Henley Athletic Football Club

May 15, 2017 - Our season drew to a close with a terrific club awards evening at Fynn Valley Golf Club on Saturday evening, with a large "Champions" banner and the trophy on display celebrations went on until the early hours. And what a season it was for the club! Senior league champions in our first ever season in the top flight and the ressies achieving promotion to Inter A. 
We were all chatting about our personal season's highlights and I'd like to indulgently take this opportunity to share a handful of mine. Our opening day 9-1 win over Ipswich Athletic had us all taking a screen grab of the league table with us top, thinking it probably wouldn't be happening again this season. The away win at my pal Scoop's Cops with young ressies keeper Brandon Burton saving a last gasp penalty in the same game as a wonder goal from Danny George, Chris William's electrifying hat trick in the return home fixture. The wins against Achilles and Cranes either side of Christmas that saw us go top at the turn of the year. A stunning team goal at Stanton celebrated by every single player, Bruce taking upon himself to bring us back from 2-0 down at Capel. An 18 match, club record winning run, a level of consistency which saw us see off the big boys chasing us.
For the ressies, to come back from losing a large chunk of their starting line up to Grundisburgh 1st team to then go on a winning run and finish the season promoted was a testament to their manager and his commitment, more of which later.
Award winners on Saturday were as follows Joint Ultras players of the year: the unstoppable Clark Bruce and the little magician Liam Bevis. Clubman went deservedly to the heartbeat of the club, coach Andrew Jordan. Reserves top scorer went to Aaron Laughlin with 20 goals, Young player went to the fine prospect that is Jordan Ripper. Long serving club stalwart Alex "Stefan" Freund picked up both ressies player's player and manager's player of the year. 
1st team top scorer, and the Senior leagues, was of course Clark Bruce with 32 goals.  1st team manager's player of the year went to Mr versatile Gussy White who has played in pretty much every position this season. 1st team's players player goes to captain fantastic himself Mark "Bushy" Storey who has been with the club for 12 years now and played in almost every division in the SIL.
A very special award went to Mark Dunham who is stepping down as ressies manager after 14 years at the club. I was privileged to be his assistant in youth football which was the root of the young lads like Bushy coming to Henley. He has served as coach, ressies and 1st team manager and overseen many promotions which have been the foundation of where we are now. His standing ovation on Saturday showed how much he means to the lads and the committee at Henley, I'm sure he won't be able to stay away for long!
Time for some thanks now, firstly to our main sponsors Dave and Sam at DQ Services, Steve White Industrial Roofing, Morrison Freight and All Manor of Events. Their generosity and support has seen the lads looking immaculate and well equipped throughout the season.
We've also had many kind match sponsors this season including, Capellis Hair, IP12 Letting, Morrison Consulting, Commercial Contract Tyres, Autovalet Supplies, Alan and Jenny Farnish, Ivan Page and Richard Self. All of whom have helped with the additional cost of 3 officials.
We've had a full colour programme at each 1st team home game this year, expertly produced by Mutual Media, our thanks go to Peter and Jamie for their support. Programme sponsors in addition to our main sponsors include LRS Engineering, Hazeldell Residential Home, Damerons Farm Cottages and Allfix.
I would like to thank all my colleagues on the committee for all their hard work, Chairman Wayne, Secretary Simon, Treasurer Dave, Commercial Manager Lee, Hospitality Queen Wendy and minister without portfolio George. 
And finally, to the Ultras who've followed the lads everywhere, often outnumbering the home support, I know how much it means to the lads with you guys cheering them on from the side lines. So thanks to Si, Clipper, Wayne, DQ, Chalky, Big Steve, Groundskeeper Ivan, Private Frazer, The Timelord, George, Cheryl and Eddie, Jenny and Alan, Dave C, Paul B, Will, Lingy and Pigeon Bob.
Lastly thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read my increasingly rose tinted ramblings this season and a mention to my fellow scribes including the king of them all Scoop.
See you all next season.
The Hat

May 8, 2017 - Henley Athletic FC Senior League Champions 2016/17, words that 9 months ago I would never have even dared to dream that I would be typing. But on Saturday a 2-0 victory over last season's champions Cranes Sports FC saw us finish our 1st season in Senior football in the top slot.

I won't go into much detail regarding the game as Will Ridgard's excellent match report is available elsewhere on this site and in the Star. Gifted an early lead with a fortunate own goal we rode our luck at times, none more so than when Cranes should've had a clear penalty and all of the Henley Ultras collectively held their breath and simultaneously released it with a gasp of relief when the referee waved the appeals away.
We held out against Cranes pressure and were happy to still be one up at the break. We performed much better in the 2nd half, never more so than our 2nd goal. Bruce finally broke through the incredibly organised Cranes offside trap and raced down the left. His low driven cross was deftly dummied at the near post by Williams allowing George the luxury of a touch before picking his spot and cooly finishing for 2-0, producing huge cheers from the Henley faithful amongst the 250 plus crowd.
The tension multiplied throughout the half with held breath and pacing the most popular touchline activity. The seemingly endless wait for the final whistle finally came to an end to huge celebration both on and off the pitch. 

The trophy was awarded, held up, passed around, posed with and photographed. Players, managers, committee members and Ultras hugged and shook hands amid planning the evenings celebrations. Those celebrations went on long into the night with several elderly Ultras finding themselves in Revs in the early hours of Sunday morning!
What a season! We targeted Brownie and Rogers with keeping us in the Senior Division, having worked so hard and for so long to get there. Two big wins either side of Christmas against Achilles and Cranes started to make us begin to believe in the previously impossible. A club record run of eighteen consecutive wins only curtailed by last week's loss against Bramford made the dream a reality. Brownie and Rogers have not only built a terrific side on the pitch but have changed the philosophy of the club as a whole. Everybody comes into the clubhouse home and away, everybody is part of the team including coaches, managers, committee and supporters.

Cranes and Achilles pushed us hard the whole way as we always knew they would. They are both superb clubs and the real halo clubs in local football. Saturday Cranes worked us until the final minute and then showed their class by staying and applauding the trophy presentation. I've personally known Steve Roper for 50 years and being the gentleman he is he was the first to congratulate me post game. Rads and Matt and all their players showed what makes Cranes the great club that they are. I thanked some of their lads for their sportsmanship and was met repeatedly with the same answer "we're Cranes it's what we do, but we'll be come back stronger". A proper club and along with Achilles and the rest of the division we know they'll be after us next season.
We were informed by the SIL that winning the Senior Division in the 1st season following promotion had never been achieved before and some of the press quotes this. I've since discovered that Old Newton achieved this feat back in 2010 so fulsome apologies to them for any unintentional slight.

