Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Cup holders through to final following shoot-out drama

HENLEY VETS reached the national NOW: Pensions Masters’ O40s Trophy final after defeating Jersey Vets

HENLEY VETS reached the national NOW: Pensions Masters’ O40s Trophy final after defeating Jersey Vets in a penalty shoot-out at Jubilee Park on Sunday.

Going into the game Jersey had scored 24 goals and conceded five while Henley, looking to defend the title, had hit their stride in the quarter-final, scoring eight against Gore Court but were without top scorer David Ralph for the semi-final.

What was less predictable was how close the result would actually run: a goal apiece at half-time, a save on the line by the Jersey goalkeeper in the 70th minute, a goal apiece at 70 minutes, three goals apiece after the first round of five penalties, followed by the lottery of a sudden death round. The first half was all Jersey, who strung together several waves of close-passing attacks through middle which earned them a succession of short-corners. Despite Ramskill’s corners proving a powerful weapon in the Jersey armoury in previous rounds, stoical defence on the goal line from Clarke, Burroughs and goalkeeper Green negated the Jersey striker’s drag-flicks.

In the 23rd minute, Jersey earned their sixth short corner and despite Green’s save of another Ramskill drag-flick, the rebound fell to Simpson who struck home .Quick thinking at the ensuing pushback from Chedzey caught the Jersey defence napping as he ran unopposed from the centre spot to the left side of the D. His cross to Day at the top of the circle was touched on to Measures and the reverse pass found a Jersey foot to earn a short corner.

Gaze’s shot was saved but the rebound fell for Chedzey at the right post, who nudged the ball over the line.

Henley started to stretch the game. Measures and Chedzey found space upfront and Day was increasingly authoritative in the middle; Dan Herbert and Heggie provided width for the first time in the game.

The second-half saw neither defensive line of looking breakable. Chances were few as Burroughs managed to scramble a half-saved ball off the Henley goal line in the 60th minute and a reaction save by Brown in the Jersey goal denied Dan Herbert a 70th minute winner.

In the penalty shoot-out Jersey goalkeeper Brown twisted his ankle in attempting to save Gaze’s â?? Henley’s first â?? effort and had to be replaced. Jersey converted their second and third flicks, but missed the fourth which meant Chedzey stepped up to keep Henley’s chances alive. The final Jersey miss set up the sudden death round and Green’s save.

Henley will play Cannock in the final at 5pm on May 3 at Lee Valley, the venue of the 2012 Olympics.

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