HENLEY 1sts got their new league campaign off to a flying start with a 3-2 win away to Aylesbury.
The amber and blues came third in the league last year having narrowly missed promotion and following a good pre-season, in which they welcomed new players, the side have adopted a new style of play under newly-appointed manager Ian Heggie.
Henley were sluggish out of the blocks but last year’s top goal scorer Chris Green broke the deadlock after 10 minutes with a neat finish following good play from man-of-the-match Ross Hibberd.
The visitors continued to dominate the game with the opposition finding little space through Foster and Mortimer but a rare lapse allowed the home side to sneak a deflection off a Henley player to level the scores.
In the second half Henley took a firm grip of the game with another goal scored by Green followed shortly by a smart finish from Geoff Joseph to put the visitors two goals clear.
This pattern continued for the remainder of the half until the home side slotted home a short corner to set up a nervy finish for Henley.
Fortunately the visitors were able to close out the game at 3-2 and were not left to rue several missed chances to take all three points. e_SClB
HENLEY 2nds got their Middlesex, Berks, Bucks and Oxon Division 2 campaign off to a winning start with a narrow victory over Aylesbury 2nds at Jubilee Park.
The forward line of Jeremy Hughes-Burne on the left wing, Guy Harmer on the right and Chris Maidlow quickly set about forcing the Aylesbury defence into making mistakes.
As a result, Henley were able to push high up the pitch and force Aylesbury to play in their own half.
Aylesbury did concede possession near their own goal on several occasions, particularly when Harmer bore down on the last defender.
Henley enjoyed much of the early exchanges as their back line of Wiseman, Clarke, Austin and Roberts had plenty of space to keep possession and were transferring the ball at speed across the back. Playing as a sweeper, Jeremy Clarke was able to fire balls out wide.
The play was congested near the Aylesbury D and Henley were finding it hard to create clear goal scoring opportunities. Late in the half the hosts won a short corner. Guy Harmer pushed out accurately, Alex Price stopped the ball just outside the D and Oscar Wiseman dragged a low flick at goal which the Aylesbury keeper managed to get down and stop it going underneath him.
In the second half the game began to open up. Henley were still pushing high up the pitch but Aylesbury’s counterattacks were becoming a little bit more common. New goalkeeper Ryan Foggoa was largely untroubled and any ball that came near him, he was able to calmly kick to safety.
Early in the second half, Henley won their second and final short corner of the match. This time Ian Roberts flicked his shot high towards the left-hand corner of the goal but again the Aylesbury goalkeeper thwarted Henley, saving with his right hand.
The momentum remained with Henley during the early part of the second half and it finally culminated in the only goal of the match. The ball was played down the Henley left flank via Jack Draycott, who moved it on to Guy Harmer who was in the centre forward position.
Harmer, with his back to goal, turned and played the ball into the inside right channel where James Wood was running in on goal. Although the ball flicked up into the air, Wood managed to make enough contact and forced it into the goal.
With 15 minutes to go, Aylesbury came back strongly into the game but Henley held out for victory.