So, a great season not just for the 1st team but also for the ressies who finished off their promotion winning campaign with a 2-2 draw at Benhall St Mary. Getting these lads into Inter A is a fitting swansong for Manager Mark Dunham who is stepping down to take a break from football. Mark has been an amazing asset to Henley over the last 15 years and we wouldn't be where we are today without his earlier input to the 1st team.
All at Henley would like to congratulate Benhall St Mary and Hoxne on achieving promotion to the Senior league, we look forward to renewing our battles with you next season.

We have our club presentation night this coming Saturday and I will submit a season review set of notes following that with all the deserved thank yous.

As it is I'll close these notes with a thank you to all those clubs and individuals who've taken the time to send us congratulations over the last couple of days. The kindness of responses has been overwhelming.
The Hat

May 1, 2017 - A club record crowd of 159 gathered in the sunshine for Henley’s first home game since early February as we welcomed Bramford Utd in our penultimate match of the season. Denied the services of Williams once again by holiday and with a couple of walking wounded it was still nonetheless a strong Henley side that took the field.
 
It was a bit of a week off for me as there was a professional reporter in attendance whose very accurate match report is elsewhere on this site, so I’ll just reflect on a few points.
   
 

Henley Athletic upset by Bramford United to put brakes on SIL title charge

By john campany
SIL Senior DivisionHenley Athletic 1Bramford United 2Henley Athletic needed three points to create some history ...
 
 
Despite the superbly prepared surface we really struggled to get our passing game going against a highly motivated Bramford who clearly came to spoil the party and were up for the game from the off. A fine 1st half goal from Munson, the only other Country music fan in local football, apart from me, saw the score 0-1 at HT. Shortly after we forced an equaliser when Storey poked home after Algar failed to hold a Bevis free kick. This set up a period of Henley pressure where we looked like we would go on to record our 19th consecutive win, however this was swiftly curtailed by that man Munson again. I actually think the match report does him a disservice it looked a lot further out than 22 yards to me when he hit a worldie of a finish to make it 1-2.
 
We forced several chances with Storey and Bevis hitting the woodwork and Storey having an effort cleared of the line, but today wasn’t to be our day and although a draw would have probably been a fairer reflection of the play, Bramford ran out deserved winners.
 
I think most Henley supporters have thought it would all go to the final day since around the turn of the year and so it has. I’m sure next Saturday’s home game against Cranes Sports FC (KO 2.30) will be the climax to the season that all neutrals were hoping for.
 
With a touch of irony Bramford reserves defeat of Bacton Utd to secure the Inter B championship meant that our ressies cap a successful season with promotion to Inter A. Well done lads. They conclude their season with a trip out to Benhall St Mary on Saturday.
 
 
The Hat
 
April 24, 2017 - A warm welcome awaited Henley when we made our first ever visit to Capel Plough on Saturday, warmly greeted by the Ploughman and his lovely lady and full of tea I took my place amongst a large band of travelling Henley Ultras for what was sure to be a tight contest. With some irony when Capel visited us they were short of a few players, this time it was our turn with Trevivian and Jackson out with injuries and Williams away on holiday we had to draft in a few ressies to fill our squad. Capel were looking much changed since our last meeting too, with reinforcements from Border league double winners Little Oakley FC swelling their numbers.

Capel looked a different prospect from the off, trying to get the ball forward from the back as quickly as possible to their dangerous looking front men, who were as quick to attempt to get shots off with a couple of efforts going high and wide and a header comfortably saved. For Henley the highlights of the first half were a shot over on the turn from Bruce and header just wide from Storey, Taylor came closest when his shot cannoned off the bar. Both sides were finding the hard, bumpy pitch difficult to cope with, with Henley’s passing game suffering as was Tejano who had to go off after landing heavily on his chest. Fortunately after a trip to hospital the feared rib break turned out to be heavy bruising, Smyth came off the bench and we were forced into a reshuffle. Just before the break Capel took the lead when a long throw glanced off an unknown head and looped over Holland into the net for 1-0 at HT. Despite the score line I thoroughly enjoyed the interval with a generous slice of Mrs Ploughman’s superb Victoria sponge, I’ve told Mrs Hat to look out for her on the next series of Bake Off.

It was 2-0 within minutes of the restart when a cross found the precise spot between Storey and Sheppard and was well finished by Collins. This seemed to galvanise Henley with Bruce pulling a goal back within a couple of minutes and what a goal it was. He picked the ball up wide on the left and ghosted past two markers before calmly picking his spot to smash the ball into the far corner for 2-1. A silly post challenge over reaction saw Capel down to 10 men as a 2nd yellow followed a first half one for a cynical trip and Easton saw red. Henley were rampant now and streaming forward when Bruce was pulled down whilst shaping to shoot in the six yard box. Despite the Capel protests Bruce kept his calm and slotted home the equaliser from the spot past ex Henley custodian Beal for 2-2. On 65 minutes the comeback was complete as Taylor flicked on a Bevis corner for White to smash it in at the far post.

There was still time for plenty more action with both sides still attacking and despite Holland not having to make an actual save he certainly had to be on his toes to punch clear several crosses. Capel were looking especially dangerous from set pieces with fine deliveries from Morrison and some big lads looking to get on the end of them. However Henley held firm and saw the game out to record an important 2-3 victory.

With the sun baked surface making our usual passing game difficult we had to dig deep to come back from 2-0 down and get this win. The lads demonstrated real commitment and character right throughout the side with Bevis and George marshalling and controlling the middle of the park. Although there were many examples of this character and commitment I’d like to highlight a couple, with 5 minutes left Smythe raced into a challenge which saw him unable to stop, colliding with the pitch side barrier and ending up with some nasty rope burns across his chest and arms. Then MOTM Bruce, who seemed to take it as a personal affront that a side had scored against us, in the 8th minute of added time shutting down a Capel move and preventing a cross right by our corner flag. True grit lads, true grit. Post match even the Capel lads were lifted by scores elsewhere and as the Ploughman quite rightly said they gave us one hell of a scare. All at Henley wish them luck in their remaining fixtures, a great club run by lovely people.

The reserves meanwhile welcomed 2nd place Coplestonians ‘A’s and were on the receiving end of a 0-7 thumping. Weakened by multiple call ups to the 1st team squad they were forced in multiple changes and were soundly beaten on the day although should still have done enough to finish the season in 3rd position, a terrific achievement in a season when so many ressies lads have sought 1st team football elsewhere.

