Monday, 17 December 2018

Derby day with a difference

THERE will be a local derby with a difference tomorrow (Saturday) on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle when Henley Town meet

THERE will be a local derby with a difference tomorrow (Saturday) on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle when Henley Town meet Wokingham and Emmbrook in Divsion 1 (East) of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3pm, with Wokingham the home side.

This will be the first match in a new ground-sharing arrangement between the two clubs, likely to last for 18 months. Wokingham hope to achieve the facilities required to retain or improve their position in the National League System, while Henley hope the financial windfall will allow them to improve amenities further.

Whether the two teams will fight to decide who uses the home dressing-room remains to be seen, but it is certain Wokingham will take the gate money.

Last season, the Satsumas finished second in the division but were denied promotion because of their ground problems. This season, they must be favourites to finish one place higher. For much of the campaign they have played fewer games than almost all other sides. That is still the case, but they have risen to second place, seven points behind Brackley Town Development with as many as five games in hand.

When the teams met early in the season, Wokingham beat Henley 4-2. Their victory was well-deserved, but the match was abandoned after 88 minutes because of a serious injury to Town ’keeper Steven Fairchild. After enquiring into the circumstances, the League sensibly agreed the score should stand.

One thing that will not make the Red Kites’ task any easier is the loss of Graham Sims, who is leaving the area. He faithfully stood by the club in the disastrous season before last, while last season he was impressive as a ball-winning midfield player who could also score goals. In the present term, he has even filled the goalkeeper’s berth in emergencies.

The Town’s sides in addition to the first team all resume activities this week, with the reserves playing twice. Tomorrow, they visit Marlow United Reserves in the first round of the Reading Junior Cup, kick-off 1.30pm. Henley were drawn at home, but, as a side-effect of the ground-sharing agreement, will play away. The reserves will be playing on the Triangle on Tuesday, when the visitors are Chalfont Wasps Reserves for a league fixture, kicking off at 7.45pm.

The Sunday team play away to Chinnor Sports in the quarter-final of the Sam Waters Oxfordshire Sunday Cup, kick-off 10.30am. Finally, on Wednesday, the youth team entertain Aylesbury Youth in the league, kick-off 7.45pm.

HENLEY 4ths continued their fine form from the last match with a somewhat scrappy 2-1 victory over mid-table Leighton Buzzard 3rds last Sunday.

The game started off well for Henley as many chances were created and the opposition did not get any real possession of the ball.

Halfway into the first half Fred Newbold made a storming run through the heart of the Leighton defence before slipping the ball inside to Ewan Watkins who was not able to convert.

It took at least 30 minutes before Henley grabbed their first goal. A dubious short corner was awarded and, with a good passing short corner routine, Newbold converted at the near post.

After half-time the game started to turn slightly towards Leighton Buzzard as they began to pile pressure on to a tired Henley defence.

A strong shot from the top of the D rebounded off a defender’s stick and hit the roof of the net, for an equaliser.

With the game more balanced, it was Henley who were able to convert their chances. A few good passes around the area gave the ball to Ed Newbold who stormed into the D and produced a strong shot to the keeper’s right.

After this the game began to heat up a bit as a few rash challenges were put in, ending in a yellow card for a Leighton Buzzard player but this did nothing to sway the outcome.

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