Thursday, 24 January 2019

Amber and blues’ first-half onslaught proves decisive

Amber and blues’ first-half onslaught proves decisive

HENLEY 1sts slipped to their third successive South Premier Division 1 defeat last Saturday as they went down 4-2 against Indian Gymkhana at Jubilee Park.

Chris Green and Luke Gupta were on target for the hosts against the London-based side.

The result leaves the amber and blues bottom of the table after seven matches having won once and lost the remaining six games.

THREE first-half goals from Henley 2nds saw off host side OMT’s challenge as the amber and blues moved up to third place in the table.

Henley started much the better side and turned the lion’s share of possession into goals. A good team move culminated in a simple finish at the far post for Dan Herbert to put the visitors ahead.

The away side continued to pressure their hosts’ goal, and it was only 10 minutes later when Forrester finished a set piece courtesy of a deflection off the unwitting defender. Soon after left back James Moore went on a mazy run down the flank and managed to get to the baseline. With everyone expecting the cross, Moore had other ideas and slid the ball past the keeper from the narrowest of angles to make it 3-0.

At half-time the skies drew darker as heavy rain set in and without the benefit of floodlights the players were hindered as play became difficult. This effectively ended the contest as neither team could create any chances although OMT did manage to score a corner midway through the second half.

The visitors were comfortable for most of the second half, with the exception of a moment of madness from keeper Bowyer who was sent to the sin bin following dissent to the umpire.

AN Andrew Foster-Yeow goal earned Henley 3rds a share of the spoils from their home clash with Milton Keynes 3rds at Jubilee Park.

Going into the match, both sides found themselves struggling to find form and were flirting with the bottom of the division.

Boasting a strong side with several changes across the field and substitutes on the bench, Henley started brightly. The defensive unit of Liam Peachey, Rowan Austin and Mike Woolfrey distributed the ball fast both across the back and up the wings, while the midfield combination of Ian Roberts, Jack Draycott, Richard Nicholson and Alex Price looked to impose their authority on the game.

The quality of delivery in the final third of the pitch was lacking and Milton Keynes took advantage of one breakdown to open the scoring. Ed Earl made a fine save to resist a close-range shot, but the rebound was pushed home by a Milton Keynes attacker.

Henley quickly responded to take the score to 1-1, with some good interplay in the Milton Keynes area leading to a goalmouth scramble, after which Tim Barrass slotted the ball home.

The match continued in a similar manner after the interval with Henley again struggling with execution in their attacks to convert into meaningful chances.

Milton Keynes regrouped and started to press Henley hard. Earl made another instinctive save to keep Henley in the game, but the visitors won a short corner and managed to score when an attacking player caused Earl to be unsighted.

Having secured a lead, the visitors sat deeper and Henley increased the pressure with attacks from both the left and right flank. A sharp move by Matthew Herbert saw Henley win a short corner. In a well executed move, Woolfrey slipped the ball left to Foster-Yeow, who flicked the ball home powerfully to restore parity.

In the closing minutes of the match, Henley looked the most likely side to score the winner, although play became increasingly frenetic and the final whistle blew with the score at 2-2.

Henley 3rds: Ed Earl, Rowan Austin, Liam Peachey, Mike Woolfrey, Ian Roberts, Charlie Shaw, Laurence Marshall, John-Joe Cottam, Tim Barrass, Matthew Herbert, Andrew Foster-Yeow, Jack Draycott, Alex Price, Richard Nicholson.

HENLEY 5ths went down to a narrow 2-1 home defeat against Thame 5ths.

Having won the pushback, a strong Thame side made a swift start pushing high up in to the home side’s half, immediately putting their defence and goalkeeper under pressure.

Within a matter of minutes, a long Thame ball made it clean through Henley’s defence and to their centre-forward who put the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Adapting to the visiting team’s game play, the home side managed to defend against a couple more incoming offences, but Thame’s second goal inevitably materialised before the end of the first half of play.

Having made a couple of tweaks to the formation, Henley started the second half on a much stronger footing. Using the full width of the pitch enabled them to advance up into Thame’s half to take greater command of the game.

Henley created opportunities through some good game play by David Corke, Jon Grocock and colts Henry Davis, Toby Phillips, Louis Poundall, each giving Thame the run around inside their 25 yard area, but the goal remained elusive.

Henley’s fortunes turned when a ball from defender Nick Shuttleworth found its way into the right side of the D and on to the stick of forward Ben Williams, who fired home into the top right corner of Thame’s goal, taking the score to 2-1.

Heartened by their goal, Henley pushed up high in to Thame’s half and had a couple of close attempts at scoring an equaliser in the closing 15 minutes of the match but eventually time ran out.

Henley 5ths: Tom Grocock, Jon Grocock, Nick Shuttleworth, Piers Edgel, Toby Phillips, Henry Davis, Ben Williams, Fergus Heggie, Duncan Gray, Alan Mortimer, David Corke, Louis Poundall, Martyn Watkins.

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