Next Saturday sees the 1st team finally at home again after an astonishing 11 weeks since our last home fixture as we welcome our old friends Bramford Utd to the community centre with a 2.30 KO. No match for the ressies this week so all are anticipating a large crowd for this significant fixture.


The date has been set for the Henley FC awards evening and dinner dance on Saturday 13th May at Fynn Valley Golf Club, tickets are available for a subsidised £20 pp.

The Hat

April 16, 2017 - It was a bright, sunny albeit chilly band of Henley Ultras that made the trip down to Trimley Saturday afternoon. Henley visited Felixstowe Harpers to fulfil the fixture the home side had to postpone a couple of weeks ago due to a lack of available players. This is always a difficult place to go, as our cup defeat there in January showed and the 1st half today proved little different as Harpers battled hard for everything and defended stoutly whilst always looking dangerous going forward, especially from set pieces.  They clearly had a plan to try and stop us playing football and to disrupt our play at every opportunity. Henley were forced into an early change when Tom Trevivian was caught rashly from behind and had to go off injured, Ben Taylor came on with Danny George dropping into midfield in replacement. Kev Holland had to make a decent stop from a header after a corner and a couple of home efforts went high and wide. Henley were looking to get forward at every opportunity and worked hard to keep the ball. Just before the break the Henley pressure finally told when some serious hustle from Ben Taylor and Chris Williams on the right, saw Danny George get the final touch to force the ball home for a 0-1 lead at the break.
 
Henley got their passing game going on a bobbly, difficult surface in the 2nd half and increased their lead to 0-2 on 56 minutes with a superb flowing move. Ben Taylor and Chris Williams linked to find Clark Bruce, he laid the ball to Danny George who returned the favour crossing it back into Clark Bruce to smash home from 10 yards. Only a fine save denied Arran Sheppard from a certain goal with a bullet header from a corner with his defensive partner Mark Storey unable to keep the follow up down. On 70 minutes it was all over when Danny George released Ben Taylor down the right whose cross was turned it for an OG by an unfortunate Elliston to make it 0-3. Henley were rampant now and on 78 minutes Ben Taylor worked hard on the right to find Clark Bruce who played a cross field ball to Chris Williams who stepped inside his marker to finish well for 0-4. Williams, Bruce and White all came close but couldn’t add another before the final whistle.
 
A good team performance on the day, especially in the second half against a team with many good players and a very dangerous striker, Danny George was wholly deserving of his MOTM award being at the centre of everything. Gussy White ran his socks off throughout and Mark Storey and Arran Sheppard were rock solid at the back and Clark Bruce was lethal as always going forward but also worked hard to win the ball back.
 
Our run of 1st team away games continues next Saturday with a visit to Capel Plough FC whilst our third placed ressies are back in action as they welcome second placed Coplestonians “A” to the community Centre, both games K.O at 2.30.
 
The date has been set for the Henley FC awards evening and dinner dance on Saturday 13th May at Fynn Valley Golf Club, tickets are £20 pp.
 
The Hat
 
April 2, 2017 - Friday afternoon saw the sad news that Felixstowe Harpers Utd were unable to raise a side, a very rare occurrence in Senior football but as it transpired it did us a bit of a favour as we had a few influential players nursing injuries who will now have plenty of time to recover before the rearranged fixture.
Therefor the reserves home game against Stowupland Falcons took pride of place and the lads put on a fine display for a good sized crowd. Henley were 2-0 up in the opening 15 minutes, first Laughlin out muscled and out paced his marker to go through one on one to lob the advancing keeper. Shortly after Cooper slid home a measured low finish, passing the ball into the corner for 2-0. Just before the HT break Laughlin was picked out with a fine pass from Ripper and went on to score a carbon copy of his first goal to make it 3-0.
Five minutes into the second half and it was 4-0 as MOTM Laughlin fired home a left footed drive to complete his hat trick. There was still time to add another as Fruend headed home a Burridge corner to make it 5-0.
A good all round team performance with Laughlin and Cooper proving a real handful up front. Westren drove the lads forward and Ripper picked out some cracking passes in the quarterback role. Seaman was his usual calm and effective self and Newman impressed with his speed and commitment when he came on as well, never giving up on anything. Stow Falcons deserve a lot of credit as well, despite the score line they never once stopped trying to play proper football throughout.
Saturday evening saw the club April Fools quiz night which was very popular, these events are the life blood of every club so a big thank you to all that attended.
The Hat

March 28, 2017 - After a two week period without a game it was a rather ring rusty Henley that visiting bottom side Ipswich Athletic Saturday. On a lovely day for football a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch a contest where the points were vital at either end of the table. We knew Ipswich Athletic had undergone a transition in recent weeks and hence we would most certainly be in for a battle,
 
Henley struggled to get our passing game going in the wind and on the bumpy and slow surface but applied the pressure straight from the 1st whistle. The visitors took a deserved lead after 12 minutes when a fine interchange between George and Jackson released Williams who flew down the right outpacing his marker. Bruce was doing the same down the left and calling loudly for the ball, he was precisely picked out with a low cross which he slammed home at the back post for 0-1.
 
The visitors had the ball in the net again minutes later as Williams ghosted in to poke home but George was adjudged to have handled in the build up. Henley, rather frustratingly, had the 1st of what was to be a handful of fairly obvious penalty appeals denied, when Tejano was crudely barged over in the box. With the home side physically committing fully to their challenges Smythe had to come on to replace Jackson who was caught very late with a nasty tackle. Sadly this is the second time this season that Jacko has had to go off injured by a poor challenge that went unpunished by even a free kick or a talking to. Henley had a few more chances but so to did Athletic who with better finishing could have found a route back into the game.
 
The second half saw the Henley pressure continue with Bruce, Williams and Tejano all coming close to extending the lead with Williams felled twice in the box during a ten minute period, both of which were strangely denied. Athletic stuck to their task and kept trying to catch us on the break, on a rare foray forward Holland had to make his only real save of the game to keep out a neat overhead effort. On 74 minutes Henley finally put the game to bed as MOTM George threaded a fine pass through to Bruce who showed all his class with a simply superb turn and shot from the edge of the box to make it 0-2. Williams burst through 4 home defenders and rounded the keeper before being brought down just as he was about to slide the ball home, but yet again the penalty was waved away and the game finished 0-2.
 
