HENLEY 1sts slipped to a 5-2 defeat at Jubilee Park on Saturday against MBBO Regional Division 1 league leaders Oxford Hawks 2nds.
Henley started strongly but the Oxford Hawks’ experienced backline soon established a hold of the game early on.
Hawks went ahead after 15 minutes when a long ball slipped through the home side’s zonal press and reached one of their high forwards leaving skipper Roy Cox no chance in the Henley goal.
Henley, the highest goal scoring team in the league, went straight back down the other end with several quick one-twos between Ed Foster and Kyle Soulsby.
The ensuing passage of play was played in Oxford Hawks’ half before another long ball ran the length of the pitch and saw Oxford Hawks score their second goal.
Restarting, Henley quickly won a short corner for Alistair Slay to fire the ball in the back of the net to bringing the score to 2-1.
The standard of the game lifted with both sides playing flowing hockey but it was Hawks who scored a scrappy third goal. Henley retaliated within minutes and after good play from the midfield, man-of-the-match Jonny Taylor drove into the D and laid a ball to Chris Green to tap home in the final minutes of the half.
The second half saw Henley down to 10 men for five minutes after James Baker picked up a yellow card for a professional foul.
Green went close to bringing the sides level after his sharp shot rattled against the post.
Oxford scored a crucial goal, which bounded over sticks and into the corner of the net to put the visitors 4-2 up.
Henley continued to create decent chances, two of which were cleared off the line but could not find the back of the net.
Entering the final minutes the amber and blues reshuffled their line up looking for something out of the game but it was the visitors who broke away once more to score their fifth and final goal of the match to secure all three points.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Henley 1sts travel to Aylesbury 1sts.