Eastcote 1sts 0, Henley 1sts 4
Henley’s men knew that a point or more from this game would secure sixth place in the league and cement their place in Southern Premier 2 for another season. A fine victory it was, however, and one which takes the team to the highest league position the club has ever achieved.
Over the last few weeks Eastcote has produced some good results against teams higher up in the league, so this was never going to be an easy contest.
Henley started fairly tentatively and Eastcote seemed to start the better side. The Henley back three of Newman, Mortimer and Gaze gradually started to get a grip of the game and increasingly started to find the midfield pair of Slay and Green.
They in turn attempted to spread the ball out to the Henley wide men.
One such attack found Green in space who threaded a ball through to Wood in the ‘D’. The ball was then unselfishly squared to Foster who finished well past the diving Eastcote ’keeper.
This first goal gave Henley the belief that more goals were sure to follow. After a couple of well won short corners and several near misses, the second goal finally arrived, this time from a slick short corner routine to Wood at the far post, who edged the ball off a defender’s foot and into goal.
Eastcote did not lie down though, and created opportunities themselves, but Cox in goal stood firm and saw off any potential problems. Relentless running from the Henley forwards of Woolfrey, Foster and Wood, created yet another short corner and this time Mortimer from the top of the ‘D’ shimmied past the first defender to power the ball past the wrong-footed keeper.
Now three goals up, Henley could afford to hold on to the ball and play some possession hockey. This did not always go to plan, but good running from Slay in midfield meant any loose balls were quickly mopped up.
The second half came and more of the same followed. Eastcote tried to put extra pressure on the Henley backs, but Newman and Mortimer dealt with any such problems with some solid tackling.
With Eastcote committing men forward, space soon opened up for the Henley team and Baker on the right of midfield received the ball on a Henley counter attack. He then fed the ball to Green in midfield, who sprayed the ball out to Wood on the right in the opposition’s half.
After some good work, he found himself in the ‘D’ on the baseline. The ball was then slid back to Green approaching on goal, who finished well. After that Eastcote produced a few more half chances, but never really threatened Cox in goal.
Henley have their final league game in two weeks’ time away to West Hampstead.
Henley: R. Cox, R. Mortimer, T. Gaze, M. Newman, T. Slay, C. Green, J. Baker, J. Clifford, E. Foster, R. Wood, R. Woolfrey, J. Rooney.