A tough game, in tough conditions, against a tough team, that simply refused to lie down and roll over. Athletic have probably left it too late this season but have some good players around which to build a team to challenge for an early return to senior football. Ex Henley man Lytess is always a handful and can be a match winner on his day but most impressive to the assembled Henley Ultras was young Ryan Wardley (No not THAT Ryan Wardley) who showed some real promise and skill.  As for Henley, we started slowly and looked off the pace, but the sharpness came back progressively through the game and towards the end we showed a bit more of what we are really capable of. As always we had a warm welcome at Bourne Vale and fully enjoyed the hospitality, thanks to all involved. Over to Mark Dunham now for this week’s ressies report. 
 
 
Another home game for the reserves this week, as we entertained Claydon in our local Derby. The pitch was much firmer this week and the wind was blowing diagonally across the pitch from the community centre, this caused problems for both teams in terms of controlling the ball and getting it down on the deck. However Henley controlled much of the game throughout while allowing Claydon the odd breakthrough but we found it difficult to finish in the blustery conditions.
 
The second half continued in the same vein and it was always going to be a mistake or a slice of good fortune that would win the game, this fell to Laughlin who prodded a home a loose ball from a corner 10 minutes from time giving us a 1-0 victory. So for the third week in a row we won by an odd goal and a third consecutive clean sheet.
MOTM this week went to Freund who’s solid display in the centre of defence was epitomised by a brilliant last ditch tackle.
 
I see in other notes that the interest in Henley continues and also, from what I hear, with questioning of other teams supporters when they visit the Suffolk/Essex borders. You would think people would be more interested in own their forthcoming big games? My spectacles will continue to remain as rose tinted as ever the same as the majority of club scribes.
 
Next week sees the first team visiting Felixstowe Harpers Utd whilst the Ressies welcome Stowupland Falcons, both KO at 2.30. Also on the Saturday evening we have the club quiz night at the community centre at 7.30.
 
 
The Hat

March 20, 2017 - With yet again no 1st team game for Henley this week attention was on the reserve’s home fixture against table toppers Bramford Utd.
 
Bramford are a neat passing side but failed to find a footing in this game not really creating any chances until late on. Henley had the advantage in possession and saw a couple of 1st half chances blazed over and wide until Westren appeared to have given the home side the lead with a low finish from the edge of the area. Frustratingly this fine effort was rightly disallowed for an errant call of “my ball” or similar. Seaman and Pearson were ranging forward as was Behnamnia, whilst Merry and Carracio were busy supporting George up front. Burridge and Westren were also getting plenty of the ball too.
 
The second half continued in a similar vein with Henley dominant and pressing Bramford back, restricting the visitors to attacks on the break. However despite some good passing Henley struggled to find a finish and Laughlin and Cooper made an appearance off the bench to try their luck at changing the game. It was a bursting run from Laughlin that forced a corner that brought the winning goal. Pearson drove in a low curling corner which Smythe ran onto at full pace to volley home unchallenged for 1-0. Bramford should have equalised late on but a last ditch tackle from Dunham and some poor finishing cost them when the opportunity presented itself.
 
Despite a lot of changes this was a decent team performance with the usual committed showing from MOTM Westren who showed his quality and leadership throughout.
 
This coming Saturday sees the 1st team back in action with a visit to Ipswich Athletic FC, meanwhile the ressies have a local derby with the visit of Claydon to the community centre. Both KO 2.30.
 
The Hat

March 12, 2017 - With no 1st team game for Henley all eyes were on the reserve’s home fixture against Capel Plough FC. It was good to see the 1st team management team in attendance in addition to a good contingent of the 1st team cheering the lads on from the sidelines.
A couple of 1st teamers were looking for minutes so George, Smythe and Jackson started along with Seaman who is well on the path to recovery from his injury now.
 
Henley were in charge throughout with a large proportion of the game taking part in our visitors half of the pitch throughout the 90 minutes. Despite the domination Henleycouldn’t find a path to goal, indeed in the 1st half the two full backs, Seaman and Smythe came the closest, both producing good saves from the Capel keeper.
 
Frustratingly we lacked the final level of cohesion and decision making with some players lacking positional awareness despite a lot of vocational encouragement from the more experienced lads.
 
The second half continued in a similar vein with chances coming but not being taken or the wrong ball being chosen against a tough to break down and very organised Capel defence. Freund was as solid as always at the back, Westren was busy and Jackson was trying to create wherever he could, whilst Ripper showed flashes of promise. However it took the arrival of old stager Mallick from the bench to finally get the breakthrough with a lovely turn and finish from 8 yards to get the winner.
 
Not the best team performance but a 1-0 win regardless and a MOTM showing from Seaman who ranged forward as well as being at his defensive best and apart from the goal and a stunningly old school tackle from Westren, his swerving shot in the first half was my highlight of the match. Thanks also to Jamie Walden as stand in stand in keeper! Despite not having a real save to make.
 
Once again the 1st team have next weekend off so it’s the ressies at the forefront as they welcome Bramford Utd to the community centre, KO 2.30.
 
The Hat

March 6, 2017 - Henley set a new club record of 15 consecutive league victories with a 0-4 away win at Grundisburgh on Saturday. Nobody at Henley ever thought for a moment that this would be an easy game, despite Grundisburgh’s current predicament, with a good number of ex Henley lads having plenty to prove.
 
I won’t go into too much detail as Micky Squirrell’s excellent and very fair match report covers all the detail well, instead I’ll just try and pick up on a few details. In all honesty Henley dominated pretty much the entire game, pinning the hosts firmly in their half of the pitch except for the odd break which were well marshalled by Sheppard and Storey. Time and again we pushed for an opener but were thwarted by some hurried finishing and some issues with the delivery of the final ball. Ex Henley stalwarts Gibson and Davis were hurling themselves into every challenge with the same degree of commitment and bravery they always displayed in their long spells at Henley and along with the impressive Fulcher kept us at bay until the break.
 
At HT the large contingent of travelling Ultras were still calm and confident of a result and were proven right with four 2nd half goals. Bruce opened the scoring around five minutes in with a poacher’s special, sweeping home after Behnamnia’s cross shot was spilled for 0-1. George, Sheppard and Williams all came close before Trevivian’s cross shot was pushed out and Tejano was first on the scene to slot it for 0-2.
 
The goal of the game and a strong contender for goal of the season came on 70 minutes, Williams was running diagonally across the box at full speed and closely marked when without even breaking stride it suddenly smashed the ball back across his body and into the opposite top corner past a bewildered Lloyd for 0-3. Henley wrapped up the scoring when Jackson’s cross was deftly headed down for White to finish from close range for a final score of 0-4. There was still time for George to hit the post and Williams to come close yet again but it wasn’t to be.
 
