HENLEY Town manager Roy Hanley says he is still trying to get his head round the fact his team didn’t
HENLEY Town manager Roy Hanley says he is still trying to get his head round the fact his team didn’t manage to get anything from Saturday’s game.
The Lilywhites were beaten 3-2 away to Woodley Town in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East on a sodden pitch but came close to snatching a point at the death.
Centre back Johnny Wilson cancelled out Woodley’s opener in the first half when he headed home Liam Ratcliffe’s corner.
The home side regained the lead in the second half when they took advantage of a defensive mix-up before a spectacular strike put them 3-1 ahead.
With 10 minutes remaining, Ratcliffe was played through by Chris Appleby’s pass and he smashed the ball in the back of the net from 25 yards.
Henley then bombarded the Woodley goal, with Graham Sims shooting narrowly wide and Stuart Brown denied by a goalline clearance but the hosts held on for three points.
Hanley said: “It was some of the best stuff we’ve played all season and we were very unlucky not to get anything. How we didn’t get anything after our second goal I’m still perplexed. They were hanging on and we were battering them.”
The manager said the pitch was “awful” but it had been the same for both sides. “It had started raining before the game started and it never stopped. By the end it was just awful and very heavy.
“It was like a farm with squelching mud on the floor. It was pretty much a mud bath.
“I walked across afterwards to shake the referee’s hand and got my feet stuck in the ground.”
HENLEY manager Hanley is confident his team can find their first win of the season from the remaining three games after destroying their opponents’ promotion hope.
Henley held on to a 1-1 draw away to fourth-placed Bracknell to pick up their fourth point of the season.
With a number of teams at the top of the table finding it tough against the Lilywhites in recent matches the manager believes his side can still put one team to the sword before the season is out.
On Tuesday, Bracknell started the brighter of the two sides and dominated the opening proceedings.
Henley scored against the run of play after 11 minutes when Rhys York turned it home following a goalmouth scramble after Ratcliffe’s corner.
The lead lasted on three minutes as Josh Delander lobbed goalkeeper Perry Howard with a volley. Both teams created chances throughout the rest of the match but neither side could muster a winner.
Hanley said it was the first time this season that Henley had been able to field the same back four for two consecutive games.
He said it made a “massive difference” but believed his team looked heavy-legged because of the pitch they had played on three days previously against Woodley.
“It was quite an open game and we both created a number of chanced,” he said.
“The hard work again saw us through the game and got us a result we deserved. Bracknell were one of the favourites to win the league at the start of the season and are a great team but we put a nail in their coffin.”
Hanley believes some teams at the top may have underestimated the Lilywhites, with leaders Rayners Lane being held and second and third-placed Headington Amateurs and Chinnor escaping with one-goal victories.
He said: “Maybe it’s a mixture of a mentality when they think it’s going to be easy and the fact my squad is stronger.
“There’s been a little bit of complacency from these teams but also we’ve improved a lot.
“For the last few games we’ve definitely been more competitive and other teams have underestimated us. At this stage of the season you’re going to get some unexpected results. Not that us getting a draw is unexpected because we go into every game expecting to get something.”
Basement side Henley face second-bottom Thatcham Town Reserves twice in the last three games and Hanley said he is “full expecting” the Lilywhites to secure a maiden win.
He said: “I just want to make sure these guys get something out of these last few games. I want to develop them and I want them to get something positive out of this season.
“I was really chuffed with them on Tuesday and with the amount of work they’ve put in they deserve a win.”