Friday, 05 March 2021

Late own goal enough to secure win for amber and blues

HENLEY 1sts maintained their unbeaten start to the year as they saw off the challenge of Southgate at Jubilee Park last Saturday.

The game started at a furious pace with plenty of space in the early exchanges. Both teams were keeping the ball well but not creating many clear-cut chances.

After 15 minutes a short corner was awarded to Southgate as Hetherington was judged not to be retreating five yards in a timely enough fashion. The short corner was duly dispatched by the Southgate forward via a deflection off a Henley stick.

Some good play from Henley’s midfield maestros of Rhys Joyce and Matt Riches created plenty of chances for the home forwards. A good ball from Joyce found Joseph unmarked in the D and his cross to Taylor at the back post was cut out by the Southgate keeper.

The rest of the half played out in similarly open fashion with only good defending by Soulsby, Hetherington and Mortimer and some good saves by Foggoa keeping the scores the same.

In the second half Joyce won a free hit on the half way line and hit a 50-yard aerial ball into the Southgate D which an unmarked Foster caught and volleyed into the top corner at the first time of asking to level the scores.

The next 20 minutes saw the umpires hand out no fewer than 10 cards, the majority to Henley for stick tackles, chat and dissent.

With Henley down to nine men for a good proportion of the second half, Southgate duly capitalised. Henley defended stoutly but a loose pass found a Southgate midfielder who passed a long ball into the D which was slapped first time past the diving Foggoa to put the visitors ahead.

With Henley back to a full complement, they were playing with greater intensity and having more and more chances in the Southgate circle.

A long scything ball up the pitch from Hetherington found Joseph in the D. Joseph waited for reinforcements and then crossed a sumptuous ball across the face of goal which fell to Foster to dispatch and level the scores once more. With five minutes to go Henley very much had the momentum and went in search of a late winner. Unfortunately against the run of play, Southgate hit Henley on the break. The ball was worked into the D and after some good saves from Foccoa and for what seemed like a lifetime of pinball in the Henley D, the ball was eventually smothered over the line by a Southgate forward.

The final play of the game saw Southgate win a succession of late short corners which were kept out well by the Henley rear guard.

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