A tough game and a deserved win with an all round good team performance, Bruce in particular worked hard, Sheppard and Storey were as solid as always combining with Holland for another clean sheet. White and Tejano continued their current goal scoring runs whilst Williams was a nightmare for the hosts defence in addition to his wonder goal. However MOTM was Trevivian who’s calmness, control and trickery had the assembled Ultras purring with delight throughout, class personified. The only very slight negative was two yellow cards for querying some questionable decisions, always frustrating when repeated and persistent fouling didn’t even warrant a word, yet alone a card.
 
As for Grundisburgh, despite missing a few influential players, they battled hard and efficiently with Gibson fully deserving of the home sides MOTM award. If they show that level of commitment when at full strength they’ll stand a good chance of staying up. Over now to Mark Dunham for the ressies report.
 
This week Henley entertained Haughley reserves to the community centre and ran out 2-0 winners on a thankfully dry afternoon. A much improved performance this week with Carracio coming into midfield and Merry moving out to the left, new signing Lewis Newman made his first start on the right hand side and his incessant work rate was causing Haughley problems from the first whistle, tirelessly closing the opposition down throughout.
 
Two typical goals from MOTM Laughlin, one a cracking header, was enough to give us the win. The difference this week, from the previous two, was a great focus on our tactical awareness and our hard work and ability to get back behind the ball when we lost possession. A fine display from our back four with stand in keeper Tacey once again coping well with the little he had to do in goal, a great first start from Newman and good work from Birt with a first start at left back. The score line could have been more had subs Mallick and Walden taken their chances too.
 
A very disciplined performance both individually and as a team and with better communication was exactly what I asked for before the game and that's exactly what I got, superb lads, thank you.
 
No 1st team match for a couple of weeks now so all eyes next Saturday will be on the ressies as they welcome Capel Plough to the community centre.
 
The Hat

February 28, 2017 - Henley had to pull out all the stops today to find a route past a resolute and well organised Leiston St Margarets to continue their winning run with a 2-0 victory.
 
Henley started smartly dominating the game from the off and indeed for the entire 90 minutes. Only a couple of fine saves denied the home side an early lead as first Danny George and then Chris Williams saw their chances well stopped. The visitor’s goal was under siege now, with Mark Storey heading wide and then Ross White seeing his effort go narrowly over. To their credit the visitors obviously came with a defensive plan and stuck firmly to it, parking enough buses to fill the Electric House. Time and again they threw themselves into blocks and frustrated Henley throughout the opening half with a well disciplined and robust approach.
 
After the break Henley were forced into changes with Williams having to go off and being replaced with Smythe. The same pattern of play continued with the game almost entirely played in the Leiston half. Eventually the overwhelming pressure finally told when on 60 minutes a Liam Bevis free kick was tipped onto the bar but Byron Tejano was sharp and quick enough to put away the rebound for the opening goal. The tension was maintained until the 82nd minute when a delightful cross field pass from Clark Bruce found Ross White who accelerated through the Leiston defence, rounded the keeper and just as everybody thought he’d taken the ball too far, slid the ball home from an impossibly narrow angle and in off the inside of the far post to secure the points. 
 
Leiston deserve credit for a disciplined performance and for sticking to their plan throughout the game. For Henley the MOTM was Tejano who was at his mercurial best, not only getting the crucial opener but influential across the pitch creatively and defensively. At the back the Storey Sheppard partnership continues to blossom, they were superb Saturday getting to everything first and stifling and Leiston attack before it even had a chance to develop. In fact it wasn’t until the 90th minute that Leiston had an effort on target with a 40 yard free kick which Holland comfortably collected. As a team we continue to play some lovely football, the quality of which had the Ultras purring with delight in the clubhouse post match.
 
After last week's poor performance the reserves were looking to get back to winning ways at Stowupland Falcons. On a windy and slightly sloping pitch Henley started brightly and a through ball to Laughlin after 15 minutes saw him hammer home into the far corner for 0-1. However Stowupland were working well and putting us under pressure from free kicks and corners. Ironically from one of these corners a clearance found Laughlin again and he ran through and scored from much the same angle as before to make it 0-2. Stowupland maintained their pressure and a well worked goal 5 minutes before half-time was a just reward for their efforts and made it 1-2 at the break.
 
The second half was always going to be about who scored next and while Stowupland maintained the quality of their football Henley, although working hard were lacking in composure and connection and it wasn't long before Stowupland equalised. This sparked Henley into life and a strike from just inside the box from Walden was parried by the keeper only for Mallick to force over the line for 2-3. A frantic last 10 ensued, Henley were working hard to see out the game however Stowupland managed to score with only 3 minutes left and the game ended 3-3.
Not as bad as last week but we could be a lot better and we'll need to be against Haughley next Saturday. On the plus side Seaman completed 90 minutes and Pearson 65 after coming back from a very lengthy injury. MOTM was Tacey who had a terrific game in goal.
 
Next week sees the first in a run of four consecutive away matches for the 1st team with a visit to Grundisburgh KO 2.30.  Meanwhile the ressies host Haughley Utd at the Community centre, KO also at 2.30.
 
In other news the club will be holding an April Fools quiz night on Saturday April 1st, teams of between 4 and 6 are welcome at £2.50 pp.
 
The Hat

February 20, 2017 - A rather truncated set of notes from me this week with only the ressies in action. They visited the school to face Coplestonians A's and came away on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat.

With what was described by manager Mark Dunham as our worst performance of the season there was little positive to take away from the game other than a MOTM performance from the exciting young prospect Jordan Ripper and club stalwart Aaron Seaman completing 70 minutes in his 1st appearance back following injury. Both the Cops goals came early and despite the home side being reduced to ten men in the 1st half when their keeper was dismissed for bringing down Laughlin we rarely created anything or threatened the home goal. In fact Cops played better with ten men than they did with eleven and deserved their victory.

To further compound the misery young Henley keeper Brandon Burton suffered a broken wrist whilst making a brilliant double save in the 75th minute. This lad had been at the club for two seasons now and not only continues to steadily improve, as he has demonstrated in some heroic displays for the 1st team, but is also a real club man. All at the club wish him a speedy recovery.

Next week sees the 1st team welcome Leiston St Margarets FC to the community centre K.O 2.30 whilst the ressies visit Stowupland Falcons FC K.O also 2.30.

In other news the club would like to thank sponsors DQ Services for providing the 1st team's new away kit, with 4 consecutive away games following next week's game it'll get a good airing! So many thanks Dave and Sam.

The Hat 

February 13, 2017 - It was a short trip across town for Henley on Saturday to visit Ransomes Sports FC. Over the last couple of seasons these fixtures have seen more than their fair share of controversial incidents, a theme yet again evident today. Henley were resplendent in our new away kit which had its first outing (Thanks Simon!)
 
