Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

Henley bounced back from the disappointment of last week’s home defeat, to stay top of the league with a comfortable 0-3 victory at Trimley Red Devils. The managers chose to make some changes, with Sheppard unavailable Smythe came in at centre half, whilst elsewhere players were asked to test themselves in different positions and tactical systems.
A good crowd of travelling Ultras made up the larger part of the 45 strong crowd braving a dull and cold day at Trimley. I was blessed with the company of visually impaired groundhopper John Stancombe from Lowestoft, an astonishing chap who has travelled far and wide already this season, visiting grounds as far away as Dublin, Wexford, Redcar, Barnsley, Hartlepool and Wythenshawe. As a Suffolk man he makes a point of visiting all Senior club grounds in the county and as Trimley were unable to provide someone to assist him, he contacted our secretary instead. He visited us in our 1st Senior season and I provided the commentary for him then and was happy to do the same again Saturday, as our Chairman so eloquently put it, I never shut up anyway, so it’ll give the other Ultras a break!
Henley dominated from the start, forcing a series of corners, with George, Francis and Cowan all coming close early on as we piled on the pressure. Henley finally broke the deadlock after 22 minutes, a good passing move created a break down the right, this saw a fine cross from Jackson headed goalward by Cowan from 6 yards, home keeper Hindley pushed the ball away but Cowan headed home the rebound from close range for 0-1. Henley were retaining possession and passing well, restricting the home side to breaks only, however they failed to cause Jones any issues in the Henley goal. After 42 minutes it was 0-2, Francis dispossessed Trimley right back West and burst forward, finding Cowan on the edge of the area, as he deceptively feigned as if to shoot, he laid the ball across the edge of the box for an unmarked Bruce to pick his spot and fire a low shot into the bottom left corner.
The 2nd half started just as strongly for Henley, White and Cowan both coming close early on before the goal of the game came on 52 minutes. Smythe hit an inch perfect diagonal 60 yard pass from the left side of defence to pick out White who was hugging the right touchline, within a few strides he played another beautiful ball, curling it behind the home defence where it was met on the run by Cowan who smashed it into the roof of the net for 0-3. George and Duzgun saw efforts go high and wide whist Storey, White and Cowan saw efforts well saved or come back off the woodwork. Late in the game Ben Golding finally made his debut from the bench after a nasty pre season injury, he enthusiastically had the ball in the net by was sadly denied by an offside flag. The home side didn’t trouble Jones, mostly being restricted to long range efforts which went either high or wide.
This was a very good, all round team performance, full of quick, clever passing and movement, MOTM Duzgun was slick throughout, whilst Caraccio, White, Jackson and George all raided forward to create problems for Trimley. A brace of goals from Cowan saw him hit double figures, while another for Bruce sees him extend his lead at the top of the scorers table. Smythe had a very good game and was influential in our defence earning their 10th clean sheet in the league so far this season. All credit to the management team, they took last week’s result on board, looked at where we went wrong and only 7 days later had the Ultras purring contentedly again with a lovely display of proper football.
Make no mistake, Trimley are a strong and organised side and kept going to the final whistle all across the pitch. Aaron Bull caught the eye of the visiting managers and Ultras alike, neat, tricky and fast, he looks a real prospect, ex Henley keeper Hindley also had a good game, making some crucial saves. Many thanks to all at Trimley for their fine hospitality and also for their gracious and kind words about our performance on social media.
The ressies tortuous season continued with a 15-1 loss to a vastly stronger and more experienced Achilles side with Mallick popping up with our only goal.
On Sunday afternoon the Vets blew away the Christmas cobwebs with a comprehensive 9-1 home win against Ipswich Phoenix. Mark Francis and Nathan Day both made impressive debuts whilst manager Brownie donned the gloves and gave a steady performance which supporters allegedly claimed was reminiscent of Neville Southall, (Hat’s note: match report provided by said Manager/Keeper)
Goals came from Mallick and Ford hat tricks with one each from Snell, Clements and Ian Brown. It could have been more but Gibbs and Colwill both decided that leaning back whilst shooting was the preferred technique in front of goal. Rumours abound that our esteemed and respected Club Secretary received a yellow card as frustration got the better of him? I for one refuse to believe such a scurrilous accusation, I shall have to consult Club Captain Storey who turned up to run the line for his opinion.
Next Saturday sees Capel Plough visiting the Community Centre, K.O 2.00, I look forward to a catch up with my fellow scribe The Ploughman. The ressies have a free week and the Vets welcome AFC Kesgrave for a Shield game on the Sunday, K.O 1.30.

Club profile

Posted: Monday, January 7 2019 by Tony Stone

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

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