Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

A season’s best crowd of 132 gathered to see a lacklustre Henley’s 12 match unbeaten run come to an end as Cranes inflicted their first defeat since September on them, with a deserved 0-2 victory.
Henley started brightly, passing well but were stunned by a fine early goal from Cranes after only 4 minutes play. Thrower wriggling clear of Cowan and Shore to send in a perfect cross which was well finished by Fike at the back post for 0-1 as home keeper Jones conceded only his 1st league goal since signing. Henley continued to press and had efforts narrowly wide from Cowan and Bruce as both sides waged a midfield battle of attrition. Henley’s best chance came after 29 minutes, Francis won possession in midfield and switched the play across the pitch to the right, finding Cowan, who played in a great cross which Francis continued his run to meet, but headed narrowly wide from 6 yards.
On 31 minutes came the main talking point of the game, Shore was adjudged to have brought down Blades in the box and Leggett expertly despatched the resulting penalty for 0-2. I’ll look forward to seeing the Cranes Facebook video, as from my, admittedly distant, viewpoint and considering the trajectory of the ball, it looked a good tackle. Blades went down in the box again shortly after, but his appeals were waved away this time.
The 2nd half saw few chances at either end, Cowan had an effort deflected wide by a brave block and Williams saw an effort superbly cleared off the line, in addition to having a strong penalty appeal turned down as he was clearly felled. Thrower and Blades continued to menace for Cranes but the score remained at 0-2 at FT.
Cranes were well worthy of their win on the day, they simply performed better across the pitch with Thrower showing his class throughout. Yes, Henley suffered a “challenging” penalty decision, but it in no way takes anything away from Cranes who unreservedly deserved their victory. Henley were generally pedestrian and we lacked our usual gloss and spark, our passing game didn’t find it’s rhythm on the day and we failed to create enough chances overall to find our way back into the game. Beaver and Benny were understandably disappointed after the game, but you learn a lot from a defeat and I’m confident we’ll ultimately benefit from the experience. As it was, with results going our way elsewhere, we stayed top of the table to finish 2018.
Rads and all the Cranes lads came in the bar post match and were very gracious in their victory. It’s always a pleasure to have a chat with Rads, although I’m sure he enjoyed our Sunday morning text conversation even more. As a tired and hungover Hat managed to text him my own number, rather than the community centre steward’s, reducing Rads to gales of laughter.
Irrespective of the result we’re having a great season, playing the most entertaining football I’ve seen in my 16 seasons at the club. I and all the Ultras would like to thank Beaver, Benny and all the lads for the entertainment; we look forward to it continuing in 2019.
Next Saturday sees us visit Trimley Red Devils, whilst the ressies visit Achilles FC, both KO at 2.00.
On behalf of all at Henley AFC I’d like to wish all our managers, coaches, players, supporters and sponsors and everyone else connected with local football a very happy new year.

The Hat

Club profile

Posted: Sunday, December 30 2018 by Tony Stone

The views expressed in club/league notes are not necessarily those of Archant Suffolk

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