Saturday, 15 December 2018

Lilywhites throw away two-goal lead

TWO goals up and cruising after 17 minutes, Henley looked like they were going to mark Good Friday with their

TWO goals up and cruising after 17 minutes, Henley looked like they were going to mark Good Friday with their first Hellenic League Division 1 East victory of the season.

But a two-footed challenge from Graham Sims helped to wreck their chances as Bracknell rallied to overturn the scoreline with just four minutes remaining.

Manager Roy Hanley could not hide his frustration after his side looked to be in control of the game in the opening stages before the midfielder’s lunge earned him a red card. Hanley said: “When you’re playing a team like Bracknell, who are still in with a chance of getting promoted, when you hit the self-destruct button like that it’s going to be very difficult to hold on.

“The 10 guys worked incredibly hard but it comes down to mistakes. It could have been so much different with 11 men and Graham held his hands up after the game and apologised.”

In front of the biggest crowd of the season at the Triangle ground, the Lilywhites shook the large travelling contingent when Liam Ratcliffe received a diagonal ball from Sims before firing across the keeper after eight minutes. Four minutes later, Omari Edward Holmes burst through the middle and slotted the ball under the keeper to double the lead.

Henley’s dream start began to unravel when Sims was sent off and just before half-time the visitors pulled a goal back when Lee Riddle’s shot evaded home keeper Perry Howard.

When Bracknell equalised shortly after the break it appeared there would be only one winner. The Lilywhites held out until 86 minutes, when substitute Jake White bundled home following a defensive mishap.

Hanley said his side were at fault for the three goals, adding: “We didn’t help ourselves with some of our defending and didn’t clear the ball out of our own third. They kept coming back at us.

“At this level of football it’s not rocket science if you’re getting pressed in your own third all the time you have to clear the ball without messing about.

“We played some kamikaze balls across the back four and there was no communication for the last goal.”

HENLEY reached a century of goals conceded in the league this season as they lost 3-0 at home to Woodley Town on Monday. The basement side had vowed to shore up its defence after leaking too many goals.

However, after 11 minutes Henley found themselves behind once more when former player Brett Rann took advantage of a defensive mix-up.

Jamie Fairchild scored a second for Woodley in the 39th minute following a Henley corner an Louis Howell score consigned the Lilywhites to their 19th defeat of the season four minutes from the end.

Henley were in the game for much of the match and hit the woodwork on several occasions.

Hanley said he had been disappointed his team didn’t heed his warnings about defending better.

He said: “Realistically when you’re playing on pitches against the type of opposition we do you want your fullbacks to knock the ball into the channels for the strikers and get midfielders up to support.

“To be fair, after the first goal the lads did what I asked and we put the opposition under pressure and I thought we could get a result.

“The theme of these games is that it’s mistakes the guys are making which is killing us every game. When you have an attacking corner and it breaks away you have to stop it. It’s just naive.”

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