HENLEY extended their lead at the top of the South League Premier Division 2 table to seven points thanks to
HENLEY extended their lead at the top of the South League Premier Division 2 table to seven points thanks to a 3-1 win away to Eastbourne on Saturday.
Henley started the game chasing the ball from the off and lacked possession. The little time they did have the ball it was given away cheaply as they struggled to adjust to the slower pitch. Passes went astray and the ball was turned over. This led to a number of opportunities for the home side but none penetrated the last line of defence.
Through many attacks for the home team came openings that Henley were able to exploit on the break, lots of great shape and structure allowed the ball to move quickly up the pitch but more often than not the final passes were intercepted. Henley were however able to force a few short corners, the first of which was saved. The second was flicked low and hard by David Ralph to open the scoring. Henley continued to threaten on the break but went into half-time with only one goal between them and the home team.
The visitors started the second half the sharper of the two teams and went further ahead when Rhys Joyce drove down the right hand side past a number of players and drilled the ball across the goal where Ed Foster got a deflection that lifted the ball over the Eastbourne goalkeeper which was volleyed into the back of the net by Henley’s top scorer Luke Gupta.
Henley extended their lead when Jonny Taylor jumped on to a stray ball which was sent reverse stick across the face of the Eastbourne goal, finding Green unmarked at the far post who tucked the ball away. Eastbourne pulled a goal back late on.
Eastbourne 1sts 1, Henley 1sts 3
VISITORS Newbury and Thatcham 2nds hit back to deny hosts Henley 2nds on Saturday as the two sides settled for a 1-1 draw at Jubilee Park.
Going into the game the hosts were bolstered by the return of wingers Maidlow and Harmer and stalwart Draycott. Both teams needed the three points to apply pressure to the top of the table.
Henley enjoyed a handful of powerful phases in the first half with Draycott, Herbert and Pollard working hard in central midfield to supply forwards Hughes-Burn and Newbold. Maidlow pressed hard from the left to combine well with Hughes-Burn, but his first time keeper-nutmeg was cleared off the line by a sliding defender.
A clear head on Hughes-Burn won Henley a penalty-corner midway through the half, Draycott sweeping in a loose ball from a tight angle to go 1-0 up.
Henley appeared to panic as too many balls were fired right up the middle and few to the wings as passes went astray.
The hosts conceded a weak goal, slotted in by an opportunist opposition forward. The midfield battle raged for the remainder of the game as Henley came close several times.
Henley 2nds 1, Newbury & Thatcham 2nds 1
HENLEY 4ths returned from an extended Christmas break to hold league leaders Slough Ramgarhia to a draw at Jubilee Park on Saturday.
Henley started the stronger and were quickly pushing Slough deep into their half. Good play in midfield from James Lane and Simon Taylor were proving the bedrock of multiple attacks but try as they might, Henley couldn’t get a shot on target.
Following good work through the Henley midfield Andy Green picked up the ball in the opposition D and his attempt was deflected wide of the goal by an opposition foot. From the short corner Alan Mortimer found he had ample time to calmly strike the ball into the opposition’s left hand corner of the goal to put the hosts ahead.
Slough responded strongly and began to find their rhythm, with their game based extensively on counter attack but they were finding the Henley defence equal to the task.
Harry Wray caught the eye with dogged defence and was the lynch pin for attacks down the Henley left.
The game was now becoming more even with both sides having opportunities to attack but neither was able to find the net.
With minutes of the first half remaining Slough were awarded a disputed short corner. Following a well-rehearsed move the ball was slipped back to the injector whose first time flick struck the bar and rebounded to safety. The second half continued where the first finished with Slough coming more and more into the game. With quick movement down the centre of the pitch the ball was worked to the edge of the Henley D from where the striker’s shot took a deflection off a Henley stick and deflected over the keeper’s head and into the net for the equaliser.
The Henley defence became tighter and the midfield dropped a little deeper to ensure there were few opportunities for Slough to break. In doing so Henley were now dependent on breakaways to get a winning goal. With three minutes remaining good play down the right from Rupert Wiseman created a chance for Jamie Furness but he couldn’t make contact with the fast moving ball as it came across an empty D.