Thursday, 18 October 2018

Town shine under Madejski Stadium lights to lift Cup

HENLEY Town made a stunning comeback to win the Reading Senior Cup final against Binfield.

HENLEY Town made a stunning comeback to win the Reading Senior Cup final against Binfield.

The Red Kites had trailed 3-1 during the second half but pulled level with minutes to go to force the game into extra time on Thursday of last week.

Goals from Asa Povey and substitute Liam Tindell either side of the break in the added period saw Henley lift the trophy.

It marks a superb campaign for manager Craig Sumner’s side who also won promotion to the Hellenic Premier Division this season.

Hundreds of supporters attended the game at the Madejski Stadium as the Red Kites won the trophy for the first time in their 145-year history.

Henley’s fullback Jordan Goddard stopped his side going behind early on as a Binfield striker rounded goalkeeper Andrew Nunn before Goddard headed clear on the line.

Binfield had the best of the opening stages but Henley striker Richard Bennett headed in the opener at the back post, putting the Mill Lane side ahead after winger Sean Moore slalomed around his fullback.

Shortly after captain Richard Thomas headed over from Bennett’s corner as Henley looked to double their lead.

Binfield pegged Henley back when Liam Ferdinand scored after a through ball to make it 1-1.

Both sides had chances as the first half went on with Grant Kemp looking strong playing wide on the left for Henley. Goalkeeper Nunn was forced to make a string of saves from set plays as Binfield looked to extend their lead.

The Moles eventually made the breakthrough to take the lead just before half-time through winger Jemel Johnson. A cross from the left, deflected off Henley’s right back Jack Thomson-Wheeler, looped to the back post for Johnson to tap home.

After the break Binfield consolidated their lead controlling the game before a moment of madness from right-back Jack Broome saw him sent off. Broome appeared to stamp on Kemp off the ball and was shown a red card by referee Simon Maynard, leaving the Moles down to 10 men with 30 minutes to play.

Despite having a man advantage the Red Kites fell further behind after Ferdinand scored on the turn from the edge of the box to put Binfield 3-1 up.

Henley manager Sumner made changes, bringing on midfielder David Stevens for Kemp and switching from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with Bennett, Moore and Ben Clarke as forwards.

Shortly after Clark was pushed back into midfield as teenager Tindell, replacing midfielder Jack Mew, came on as part of the forward line.

The Red Kites side squeezed Binfield as their extra man began to tell. As they began to tire Henley pulled one back when Moore slotted home after Clarke crossed from the right.

Henley ramped up the pressure as they searched for an equaliser, with the tireless Clarke harassing the Binfield defenders in possession.

Stevens, playing as part of the midfield three, was dictating the game from deep as the Red Kites pushed to level the score.

Centre-half Warren Baxter and Povey both headed over but with less than five minutes to play Tindell, running parallel to the penalty area, slotted in Clarke who blasted low across the keeper to make it 3-3.

Binfield pushed back and Nunn again had to save from a header after a cross from a free kick was headed at goal with extra time looming.

At the start of the additional 30 minutes Henley looked the stronger side and were ahead inside the first five minutes.

Asa Povey was mobbed by his team mates after he headed in from another Moore cross, his second assist of the game.

Binfield came back at Henley after the interval as they looked for an equaliser to try and force penalties.

Their players were particularly enraged with the referee after he accidentally blocked one of their counterattacks and handed possession back to Henley.

As Binfield pushed to get a fourth goal Stevens passed wide to an unmarked Tindell on the left as the Red Kites outnumbered the Binfield defence. The forward slotted round the advancing goalkeeper to make it 5-3 and secure the result.

Henley’s opponents in the cup final finished eighth in the Hellenic Premier Division this season, a level which Henley last played in four years ago.

In their run to the final, the Red Kites also beat Bracknell Town, another Premier Division outfit.

When Henley last played in the fifth tier of English football they finished above the relegation zone but were relegated because of their facilities, which have since been upgraded.

This season Henley finished third in the Hellenic League Division 1 East but were promoted as the two sides who finished above them, Penn and Tylers Green and Bicester Town, will not be promoted.

The former has no floodlights at their ground while the latter is still in negotiations about where they will play their games next season.

Binfield: Silver, Broome, Luis, McCarthy, Brown, Leonetti, Howell, Gibbs, Ferdinand, Johnson, Knight.

Henley Town: Andrew Nunn; Jack Thomson-Wheeler (Jonathan Malone, 90 mins), Warren Baxter, Richard Thomas, Jordon Goddard; Sean Moore, Jack Mew (Liam Tindell, 79 mins), Asa Povey, Grant Kemp (David Stevens, 67 mins), Ben Clarke, Richard Bennett. Subs not used: Sam Cripps, Mitch Cooper.

Attendance: 399

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