Monday, 16 December 2019

McAllister and Green goals help extend lead at the top

HENLEY 1sts lost out at high-flying Southern Premier League 2 West side Staines last Saturday.

The teams were evenly poised in the early stages, with both sides going on the attack down the flanks seeking out an early lead.

After patient build up play, Henley won a short corner. After a slick injection, in-form Ed Foster released a shot which deflected off the goalkeeper before striker Sam Heaver pounced to score from the top the D.

A feisty affair ensued, with firm challenges coming in from both sides but it was Staines who scored next to make it 1-1. Shortly after Henley responded with captain Jonny Taylor netting a volley from a tight angle making it 2-1 to the visitors.

Towards the end of the half Henley goalkeeper Ryan Foggoa made a fine save before taking a blow to the head from a falling Staines player. After being given the all clear, he returned between the sticks.

In the second half a Staines player lost a tooth and Henley received a quick flutter of cards as the home side rattled in three goals to lead 4-2.

With 10 minutes remaining Henley were chasing the game with some fine attacking play with Benjamin Hetherington threading through some good passes through the Staines backline. After several missed chances Henley threw everything at the Staines goalkeeper, but the home side held firm to secure the points.

HENLEY 3rds went down to a 5-3 defeat away at newly-formed Buckingham.

Buckingham dominated affairs for the first 25 minutes as Henley struggled to string passes together and turned the ball over on numerous occasions allowing the home side to break with pace and power creating a number of three versus three scenarios.

Fortunately for Henley, skipper Richard Nicholson was in fine form at centre back and made several last ditch tackles in the first quarter of the game. Goalkeeper Ed Hems also came to the visitors’ rescue with some several reflex saves.

Eventually the pressure told as Buckingham converted one of several short corners to take the lead on 15 minutes. Ten minutes later the score was 3-0, via a second short corner drag flick conversion and a breakaway goal following turnover ball in midfield.

A switch in personnel gave Henley a better foothold in midfield and they began to employ a much more effective high press which saw them pen the home side inside their own half for the last 10 minutes of the first period.

After some poor discipline form the Buckingham defence, Henley won their first short corner on 29 minutes and Mike Woolfrey duly converted with a power push between the keeper’s legs.

Henley continued the improvement into the second half with better movement throughout the team as the passing improved and every time Buckingham had the ball they were put under intense pressure and the home side were far less of an attacking threat.

The increased pressure Henley exerted failed to force an early breakthrough and Buckingham showed their clinical nature as they converted on the break to make it 4-1 on 45 minutes.

Henley’s dominance in the second half was finally rewarded with a goal on 53 minutes. Fergus Heggie’s good work up front was rewarded after a fine team move which saw Lawrence Marshall feed the ball to Heggie junior at the top of the circle and his drilled strike left the keeper with no chance as it nestled in the bottom corner, for his debut senior goal.

Henley continued to force the pace and had an opportunity to make the game tight, when the ageing duo of Heggie senior and Julian Herbert created a two on one, but they failed to make the most of it before the hosts scored again after 58 minutes.

Henley continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded a couple of minutes later as Mike Woolfrey converted again from a short corner through the keeper’s legs.

Despite penning the home side inside their own 23 for much of the remainder of the game, Henley could not force another goal to create a nail-biting finale.

HENLEY 4ths extended their lead at the top of Division 8 West of the MBBO League with a 2-1 win at home to Reading 4ths.

After a couple of early chances, Henley took the lead through Andy Green who, shortly after having come onto the pitch, found himself on the end of a good attack, calmly lifting the ball over the Reading keeper.

Shortly afterwards Henley extended their lead when, having played the ball around their back three, the hosts moved it forward to Mike McAllister, who cut inside and dribbled past two defenders, before smashing the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

Reading pulled a goal back when a swift break created a four on three overload, and the visitors scored despite the efforts of goalkeeper Tom Grocock.

Henley had the better of the rest of the half, creating a number of good chances, but Grocock was called into action again just before half time, making a triple save which helped Henley go into the break 2-1 up.

The second half proved to be tense and, whilst Henley created a number of chances through Max Hems and Mike McAllister, they couldn’t extend their lead. At the other end of the pitch, the Henley defence did well to keep the visitors at bay.

The win extended Henley’s lead at the top of the division to two points.

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