Wednesday, 20 March 2019
HENLEY 1sts fell to another narrow defeat last Saturday, this time against Winchester at Jubilee Park.
Despite having the majority of possession in the first half, creating six short corner opportunities, the dry pitch meant that Henley were unable to execute their set pieces and the sides went in goalless at half-time.
Some good first half hockey was finally rewarded 10 minutes into the second half as Sam Heaver latched on to a loose ball in the Winchester D, and rifled a reverse stick half volley past the away side’s goalkeeper.
Five minutes later Winchester were awarded a penalty flick after Rob Mortimer was adjudged to deliberately foul the away side’s centre forward in the Henley D. The penalty stroke was scored, and Winchester then added two further goals when Henley were down to 10 men following the innocuous incident.
At 3-1 down, Henley pulled a goal back through an Ed Foster penalty corner drag flick, but the amber and blues unable to find an equaliser in the last five minutes, despite opting to play with 11 outfield players and no goalkeeper.
MBBO Division 1 leaders Henley 2nds maintained their promotion push as they ran out winners at Bicester 1sts.
The first half started at a fast pace with attacking moves from Henley and counter attacks from Bicester. The first real chance of the half came from Bicester who beat the goalkeeper and forced a goal line save from Ali Slay.
Soon after Henley took the lead when a string of six passes led to Tim Herbert setting up Richard Woolfrey to fire home. The lead was short lived as Bicester equalised form a short corner routine.
Just before half-time Bicester took the lead when they scored again from a short corner routine.
Henley dominated the second half and equalised when Slay fired home from a short corner.
With 14 minutes remaining Oscar Wiseman played a long ball to Jeremy Hughes-Burne who turned and fired home past the home keeper to put the amber and blues 3-2 up.
Bicester won several short corners late in the match but good defending by James Moore, Brandon Smith, Tom Bodeker and Dave Bowyer kept them at bay.
HENLEY 4ths ran out 3-2 winners in their away MBBO Division 8 clash at second placed South Berks 4ths to maintain their own plate promotion push.
Fastest out of the blocks were the home team as Henley spent the first 10 minutes camped deep in their own half.
The opening goal came for South Berks when a fast break caught the Henley defence out of position and a resulting three-on-two saw the visiting keeper drawn to the player with the ball and the result was a quick cross field pass that saw the home centre forward finish the move with a simple tap in to an open goal.
Two minutes later and again the home attack were sweeping their way up field and only a desperate lunge from keeper David Rechner kept the score at 1-0. However, in clearing the ball he also took left back Jon Williams who had to leave the pitch, further depleting Henley’s team.
Stung by the ferocity of the South Berks attacks, Henley regrouped with the midfield of Josh Batty and Phil Biggs stepping up and taking control.
Henley had a series of short corners but frustratingly the South Berks keeper was the match for the visitors’ attacks. The constant pressure was beginning to tell, and from a free hit Phil Biggs drove strongly into the opposition D and a well struck shot was saved by the diving keeper only for Tim Cima to pick up the rebound and flick the ball over the prone keeper’s body to force the equaliser.
South Berks were rocked by the determination of the visitors and were progressively retreating further and further back into their own half. From another short corner a well-worked move saw the ball fall to Cima who again flicked over a prone keeper to put Henley 2-1 up just before half-time.
The second half started much as the first half had with South Berks dominating the opening exchanges. Disaster stuck for the visitors when a pressure relieving free hit was badly struck by Martyn Watkins giving the opposition a chance to counter attack. The attack was quick and decisive and again the Henley keeper found himself exposed and a simple goal was scored to restore parity.
From here on in it was now anyone’s game. Henley’s midfield continued to impress with Max Hems particularly showing composure and control beyond his years and providing opportunities for the Henley forwards but without the desired outcome. South Berks again pressed and were looking favourite to score the decider David Rechner in the Henley goal was equal to the challenge denying a number of clear chances to score.
Henley pushed forward and were awarded a short corner against the run of play. The initial shot from Biggs was blocked, with the rebound coming back to him, Biggs skilfully beat one defender before slipping the ball to Martyn Watkins two yards from the near post who calmly slotted home to give a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Not surprisingly South Berks piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes to try and force an equaliser but youngster Enzo Cheesman showed determination and composure working alongside the experienced Adam Warner in defence to keep out multiple South Berks attacks.
HENLEY 5ths triumphed in their derby clash with Wallingford 5ths at Jubilee Park.
Wallingford took the lead after just 10 minutes. Despite this early blow, Henley managed to maintain composure and their focus and took the fight up in to Wallingford’s half.
Just before half-time the home side equalised when a break up the right saw Toby Phillips take the ball up in to the D, making an accurate pass to Alan Mortimer who hit the ball past the keeper.
In the second half Henley played some good positional hockey and colts Phillips, Danny McAllister, Fergus Heggie and David Clarke all put in good displays. Henley took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when McAllister netted following a goalmouth scramble.
A fast offensive by Wallingford saw their striker place an accurate shot at knee height in to the right side of the Henley goal where goalkeeper Ed Hems calmly stepped forward towards the player, blocking the shot and safely clearing the ball out of danger.
Henley stepped up the pressure on Wallingford pushing higher up the pitch and in the final minutes of the game, a drive up the left culminated in Mike McAllister entering the Wallingford D and placing a concise shot just inside the left goalpost to secure victory.
25 February 2019
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