HENLEY played host to league leaders Hampstead and Westminster in what was predicted to be a
HENLEY played host to league leaders Hampstead and Westminster in what was predicted to be a challenging Division 3A match.
The visitors made a strong start and took the lead within the first five minutes but Henley then had a solid period of play and were rewarded when Lou England scored an equaliser from a well worked and practised short corner.
But then the visitors took control of the game and scored two twice more to end the first half in front.
After the break, Henley came out hard but were rocked by conceding an early goal. Henley’s defence now consolidated with Kat Green, Mel Joyce and Kath Draycott putting in some good work and solid tackles supported by some fine saves from goalkeeper Hannah Lavis.
Henley then entered a good period of play distributing the ball well between defence, midfield and forwards, which resulted in a consolation goal after some well-timed runs from forwards Flic Jefferis, Hannah Jeremy, Emma Buckham Hedges and Charlotte Cockerton, who got herself on the score sheet with the final goal of the game.
Special mention should go to midfielders England, Jem Barham, Georgie Metcalfe, Ellie Roseff, Meg Moran and Katie Butler who worked tirelessly both in defence and attack to get behind the Hampstead defence.
A FULL-STRENGTH team was available to Henley in this crucial bottom of the table clash in the Premier 2 league.
Henley started the game slowly and Slough took advantage, piling on the pressure and forcing a short corner. The strike was passed to the player on the left and subsequently blasted at the goal, where a defensive error saw the ball being touched past the keeper for an own goal.
But this appeared to wake up the Henley side. During one attack the ball was passed out of the defence to midfielder Holly Verran who showed great composure to beat one player and feed Serena Hickman-Holden to score with a trademark shot.
Henley kept the pressure on and some great attacking play up the left-hand side of the pitch by Megan Parker and Hannah Holloway enabled the forwards to go to work once again with Esme Emmett driving into the circle. Experience and years of play together enabled Emmett to pick out Hickman-Holden near the goalline leaving her with a simple ball to slot home and her second goal.
In the second half, Emma England drove into the circle, drawing a foul, and won a short corner. The ball came to Karen Walker who nudged it to Rachel Herbert but her shot rebounded off the keeper and fell to Verran who slotted the ball home.
In a final effort, great link-up play between Emmett and Hickman-Holden saw Serena secure her hat-trick, the win, and three crucial points.