Thursday, 13 December 2018

Depleted amber and blues suffer last minute heartache on travels

Depleted amber and blues suffer last minute heartache on travels

A DEPLETED Henley side, with seven players missing, travelled to Spencer with the bare 11 players in last Saturday’s Southern Premier League clash.

The first half saw Henley chasing the game and coming under a lot of pressure. The Spencer attack was kept at bay for the most part before two goals from short corners broke the Henley defence down.

A number of fine saves from Roy Cox, and some good defence kept the deficit to two goals until the last minute of the first half before a Henley breakaway down the right-hand side led to the ball finding its way to an unmarked Rhys Joyce in the D, who squared it for Chris Green to tap into an empty net to make it 2-1.

Some good early second half play from Henley led to the award of a penalty flick, which was duly dispatched by Joyce for the equaliser.

Continued pressure from Henley led to further joy down the right-hand side when an overhead ball found Sam Heaver on the baseline inside the D, who volleyed it back for Alex Land to fire home and put the visitors ahead.

Some late Spencer pressure paid dividends as a reverse stick shot from the top of the D left Cox helpless between the sticks as the hosts levelled the scores.

A nervy final five minutes ensued, culminating in the award of a penalty corner in the dying seconds to the hosts. Some scrappy play from Spencer saw the ball ricochet from pillar to post, before finally hitting the foot of Foster on the line. The second penalty stroke of the game was put away with the final touch of the game to give the hosts the points.

HENLEY 2nds got back to winning ways at Jubilee Park last Saturday as they defeated Bicester 5-2.

A much changed Henley side played with a speed and fluidity that threatened to blow the visitors away. After 10 minutes their dominance paid dividends, turning the ball over in their own 25, then a sweeping team move, covering the length and breadth of the pitch was converted by skipper Dan Herbert charging in from the right to give Henley the lead. Their lead doubled moments later as Toby Pratt stepped up from centre back to flick home from a short corner.

Henley maintained the ascendancy and created many chances but could not extend their lead and were stunned 10 minutes from half-time when a collection of missed tackles allowed the Bicester winger to cut in from the right and claw a goal back.

With the visitors’ confidence visibly boosted, the remainder of the half was more closely contested.

Henley quickly had their two-goal advantage restored in the second half with James Rechner hitting home from close range shortly after the restart.

Another unlikely goal for Bicester not long after meant it remained a nervy half until Jeremy Hughes-Byrne extended Henley’s lead once more, and from this point in, the home side controlled the game with patient controlled possession.

The game was finally put to bed as a contest when Pratt converted a penalty stroke to make it 5-2.

HENLEY 3rds picked up their fourth win of the season as they triumphed 2-1 at Oxford Hawks 5ths.

In spite of a number of changes to the previous week’s line-up and suffering from niggling injuries, the visitors started with attacking gusto. Switching the ball fast across the back, the midfield built penetrating moves to enable the talented Henley forward line to build dangerous moves, with Leo Packham orchestrating at left half.

Henley particularly benefited from the return of Andrew Foster-Yeow and Timothy Herbert up front. Foster-Yeow at centre forward brought presence, speed and aggression working well with Timothy Herbert at left wing. Henley created a number of chances both through penalty corners and open play. Although they were resisted by stout defending, an opening goal looked inevitable. Good work by Timothy Herbert saw his sharp shot find a defender’s foot on the goal-line, with Foster-Yeow dispatching the resultant penalty flick to give the visitors the lead.

In the first half, Hawks had looked sharp in defence and midfield, but lacking fluency to deliver the ball effectively to their forwards. However the home side rallied in the second half, and with injuries taking their toll on Henley, the game became much more scrappy. Henley remained tight, the defence working hard with the midfielders to snuff out Oxford’s attacking moves. Such was the effectiveness of Tom Bodeker, Rowan Austin and Mike Woolfrey that Henley did not concede a single penalty corner, and restricted the home team to just a couple of shots on goal – all stopped by Mike Cordrey in goal.

With 10 minutes remaining, Henley were awarded a penalty corner after another dribble from Timothy Herbert. Woolfrey slipped the ball right to Julian Herbert, who finished with a powerful flick.

Closing out the remaining minutes, the final whistle blew and Henley reflected on a well-earned three points.

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