Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

Saturday saw the first hoodies and jackets of the season on the touchline, as a good crowd of 96 gathered at the Community Centre, whilst our under-par performance perhaps denied them the quality they’ve come to expect, they were certainly treated to a display of commitment and desire. Sadly, more from the visitors than the home side on the day.
With 4 of our usual back 5 missing, Jones, Shore, Sheppard and Francis, we knew today’s visit of newly promoted Bildeston would be a challenge, they were back to strength after last week’s heavy defeat to Cranes and it was the visitors who left the community centre with the 3 points after a committed, hustling performance.
Henley had the best of the early possession but struggled to create clear chances and when they did they didn’t come to fruition, Cowan’s effort being cleared off the line and another from the same player going over the bar. Bildeston’s style was a contrast to Henley’s as they got the ball forward quickly and used their long throws well. Their best chance came when the dangerous looking Vinyard got through one on one, but Burton was able to block his effort as the half drew to a close.
Henley pushed hard after the break but it was Bildeston that took the lead after 65 minutes, G. De Lara Bell, keeping the ball well on the edge of the Henley area before his shot somehow managed to squirm past Burton for 0-1. Within 5 minutes the visitors were reduced to 10 as their rather vocal, centre half lost his temper and talked his way into the Sin Bin, this saw a period of intense home pressure. C. De Lara Bell diving full length to deny Bruce and shots from White and Cowan narrowly wide. With less than 10 remaining the Henley pressure paid off, as Cowan fired home following a goalmouth scramble for 1-1. But in the 88th minute a high freekick into the home area wasn’t dealt with and Alexander headed home the winner for Bildeston making it 1-2.
A deserved win for Bildeston, who’s effort and desire exceeded Henley’s on the day, they came with a clear plan to frustrate and disrupt and carried it out well for the 90 minutes. Loud and vociferous from back to front they are clearly a committed team who play for each other, with some quality present too, they’ll do more than enough to stay up following their promotion.
As for Henley, it would be easy to look at the players missing and wonder what might have been, but that would be incorrect, we had plenty of quality available in every position Saturday, but for some inexplicable reason it didn’t happen for us, as we looked disjointed and lacked flow. Still positives on display though, none more so than the drive and sheer will on show from home MOTM Bruce, who gave everything and then some for the full 90 minutes. I know Beaver and Benny are already working on getting things working better before our next challenge.
The Ressies made the long journey to Leiston St. Margaret’s for their first game of the season. After a long, but promising pre-season, the Management team of Forbes and Ling were confident of travelling backdown the A12 with a positive result. Unfortunately, kick-off was delayed by forty minutes because the East of England Air Ambulance had to land on the pitch after a road traffic accident just outside the entrance to the ground. The club wishes all those involved a speedy recovery.

The first period of the game was fairly even, but Leiston went 1-0 up after we lost possession. We quickly bounced back and made it 1-1 when Johnson pounced after a goalmouth scramble. However, our joy was short lived because the home side took advantage after we got caught out by a through ball and made the score 2-1. Despite a few half chances falling to both teams, the score line was still 2-1 at half-time.

Unfortunately, we didn’t create many chances in the second half and the equaliser never came. Final score 2-1. A disappointing defeat, but it is very early days in terms of the season and we must take into account that we had 12 of our 16 strong squad making their debuts for the club.

The Vets team had the unenviable task of travelling to Woodbridge Town in the first round of the League Cup and unsurprisingly came away with a commendable 4-0 defeat. It was literally backs to the wall from the first minute with the hosts quality & fitness proving the difference. A tremendous effort and great character all round ensured Woodbridge were made to work hard for their victory, and with a little bit of composure and luck we could have made it closer.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team make the short trip to Claydon FC, meanwhile the Ressies welcome Coplestonians A to the Community Centre. No game for the Vets next week.
The Hat

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Posted: Monday, September 9 2019 by Tony Stone

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

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