Henley had the better of the opening play with only a superb goalkeeping display keeping Ransomes in it, first tipping Chris Williams’ effort onto the post then making a point blank double save to deny Clark Bruce. However Ransomes were a constant threat and within minutes it was Kevin Holland making a fine stop to deny the home side the lead following a goalmouth scramble
 
Controversy reigned mid half when Chris William’s clever, quick free kick was finished by Clark Bruce to put Henley ahead with a fine finish. With both sides back and ready for the restart the goal was disallowed as apparently Ransomes were trying to make a substitution which the referee was unaware of. An unusual decision to say the very least, but mercifully one that didn’t have any effect on the result and hence can be quickly filed away and forgotten. Understandably this frustrated the visitors and emboldened Ransomes into their best period of the match which saw them put the Henley defence under a great deal of pressure. Justice finally prevailed on 42 minutes when Tom Trevivian’s effort from the edge of the box came back off the bar and Chris Williams headed home the rebound from close range for a 0-1 lead.
 
Ransomes started the 2nd half well but couldn’t find a way through Henley’s defence with Arran Sheppard and Mark Storey dominating the air and blocking everything. On 66 minutes the visitors increased their lead, Tom Trevivian did superbly tricking his way through two challenges and running through on goal. He drew the keeper before laying the ball off to Danny George who rifled home for 0-2. Henley had further chances to increase their lead with Clark Bruce hitting the post and Chris Williams also shooting wide. Ransomes kept pushing though and threatened until the final whistle but to no avail as Henley ran out 0-2 winners.
 
Once again this Henley side showed its class and fortitude to persevere and come out on top in an always difficult game. MOTM was Ross White who was simply everywhere at once, tackling and distributing the ball with zero wastage. Tejano and Trevivian were excellent too, classy but determined throughout, almost disdainful of any attempts to disrupt their flow. Yet again out frontline were too hot to handle and if the 1st goal hadn’t have been disallowed all three would have scored. I must add a thank you to Linda Norton who catered for the game and who’s sponge was absolutely perfect (sorry Wendy!)
 
Over now to Mark Dunham for the ressies report.
 
Henley reserves entertained East Bergholt A’s  this week at the community centre on a miserable wintry afternoon and although the pitch was playable, by the end of the game it was clearly showing signs of wear and tear. Quality passing football was always going to be difficult today and so it proved, with both sides struggling on a slippery surface.
 
Overall the match was nothing to write home about in terms of technical excellence  and we ran out 4-1 winners, however  the work rate, determination, character and commitment shown by all the lads this afternoon was something I was incredibly proud to witness. With only 2 subs, one of which couldn’t get there until 15 minutes before the end, one player starting with an injury and 2 more developing them in the second half, Danny Page’s arrival late in the game was very welcome, especially for Westy, who was glad to hobble off to the bench.
 
2 goals from Dan Walden and 1 each from Mezza and Laughs saw us do the double over Bergholt A who persevered to the end, ultimately both sides and the ref were glad to get back in the warm changing rooms. MOTM this week went to Josh Carracio, who despite the rotten weather had a permanent grin on face, back four all stood strong today with Ripper having a good game at left back, away from his usual roll in midfield. All at the club were pleased to see the welcome return of Laughs up front who bagged himself a goal but missed a sitter of a header. Well done to Dan Walden too, he’s now scored 5 in 3 games.
 
No game for the 1st’s next week so all eyes on the ressies trip to Greshams to face Coplestonians A’s K.O 2.30
 
 
The Hat

February 6, 2017 - 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 Henleyplayer 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

 

January 29, 2017 - With the first team not having a game this week, all eyes were on the ressies home fixture as they welcomed Trimley Athletic to the community centre. Many would probably have anticipated that with the 1st team available we would have bolstered the ressies, however the decision was made to give the lads a break with just Jackson appearing to recover match fitness following an injury. A good crowd of 39, including a handful of 1st teamers and a Grundisburgh contingent, watched a pretty comfortable 4-1 victory for the home side.

 

 
The lads started brightly, playing some good football and were rewarded with an early goal from a thumping 23 yard drive from Merry that whistled into the corner. This inspired even more confidence with the midfield always looking to hit the wide men with diagonal balls. One of these occasions produced Henley’s 2nd goal with Walden running onto a through ball outpacing his marker and slotting home at the near post.
 
An almost carbon copy of the same move produced the same result with once again Walden cutting in from the right and finishing well at the near post for a 3-0 half time lead. Indeed, the only slight negative to the first half was a yellow card for Ripper who lived up to his name with a rather robust challenge. With all the Ultras in attendance it produced a comment from our esteemed Chairman that the 6 Nations doesn’t start until next week.
 
With the game won it’s fair to say that the second half failed to live up to the first as Henley took their foot off the pedal and rather coasted through it. They still had the vast majority of the play however, with Dunham and Ward at the back mopping up everything in front of a confident Burton. A slight lapse saw Trimley pull one back to 3-1, well finished albeit with a suspicion of hand ball in the build up. Henley should have had a very obvious penalty when Merry was clumsily brought down 8 yards out and ready to shoot but to much amusement from the sidelines the appeal was waved away. There was still time for another goal though, as substitute Ling flicked home a deft volley for a final score of 4-1.
 
A good win, although we all know the lads are capable of much better, MOTM went to the 2 goal Dan Walden. It was also good to see Cooper back in action following his extended absence.
 
The reserves have another break next week but the 1st team are back in action welcoming Griefy and his East Bergholt side to the community centre KO time back to 2.30.
 
The Hat

January 23, 2017 - It was yet another new ground ticked off for the visiting Henley Ultras with a visit to Stanton FC on a cold, bright Saturday afternoon. We received a very warm welcome with a coffee on arrival and a chat about everything SIL.

 
On the pitch Henley had an early shock when Stanton hit the post with a downward header after 5 minutes with the home side flying out of the blocks. However it was the visitors who took the lead on 14 minutes when Tejano’s low, swerving 25 yard drive deceived the home custodian. Bruce’s trickery saw him skip free down the left but he was cynically scythed down before he could threaten on goal, sadly without a card being produced. Henley doubled their lead as Tejano and White exchanged passes in midfield before finding George out wide right, he drove in a low cross which Williams finished from close range for 0-2. Speedster Williams should’ve added another shortly after when he latched onto Clark Bruce’s driven cross but at full stretch his effort went high.
 
