Henley Athletic FC

Henley Athletic FC

Saturday saw the visit of East Bergholt Utd to the community centre, as always it was a pleasure to see Griefy and have a proper chat about many football matters pre match. His side had made us battle incredibly hard in our 1-3 away win earlier in the season and we knew we’d be in for similar today, especially with much media speculation about how we would handle the pressure of being league leaders. This transpired to be a very accurate prediction as Henley had to dig deep to defy the doubters and pull out a 2-1 win to maintain our position.
We started well but despite early Henley pressure it was Bergholt who took the lead when McGrath latched onto a through ball and volleyed home a spectacular lob from fully 20 yards that took everyone by surprise. Henley then laid siege to the visitor’s goal with “Flapper” Hammond making fine saves to deny both Williams and Bruce. The pair also combined with Williams’ speed taking him to the byline before crossing but Bruce fired over under close pressure. Bergholt continued to pose a threat though, but the home defence stood firm with Sheppard imperiously dealing with everything in his path. On 40 minutes Henley seemingly had a clear shout for a penalty when Williams was brought down by Page, but Mr Cousins saw things differently. Williams and Bibby clashed shortly after with Page coming off worse and Williams picking up a yellow card.
Henley switched things around tactically after half-time bringing on Trevivian for Smyth and pushed hard for a route back into the game, but found Hammond in outstanding form. Firstly to amazingly reach behind him to tip a Williams effort round the post, then making a double save to deny Bruce and then Tejano’s follow up. Trevivian then smashed a 25 yard drive against the post as the Henley pressure built. Finally an equaliser came from White as his deflected 20 yard shot deceived Hammond and found the net. Cue massive celebrations, not only for the equaliser, but rarely has a goal been more deserved. Gussy White has hit more woodwork this year than a jobbing carpenter and been denied by goal line clearances and fine goalkeeping a multitude of times, so his first goal of the season was warmly welcomed.
It was all Henley now, with the visitors only having one header narrowly wide in the entire half. Bevis was pulling the strings in midfield as Henley launched wave upon wave of attacks looking to secure the win. Yet again Hammond made a wonder double save, first getting a hand to an absolute rocket from Trevivian, then getting up quickly to deny Tejano the rebound. With 11 minutes left Henley were at last rewarded as Williams burst down the right, accelerating past his marker and finding Bruce at the back post who contorted his body to scissor kick home a beautiful Sparky Hughes type finish for the winner. You could see what it meant to the lads as they celebrated how they played, together as a team.
Despite going behind, this was a great performance from Henley who, in the 2nd half in particular, played some terrific passing football. It was interesting to note the relative calm amongst the Ultras who always believed that the lads would come back and win it. Henley MOTM was Williams who was a proverbial nightmare for the Bergholt defence throughout, George looks back to his best whilst Bruce is a continued and constant goal threat. Bevis, White, Tejano and Trevivian also linked superbly in the middle to feed the voracious appetite of our forward line. For the visitors, keeper Hammond simply had to be their MOTM and was congratulated on his astonishing performance by pretty much every Henley player and supporter.
Nest week we visit the new facilities at Sidegate lane when we face Ramsomes Sports FC, always a challenge, we know they’ll be fully committed. Meanwhile the ressies are back in action with the visit of East Bergholt Utd ‘A’s KO 2.30.
The Hat

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Posted: Monday, February 6 2017 by Tony Stone

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

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