Thursday, 18 October 2018

Goalkeeper sacrifice pays off for hosts

A LATE change of tactics and a Luke Gupta last-gasp strike earned Henley a share of the

A LATE change of tactics and a Luke Gupta last-gasp strike earned Henley a share of the spoils against promotion-hopefuls Oxford Hawks at Jubilee Park.

The Hawks approach of patient transferring of the ball round the back led to a mundane start to the game. The game soon changed as a defensive error from Henley saw the ball go straight to the Hawks centre forward, who had just Cox to beat to make it 1-0.

Henley started to pass the ball to all corners and utilise their counterattacking ability but it was the Hawks who netted next as they scored form a short corner routine.

As Henley looked to control the situation, Benji Hetherington slotted into an uncustomary inside right position, where he played an inch perfect speculative ball to Ed Foster who neatly tucked the ball under his arm to Luke Gupta to make it 2-1 just before half-time.

Early in the second half another passing move saw Tom Walter fouled outside the box by the Hawks’ goalkeeper who received a yellow card. Skipper Ed Foster was presented with the task of scoring a short corner despite Hawks having no keeper, and his flick was stopped on the goal line by a Hawks body, resulting in a penalty flick for Henley. Joyce tucked the resulting flick away to make it 2-2.

Soon after Chris Green went past the Hawks defence before firing home an upright reverse stick shot to put Henley ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

The Hawks then had a series of six short corners which eventually resulted in them equalising.

Henley pressed hard for a winner but with three minutes left to play, a long Hawks aerial ball resulted in a visiting player beating Cox at the far post to put his side 4-3 up.

With time running out Joyce took control of the tactics from centre field and ordered goalkeeper Cox off the pitch to introduce an extra outfield player. This paid off as moments later a searching ball from David Ralph found a foot in the Hawks D. Foster rolled the ball into Gupta who neatly fired home the equaliser.

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