Seven minutes into the 2nd half came the goal of the game, a multitude of close, fast, 1sttime passes between Williams, Bruce, George and Bevis bisected the home defence and saw Williams thread a final ball to release Bruce who slammed home for 0-3. Holland had to make a fine stop shortly after from a close range effort followed by Storey clearing off the line to maintain the Henley lead as the home side sought a route back into the game. Skipp for Stanton was adjudged to have taken an elaborate tumble in the box and was subsequently booked for simulation. There was still time for Bruce to add his 2nd and Henley’s 4th as White found George in space and he picked the perfect pass for Bruce to run onto, round the keeper and finish for 0-4. 
 
Further chances followed with home keeper Cole saving well to deny Bruce a hat trick, Williams rounded Cole but was defeated by the narrow angle and substitute Caraccio showed shades of his form from last season with a flying header just past the post. Possibly his new, flowing locks distracted him? I’ve directed him to seek suitable man bun tying advice from Bruce and White.
 
So all in all a fine performance against a strong and organised Stanton side, with Skipp and Campbell a handful throughout, Campbell’s pace and trickery demonstrating clearly why he attracting so much attention. For Henley, MOTM was the Ultras hero Behnamnia who was excellent throughout and is fast becoming out most consistent player. Tejano was only just behind him in the voting with yet another performance where he covered almost every blade of grass, passed and challenged superbly in addition to scoring the opener. Hollandonce again proved his worth, despite periods of inactivity he remained alert to make an exceptional close range stop when he was called upon. Of course the strikers deserve their share of attention too, once again Bruce’s tricks and Williams’ pace proving too much for our hosts. Williams gets quicker every game, which on Saturday saw the Ultras compose a song in honour of his invisible motorbike! We would like to thank Stanton for their 1st class hospitality with all our lads and Ultras taking full advantage.
 
 
After a ridiculously long winter break the ressies were finally back in action welcoming Bacton Utd 89 ressies in the Goals of Ipswich Cup. The team was much changed with several players moving to try their luck elsewhere and take the chance to play senior football. With one club now fielding 7 ex Henley players in their 1st team squad now affectionately christened Henley Vets. A rusty display in the 1st half saw 3 goals conceded from corners but a far better 2nd half showing saw us pull a goal back with Dan Walden’s 1st goal for the club. Sadly we were unable to overcome the 1st half deficit and Bacton deservedly went through 1-3, we wish them luck in the rest of the competition. Henley MOTM was the evergreen Pagey with a strong performance.
 
No game for the 1st team next week so all eyes will be on the ressies home match against Trimley Red Devils, a decent crowd is expected with the Ultras and hopefully some 1stteam lads supporting.

The Hat

January 16, 2017 - On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon we welcomed Capel Plough for their 1st ever visit to the community centre. With so many games called off it was a pleasure to see our match on and a credit to our hard working groundsman Ivan Page. Happy to see one game off was visiting scribe Bob the Ploughman, meaning he could gleefully collect on his bet with the Earl of Ufford. It was pretty much the only thing that did cheer him as he glumly informed me of the multiple absences from his side.
 
Henley started brightly piling on the early pressure with some neat passing moves, opening the scoring on 13 minutes when Chris Williams raced through from the half way line, bursting through two challenges before coolly finishing off the inside of the post for 1-0. Five minutes later he was through once again but was crudely scythed down by young Tynan, which to the surprise of most watching only earned him a yellow card. He was not to be denied for long though and on 38 minutes he timed his run perfectly, turning on the afterburners to skip through and finish well for 2-0. Despite having little to do during the half home custodian Kev Holland was alert enough to make a fine double save in the 45thminute to maintain Henley’s lead into the break.
 
Capel had a great start to the 2nd period creating some quality chances that were either well saved by Holland or blocked well by his defence as Arran Sheppard and Mark Storey combined time and again. Ten minutes into the half Capel were once again very fortunate to keep all 11 on the pitch as Tom Jackson was caught late with a two footed lunge from Richards, but bewilderingly only a yellow was shown. Capel still posed a threat, despite Henley dominating possession and it wasn’t until the 80th minute that Henley put the game to bed. Sub Liam Bevis swung in a curling free kick from wide left which came off the inside of the post and was headed home by Mark Storey from point blank range for 3-0. With 5 minutes remaining Williams completed his hat trick with an astonishing, surging run through 3 challenges to finally round the keeper and make it 4-0. In the last minute a precise Sam Behnamnia through ball was latched onto by Clark Bruce who delightfully lobbed home for a final score of 5-0.
 
Not our best performance of the season by a long way but a fairly comfortable win nonetheless, MOTM went to hat trick hero Chris Williams who looked like scoring every time he went forward but Kev Holland also deserves a mention for spectacular stops either side of the break. 
 
It was good to see all the Capel lads in the bar post match enjoying the hospitality and we also thank them for their kind comments about our club.
 
This coming Saturday we visit Stanton and their TV star keeper who kept us all amused via social media on Saturday, KO 2.00. The reserves finally have a game too!! Welcoming Bacton Utd ’89 reserves in the Goals of Ipswich Cup KO 1.30.

The Hat

January 8, 2017 - Henley crashed out of the Bob Coleman Cup, losing 4-0 to a resurgent Felixstowe Harpers side Saturday afternoon. After nine consecutive league victories which sees us top of the Senior League it was an oddly subdued Henley side that took the field at Trimley Sports Club. Whilst this game was a home draw the Henley Players pantomime forced us to play this as an away game at a venue where we rarely seem to achieve success.
 
We didn’t rest anybody and there are no excuses, we just didn’t show up on the day and Harpers demonstrated their hunger and desire and beat us fair and square. Two down on 44 minutes the turning point came when Bruce’s penalty was well saved, if we’d have gone in at HT only one down I do believe the result may have turned out differently. However it wasn’t to be and whilst pushing for a route back into the game we got caught out twice on the break with the last goal just before the final whistle an absolute beauty. All credit to the home side they played very well and nearly scored as many goals as they have coaches and managers in their technical area lol! In contrast we were really off the boil today with very few chances created. All at Henley wish Harpers all the best in the next round.
 
I’m confident the management team will treat this as a learning experience and I feel sure we won’t see such a poor performance again anytime soon. Next week we have a home game as we welcome Capel Plough to the community centre for the first time K.O 2.00, I look forward to meeting the Ploughman in person, although he would really be wasting his breath discussing gardening with me. Yet again the ressies continue their winter break.
 
There a still a small number of the naked calendars available for sale at only £10 all proceeds to Testicular Cancer research, please get in touch if you would like one.

