Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

A good sized crowd of 103 watched Henley progress to the final of the Bob Coleman Cup with a 3-0 home win over Coplestonians. Once again Henley were forced into changes with Duzgun joining George on the injured list and Jackson joining the starting line up, we also welcomed new signing Luke Hammond to the squad.
Both side’s usual passing game was affected by the persistently strong, gusting wind, but Henley seemed to cope the better, taking a lead after only 20 minutes. Jackson broke down the right but was cynically pulled back on the halfway line by Thorpe. Justice was swift though, Jackson’s subsequent, swinging free-kick was misjudged by Thorpe who headed into his own net to give Henley a 1-0 lead. This invigorated Henley who pushed Cops back, restricting them to break outs. The half was marred with some niggily challenges which saw cards issued on both sides, with Bruce in particular on the receiving end of a series of fouls, maybe a consequence of playing each other on consecutive Saturdays? Cowan came close for Henley but the ball ran away from him as he shaped to shoot and Bruce’s free kick whistled just over, whilst the visitors were unable to threaten the Henley goal. Cops chances were further reduced when they lost talisman Eaton-Collins to injury just before the break.
Seven minutes into the second half it was 2-0, some great hold up play from Cowan, despite close attention and then a neat one-two exchange with Bruce saw Cowan reach the line to chip in for Caraccio to head home from 6 yards. Henley dominated the rest of the game with Cops unable to test Jones at all, during the 90, every attack broken up by Sheppard and Storey.
After 15 minutes Cowan’s bullet header came back off the bar, Cowan and Bruce exchanged passes and only a great save from Houchill kept Cowan out. Houchill was the hero yet again, denying a point blank effort from Bruce, before also keeping Caraccio’s effort out. Debutant Hammond came off the bench to play a defence splitting ball which found fellow sub Golding whose shot slid just past the post as Henley piled on the pressure. In the final minute Cowan was brought down in the box, Houchill angrily reacted and was lucky to stay on the pitch after he went for Cowan, but he could do nothing as Bruce’s spot kick found the bottom corner for 3-0. Cops frustrations boiled over and Cops sub Dawson saw a red card for comments made to referee Kitson seconds before the final whistle.
Although the weather did little to help the quality of the game, there was still some good football played. Cops were far from their best and while Henley weren’t on top form either, we were certainly worthy victors on the day. Sheppard won the vote for the Ultra’s MOTM for a terrific defensive showing, winning everything in the air on such a windy day demonstrated his quality. Caraccio ran him close with yet another dynamic outing, epitomised by a headed tackle to take the ball off Duka’s chest which elicited loud cheers from the Ultras. Home keeper Jones was the coolest man in Henley on a day which would normally be any keeper’s nightmare, Ultra, Big Steve, likening him to an air traffic controller for his calm demeanour. How Cowan didn’t keep his scoring run going is a credit to the goalkeeping of Houchill and Bruce’s work rate and threat, especially in light of the physicality of some of his treatment on the day, was well rewarded with his goal. Francis had one of his best games for the club, rampaging down the wing at will, on the other side Shore blunted any attempt at attack as well as putting in some fine crosses. Debutant Hammond only had a small cameo, but nonetheless showed glimpses of his undoubted skills. We will now be facing Cranes in the final on Wednesday April 17th at Felixstowe and Walton FC.
As always Cops manager Ian and my old mate Scoop were as gracious as ever post match, Cops have been a bogey side in the league for us this season so it was good to finally better them on the day. Birthday boy Paul Kitson, along with his assistants, had a good game in the middle and as always was happy to chat about the game afterwards.
The Ressies assembled at the impressive home of Sporting 87 in Bury looking for a positive result after last week’s defeat. The weather conditions at kick off were very windy, which made it very difficult for both teams during the early exchanges. After twenty minutes we took the lead when Mallick headed home from a corner. We needed to build on the lead, but unfortunately we conceded shortly afterwards directly from a wind assisted corner. The home side took the lead just before half time from a free-kick from about 35 yards out. The shot looked as though it was going wide, but the wind seemed to guide it into the top corner! Half time 2-1.

The message during the break was that we were still very much in the game and the next goal was crucial. We played some good football during the next twenty minutes, missing at least three very good chances. However, it was Sporting who scored the next goal after we switched off for a few seconds. We conceded a fourth near full-time after being caught on the break. Final score 4-1, which was disappointing after a promising display, especially in the first half. However our young side continues to improve match on match.
This coming Saturday sees Benhall St Mary as the visitors to the Community Centre K.O 2.30, while the Ressies have a free week.
The Hat

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Posted: Monday, March 11 2019 by Tony Stone

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

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