Monday, 23 September 2019
OVER the Easter weekend, following a tradition dating back to 1983 under the auspices of the Henley-Leichlingen Twinning Association, an AFC Henley U13 squad, plus coaches and a few parents, travelled to our German twin town Leichlingen as guests of local football club, SC Leichlingen.
On Good Friday AFC Henley headed out to Cologne accompanied by players and parents from SC Leichlingen where the trip included a visit to the home of FC Cologne, the RheinEnergieSTADION.
A key part of the annual exchange visit to Leichlingen is the Goossens Cup match, traditionally played on the Friday evening before the Saturday Easter tournament.
For this, the senior players from SC Leichlingen’s D-Group (usually mixed U12/U13) were up against AFC Henley’s U13s on the home club’s 11v11 3G pitch.
Henley were keen to redress the balance, having lost the Dukes Shield to SC Leichlingen when they visited Henley last October.
Leichlingen dominated the first 10 minutes, but after the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead with goals in the first and third minutes through striker Jihad, AFC Henley started to settle into the game.
Despite this Jihad managed to sneak his hat-trick in the 19th minute, which was the trigger for Henley to go on the offensive and peg the opposition back. Their efforts were duly rewarded with goals in the 23rd and 25th minutes by Mateus Regueiro-Rial and Danny McAllister.
The second half was a stubborn encounter between the sides. Henley enjoyed a little more of the game in the process but Leichlingen were more incisive in attack, though unable to trouble Henley’s goal. Finally, after picking up a long kick from Henley’s goalkeeper, McAllister broke through to equalise in the 58th minute.
This immediately upped the tempo, with Henley earning their fair share of chances but it was again Leichlingen’s Jihad who, in the 61st minute, snatched the decider.
On Easter Saturday, the AFC Henley team took part in SC Leichlingen’s Annual nine-v-nine Easter Tournament involving 12 teams, most from the area around Leichlingen, including Bayer-Leverkusen’s girls’ academy team.
Despite losing their first 20-minute game to SC Leichlingen’s third team, AFC Henley went on without further loss to top their group and qualify for the semi-final, which they lost on penalties.
AFC Henley Chairman, Trevor Howell, who accompanied the visitors on the tour, said: “I was very proud, not only of the way our boys played but of the way they conducted themselves throughout the weekend. They were a credit to AFC Henley and to their two coaches Spencer Meredith and Tim Allen. My thanks also go to Jade Meredith, who coordinated the entire trip, making it possible for players and parents alike to have a memorable experience.”
AFC Henley U13s: Jackson Meredith, Roman Meredith, Noah Allen, Callum Gordon, Danny McAllister, Joe Cooper, Alex Miles-Kingston, Mateus Regueiro-Rial, Eddie Pratt, Will Simpson, Harry Graham, Charlie Graham, Ben Proudfoot.
06 May 2019
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