Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

The last game of the season saw a dominant Henley secure 2nd spot in the league with a comfortable 0-4 victory over a determined Leiston St Margarets. Despite the changeable weather, as always the ever faithful Ultras made the trip to give the lads their support.
Henley bossed this game from start to finish, with the home side only managing one long range effort on target in the 90 minutes. Henley came close on a couple of occasions before taking a deserved lead after 30 minutes, a freekick on the edge of the area, cut back from the byline by Storey into the bath of Bruce who slammed home a left foot shot for his 39th of the season.
15 minutes into the second half it was 0-2 as Cowan managed to scorpion kick home from a fully prone position for a truly bizarre goal and a delayed reaction from the Ultras who initially thought it had looped over the bar. After 30 minutes Golding simply smashed home a 20 yard freekick, bending it around the wall with incredible pace for 0-3. Within minutes Henley struck again, the home keeper unable to hold Bevis’s shot and Golding racing in to bury it from close range for 0-4. With the visiting Ultras urging him forward Bruce twice came close to achieving his 40th goal of the season, one effort going narrowly wide, another bravely blocked and another crashing off the bar to safety as the game drew to a close.
A very competent team performance from Henley, Bruce collected the Ultra’s MOTM for an all action display, but Sheppard and Storey were in full matador mode, luring in the home attackers only to twist away and exchange passes with each other and our two Air Traffic Controllers, Jones and Burton who each had a spell between the sticks. Manager Bevis played the full 90 minutes and showed he’s lost none of his touch and class. Lots of credit to Leiston, they played the game in the right manner throughout and worked for every second, attempting to win the ball back. Their attackers must have covered some serious mileage as they tried to press our passing game.
The Vets entertained second placed Trimley Reserves in what will probably turn out to be our last game of the season with the re-arranged fixture with Bury looking like a struggle to fit in, and what a game it was. Despite dominating the early stages it was the same old story, with us failing to find the cutting edge in the final third and we found ourselves 2-0 down approaching half time, getting caught on the break on both occasions with fine finishes from the visitors. Having missed some easier chances it was typical of our side to get back into the game with a superb over the shoulder volley from Behnamnia to bring us in 2-1 at half time.
We started the second half in determined mood with Haddoch & Elliott pulling the strings from midfield with Elliott receiving special attention with some late challenges, albeit some of those may be due to ageing legs rather than anything untoward! Despite having the better of the game we found ourselves 3-1 down to a defensive error which was frustrating given the chances we were not taking at the other end. However, Mallick finally found his scoring boots with a deft header over the advancing keeper from a pinpoint Potter cross and then followed this up with a neat flick over the oncoming keeper when one on one to bring it back to 3-3.
Further chances were squandered with Henley in the driving seat and with full time approaching came the major flashpoint in the game which to be perfectly honest was pretty disgusting and not what you expect to see in any football, let alone Vets. Now I know the competitive streak still burns in this generation of players but the legs maybe cannot do what the brain wants which explains the majority of the late tackles & frustrations. However, after yet another foul/kick on Elliott in the opposition box was met with a frustrated response, the universally familiar head to head/handbags/love in/squaring up occurred which would then see 99% of people walk away, however, the Trimley player decided to show his love of the Glasgow Kiss 3 times which shocked every single person at the Community Centre including his team mates. Luckily the spirit that this team has quickly showed its true colours by removing the culprit from the situation before serious injury could occur. Apologies from Trimley after the game were welcome and we do not expect this player to wear their colours again. Thankfully the game was not to end on this sour note. The resulting free kick, taken a full 5 minutes after the incident once the player removed himself from the pitch, saw Behnamnia deliver an inch perfect cross to Elliott who showed the correct way to use the head powering in a header to secure a much deserved 4-3 victory. If this does prove to be our last game, thanks to all that have turned out for the Vets in our first season & to all the support we have had from all involved. We have improved in each game & a respectable 3rd placed finish was the least that we deserved & hopefully next year we can push on further.
A brief word on our Ressies who’ve had a challenging season, thanks go to Dave Ling, Andy Jordan and Steve Hawkesworth, they’ve got the team through and kept them going. They’ve now handed over to new manager Dean Forbes who has already brought a large contingent of new lads to the club in preparation for next season.
It’s been an amazing season for the club, the 1st team in all 3 competitions until April, winning the Bob Coleman Cup, only losing the semi of the Senior Cup on penalties and finishing in 2nd place in what is only our 3rd ever season in Senior football. We’ve scored a club record 115 goals and have a club record of 19 clean sheets, we have the Senior league’s top scorer in Clark Bruce with an incredible 39 goals and the 3rd highest with Jamie Cowan hitting 26. Thanks to all the players wh0’ve represented the club in this remarkable season, you’ve done us proud. Massive credit to Beaver and Benny who’ve done an incredible job in their 1st season as managers, we’ve widely been acknowledged as playing the best football in the league, which has had the Ultras purring all season. They’re already working on next season, where I know they’ll be wanting to improve even further.
Many thanks to our sponsors too, most of who, give their support not only financially but on the touchline every week as well, as part of our ever-growing army of Ultras. This dedicated band have been behind the lads home and away, taking over 40 to several away games this season. This level of support means a lot to the lads, who showed their appreciation at Saturday’s final game, coming over to the Ultras post match to shake the hand of all in attendance, a class touch.
It’s the club presentation evening/ Dinner dance on Saturday 18th at Fynn Valley Golf Club, if you haven’t got your ticket yet, please contact Brownie or Wayne.
I’ll close by hoping my fellow scribes and all involved in local football have a great summer break and come back refreshed and ready for season 19/20!
The Hat

Club profile

Posted: Wednesday, May 8 2019 by Tony Stone

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

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