HENLEY TOWN had to settle for a point from their opening Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East match away to Old Woodstock Town last Saturday.
The hosts, who have moved across from west section, have brought in a complete new squad of players that includes Jack Dunmall who has been one of the league’s top performers in recent seasons.
The Red Kites management team of Craig Hiscock and Craig Sumner also fielded five new players as they aim to be in the promotion mix come the end of April.
Both teams started cautiously on the wide New Road pitch and the opening stages were even. After 12 minutes Henley took the lead when new recruit striker Grant Kemp found space to slot the ball past the Old Woodstock keeper.
Both teams were battling hard to get on top and referee Scott had to stop play on several occasions to calm players down.
Old Woodstock were pressing as Dunmall drove a free kick over from 25 yards out. Steven Fairchild had to save at the feet of Duran Martin while at the other end Mitch Cooper drove over the bar from just outside the area.
Henley had to dig deep defensively to keep Old Woodstock at bay and Fairchild had to be alert making numerous good saves. Players from both teams were going into the referee’s notebook for badly timed tackles but the Red Kites held out until the 75th minute when the home side’s substitute Aaron Posey found space between Henley central defenders to equalise. The match now became more open with both teams pressing for the winner and the Red Kites celebrated in the 86th minute when Asa Povey picked up a good pass from Graham Sims to beat his man in the six yard box to score.
As the match went into injury time the referee awarded Old Woodstock a penalty for an infringement just in side the area which Jack Dunmall calmly slotted past Fairchild for the equaliser.
Henley Town: Steven Fairchild, Jack Mew, Warren Baxter, Eliot Whitehouse, Richard Thomas, Asa Povey, Danny Faherty, Mitch Cooper, Graham Sims, Sean Moore, Grant Kemp. Subs: Sam Cripps, Louis Howell, Matt Godwin.