THE manager of Henley Town Football Club has hailed his side for their “underdog” victory in
THE manager of Henley Town Football Club has hailed his side for their “underdog” victory in the Reading Senior Cup final at the Madejski Stadium.
Craig Sumner praised the Red Kites’ “fantastic” 5-3 win against Binfield on Thursday of last week as they battled back from 3-1 down to win in extra time.
It tops off Henley’s season as they also won promotion to the Hellenic Premier Division, the fifth step of English football, where their final opponents play.
Sumner said: “To come back to 3-3 and then go on to 5-3 is a credit to the boys. To get promoted and be the first Henley team to win the Reading Senior Cup is fantastic for everyone at the club.
“To have two non-league teams playing here is great. They’re in step five and we’re step six so we were probably a bit of an underdog, but to come out and win it was fantastic.”
Richard Bennett had put Henley ahead but Binfield went in 2-1 up at half-time.
Shortly after the break Binfield right-back Jack Broome was sent off, for appearing to stamp on Henley wide-man Grant Kemp. Despite being one man down Binfield added to their lead.
Sumner said: “They got a good goal. Unfortunately for us they got one before half-time which made it difficult.
“We were a bit disappointed with that because we’d just missed a chance ourselves. They probably just edged the first half. Coming out in the second half we said to the boys they just had to believe it and have the desire to go on and win. Obviously the sending-off made a difference in the game.
“Their lad kicked out at our wide man and obviously got sent off. It was a straight red. The disappointing thing was, when they went down to 10 men, we conceded straight away.”
The Red Kites’ man advantage showed as the game went on with goals from Sean Moore and Ben Clarke making it 3-3. Central midfielder Asa Povey and substitute Liam Tindell then netted once each in extra time to see the Red Kites home. Sumner added: “Warren Baxter was immense at the back, so was our captain Richard Thomas. He was fantastic. Asa Povey in the middle with his energy and Richard Bennett and Ben Clarke up front were fantastic. All the boys were fantastic.”
Club chairman Kim Chapman was one of almost 400 supporters watching the game. He said it was now “onwards and upwards” for the club. “It was disappointing when we went 3-1 down, I think there were some tired legs out there,” he said.
“But we came back well and beat the Premier division side. You can see for yourself we competed with Binfield who have got some good players, we were with them every kick of the game. I think the sending-off made the game, they missed the extra man. We missed chances and they missed chances. It could have been different but we kept them at bay and I think we deserved what we got from the game.”
Club captain Thomas said he had faith in the team to pull it back. He said: “Playing with these boys all year I know we have got a tremendous team spirit. We work hard all year and I had every confidence we would pull it back.
“We said in the changing room today we’ve been promoted to the Hellenic Premier this year, and Binfield are one of the better sides, and we’ve shown again we can compete.”