach on the sideline, in the form of club stalwart Jen Buckham-Hedges, and some fresh faces on the pitch.
The first five minutes was poor with both teams guilty of sloppy passing with mistakes occurring everywhere.
But it was the amber and blues who woke up first at the 10-minute mark. A trademark disguise ball from Kat Green found Lou England on the P-Spot ready to deflect the ball up and over the keeper to take the lead.
Jem Barham and Emma Walker worked tirelessly in midfield to block the centre of the pitch and mark the danger players out of the game while attacks up both the wings from Ellie Roseff and Georgie Metcalfe were a plenty and rotating forwards Charlotte Cockerton, Emma Buckham-Hedges, Hannah Jeremy, Katie Butler and Flic Jefferis were enjoying plenty of on-the-ball action.
One sequence of play saw most team members participate as they got the ball up to debutant Jefferis who, standing on the base-line, caught the opposition keeper away from the post and hammered the ball home from the smallest of angles.
After the break Chiswick employed new tactics to plug the gaps that Henley had been exploiting which left the home side stuck for options and the next 20 minutes saw Henley crumble under the pressure. Despite unstinting commitment from defenders Draycott, player-of-the-match Mel Joyce and Green, there seemed more Chiswick players than was possible to mark, and the home side found themselves level again at 2-2.
But the ball began to find its way back into the attacking half once again, with Henley’s centre midfield Lou England orchestrating numerous counterattacks.
Then with 10 minutes to go, captain Georgie Metcalfe latched on to a long ball, which resulted in a one-on-one with the keeper, and she calmly slotted the ball past her from the top of the D to claim the three points.
A BETTER blend of youth and experience meant Henley started off their match against Amersham & Chalfont in a positive frame of mind.
Henley held their own for a long time, with keeper Maddy Teebo making a few crucial saves and clearances, but a defensive slip found Amersham a goal up at half-time.
After a little straight talking and tactical adjustment, Henley came out strongly after the break. The work rate and strength of right-sided players Rosie Kemp and Tash Livanis set up some good attacks and the team’s defensive play saw them pile on the pressure.
Then up stepped defenders Rachel Herbert and Karen Walker for a short corner who cleanly stopped the ball and fired it into the goal leaving the keeper standing. Henley continued to play well and dominated possession but conceded a second following a counterattack.
They face bottom club Witney Ladies 2nds tomorrow (Saturday) from 12.30pm.
Henley Ladies 2nds: S Rogers, M Teebo, R Kemp, K Walker, M Parker, S Evans, R Herbert, J Davies , H Holloway, H Verran, S Hickman-Holden, K Roseff, L Cousins, N Martinez, S Barton.