Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Thatcham hit back to overturn Lilywhites’ three-goal lead

HENLEY Town threw away a three-goal lead to miss out on arguably their best chance to record a first victory

HENLEY Town threw away a three-goal lead to miss out on arguably their best chance to record a first victory this season.

The Lilywhites were cruising as they sailed into a 3-0 lead after 14 minutes against Thatcham Town Reserves at the Triangle ground on Saturday.

By the end they were left wondering what might have been as they lost out in the clash between the bottom two teams in the Uhlsport Hellenic Division 1 East.

Henley came out of the blocks quickly and drew first blood after three minutes when Omari Edward-Holmes drove the ball home from 20 yards. The lead was doubled four minutes later through Liam Ratcliffe and Andrew White added a third on 14 minutes when he converted Prince Alosi’s cross. It all began to unravel for the home side as soon as they conceded shortly after the half-hour mark through Lemar Maycock, before Luke Titcombe made it 3-2 just before the interval.

Thatcham began to get the upper hand in the second half and after Nikos Chrysikopoulos levelled midway through the half, the fourth goal was inevitable. Chase Jewell scored the winner with time running out.

Speaking after the game, Henley manager Roy Hanley said: “In the first 20 minutes we were starting to do things I had said to them, like clearing our lines and getting the ball behind the defence.

“A few of the players thought it was job done rather than pushing on and seeing out the game. We stopped pressing up the pitch and we weren’t doing what we did in the first 20 minutes. I just knew that if Thatcham got one goal their tails would be up.

“We’ve been in such a losing mentality so I felt that as soon as they got a goal after 30 minutes it was going to be difficult from there.”

Hanley, who admitted he had “strong words” with his players after the game, said he had to take responsibility for the performance and there were two key reasons for the collapse.

“When you aren’t used to winning and put yourself into a winning position you forget how to win and see games out,” he said.

“We also made some basic individual errors. We stopped doing what we’ve been doing really well lately, which is working all over the pitch, and we switched off.

“It was almost inevitable that they got it to 4-3. We can blame this and that but at the end of the day when you’re three goals up you have to see it out whatever level you’re at.”

HENLEY TOWN slipped to their 23rd league defeat of the season as they lost 4-1 to Maidenhead United Reserves at York Road on Tuesday.

It was a tough game for the visitors against the Blue Square Conference South side’s second string and they never looked like taking anything away from this match.

Following the collapse to Thatcham Town Reserves three days earlier, manager Hanley wanted to reinstate some pride back into his troops but the Lilywhites found themselves trailing after 42 seconds.

The hosts doubled their lead after 15 minutes and while Henley stopped the rot until half time, two more goals were added in quick succession 10 minutes into the second period. Sam Rolfe netted a consolation in the 67th minute when he was put through one-on-one with the keeper.

Hanley said: “I said to the guys that I felt they owed it to themselves and their teammates to put in a good team performance regardless of the result.”

He said it was like “watching a slow car crash” as the opening goal went in almost immediately after kick-off but said he was pleased with the team’s reaction.

“I told my team that, scoreline aside, they gave themselves a bit of pride back after Saturday. They kept going and played positively for each other and it was pleasing in that respect.”

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