Friday, 12 August 2022

Hurricanes gain point to become champions

THE Henley Hurricanes were crowned U16 EBFA Division 2 champions after securing a point away at Binfield Tigers on Saturday.

The form guide shows Henley being beaten just once throughout their entire league campaign and an undefeated run which now stretches to 11 games so to secure the title was no less than they deserved.

However, it was Binfield who started the game the brighter of the two sides, showing a little more intensity and commitment in their play as well as attacking flare.

Before Henley really got a chance to get going the home side had opened up a two-goal advantage, both from set pieces, within the first 11 minutes.

This early deficit seemed to spur the visitors into action and Henley upped the pace and it wasn’t long before they got into their usual rhythm of accurate and slick passing. The midfield stalwarts of Pawel Kaczorowski, Ben Stodolnic and Gabriel Langford took control of midfield, and with good link-up play with Christian Oswald and Ethan Pearce on the flanks, Henley were able to keep Binfield hemmed into their own half for long spells in the first period.

Binfield were a stubborn and difficult team to break down, but Henley were eventually rewarded with a goal in the 24th minute when the opposition keeper failed to collect Langford’s shot from outside the box. Oswald was in the right place to bundle the ball into the net.

The visitors then drew level with a penalty on the stroke of half-time, after Pearce was brought down by a Binfield defender. Jake Jones stepped up and fired the ball low into the corner of the net. Henley built on this momentum during the second half, and made a few tactical switches, with Sam Clark on for Oswald, and then Oswald back on for the injured Josh Rolls, to try and drive home an advantage.

Henley’s third goal duly came in the 55th minute when a beautiful pass across the box by Langford with the outside of his foot, found Jones who fizzed the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, for his second of the match.

Seemingly against the run of play, it was Binfield’s skilful number 12 who outfoxed the Henley defence of Seemit Gurung, Sam Alexander and Ed Lawrence, to bring the home side level again just two minutes later.

Henley’s man of the match was Ben Stodolnic for his high work rate and committed performance in midfield.

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