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January 3, 2017 - Henley started 2017 with their ninth consecutive victory, this time in a hard fought away fixture at Westerfield Utd. The Henley management team rang the changes resting Storey completely and leaving the influential midfield duo of Bevis and White on the bench with Trevivian and Jackson joining the starting line up. Despite the cold, for the third game running the lads played in front of a crowd in excess of 100 who probably didn’t see either side at their best on the day. However as in the corresponding home fixture Westerfield gave us a really tough game.
 
Henley were straight onto the front foot with Williams and Tejano coming close early on and Bruce having an effort from a narrow angle cleared off the line. However the deadlock wasn’t broken until twenty minutes in when a Behnamnia cross was fired home by Tejano for 0-1. Only seven minutes later Westerfield found an equaliser from the penalty spot, Ellis pressurised Smyth who fell on the ball handling it and Ellis fired home the spot kick just past the outstretched fingers of Holland for 1-1.
 
The hosts were not level for long though, as within three minutes Trevivian picked out a diagonal ball to release Williams down the right. Firing up the afterburners he raced past his marker and drove in a low shot which was well saved by Jacobs, however the rebound went straight back to him and he picked out a perfect cross to the back post where a back pedalling Bruce rose to head home for 1-2. With TWO headed goals for Bruce so far this season!! The club are now desperately seeking a hair products sponsor to repair any potential damage. All together far less concerned by the risk to his coiffure George saw his fine header superbly saved just before the break.
 
The 2nd half was quite a dull affair with neither side creating that many clear chances, although Tejano, Williams and Bruce all came close. The hosts were reduced to ten men when Brkovic saw a 2nd yellow for a spate of repeated minor fouls added to his 1st half one for dissent. Henley brought on Bevis and White which added the spurt of energy needed and on 72 minutes Trevivian was brought down in the home box and who else but Bruce stepped up to smash home the penalty for 1-3. Caraccio made a late appearance off the bench to applause from the Henley faithful, injured in April the return of last season’s Supporter player of the year is like a new signing. Holland showed his class and concentration very late in the game to palm round a fine shot from Richardson to see us safely home with the 3 points.
 
It was all a little bit “after the Lord Mayors show” for Henley which combined with the changes saw us a tad disjointed at times; however we still had enough to see the game out. With such a busy season giving players a rest whenever feasible is a big part of management nowadays and we fortunately had the strength in depth to battle for a victory. Henley MOTM went to Bruce who once again combined clinical finishing with a terrific work rate, defending from the front throughout. In addition the returning Sheppard just oozed class in defence.
 
It was good to catch up with Big Phil and Spreads post match, although they were disappointed with the result I’m confident that they and their side will have enough to pull away from the danger zone before season’s end.
 
Saturday sees us in Bob Coleman Cup action against Felixstowe Harpers K.O 1.30, although a home draw we will be playing the fixture away as the Community Centre has its annual pantomime over this weekend. (Oh yes it does) Yet again the ressies are without a fixture.
 
Finally can I take the opportunity to wish all our players, supporters, officials and sponsors, along with everyone else involved in local football a Happy New Year.
 
The Hat
 

December 29, 2016 - Top of the Senior division at the turn of the year, after defeating previous leaders and last seasons champions Cranes Sports FC. That's a sentence I didn't think I'd be typing any time soon! But after a fantastic team performance at Greshams on Tuesday I'm happy to be tapping those keys.

It really was a lovely, bright day for football and we received a warm welcome at Greshams from the Earl of Ufford, Rads and John Nunn. Pre-match talk was all about who wasn't playing, Cranes missing their wide men Fike and Dowson-Alexander and Henley without Sheppard at the back (although by the number of messages for updates he sent me during the game it felt like he was there anyway lol) Other pre match chats amongst the large contingent of Henley Ultras in a superb crowd of over 200 seemed to centre around the negative effects of imbibing Port the night before a game.

I'll not go into great detail. Suffice to say we flew at Cranes from the off with Bevis pinging in a great free kick which Tejano smuggled in at the back post to give us the lead. We added a 2nd on the break when Seaman cleared a Cranes free-kick from the edge of our box to Bruce just inside our half. His raking cross-field ball found Williams who outpaced his marker to the byline where he drove in a low cross which Bruce smashed home at the back post for 0-2. Cranes kept themselves in the game with a towering header from the always impressive Blades to see the HT score at 1-2.

I'm guessing that there were strong words in the home changing rooms as Cranes came at us in wave after wave of attacks right from the beginning of the 2nd half. However our defence held firm with some outstanding tackles and brave blocks, that defending began at the front with Bruce and Williams chasing down every ball and not giving the home defenders time to play the ball out from the back. When we were breached the woodwork saved us from a long range Blades effort and then the same man was seemingly caught in two minds after he had rounded Holland, by the time he had decided he was swamped by the Henley defence and the chance went begging. 

It wasn't all one way traffic though, with Williams, Bruce and Cole all having efforts saved or going wide. As the tension grew amongst the visiting support (can you wear out a watch by staring at it?) up stepped Bevis with an exquisite chip from the edge of the area to seal the points and make it 1-3 with two minutes to go. What a great game this was, a terrific advert for SIL football and one enjoyed by a large crowd. A game that was aided by a strong performance from Mr Goodman in the middle, keen to see the game progress and unfussy throughout, well done.

I always ask our managers for their MOTM post match but they could only name every player in the squad, as each gave their all for the full game. Holland was superb and unflappable, Behnamnia and Seaman at fullbacks worked their socks off, Storey gave a Captains performance and was the heartbeat of the team with Smythe having a terrific day alongside him at centre half. The little magician Bevis directed the game in midfield with White a dynamo beside him and Tejano winning almost every challenge he made. Up front it was great to see George make his first start following his return from injury and to be such a threat, the pace of Williams was all too much for the home defence and Bruce added work rate to his seemingly inevitable goal threat. From the bench Cole was his usual terror to defences, Trevivian metronomic in possession and Jackson all action as always. All in all 14 MOTM.

The Earl and Rads were as gracious on the day as they were in their subsequent notes, all at Henley thank them for their kind words about our club. As for Henley, well the Ultras are in dreamland as you would expect, but the lads are keeping their feet firmly on the ground. It's only mid season and nothing has been won yet, there's a long, long way to go and we'll take it one step at a time, starting on 2nd January with a visit to Westerfield K.O 2.00.

May I finish by wishing everyone involved in the SIL, players, officials and supporters and very happy new year.

The Hat



On May 4 Henley hosted a cup final at Henley AFC. Over 160 supporters watched Stowupland Falcons Reserves beat Trimley Red Devils reserves 3-1. We are proud to have been chosen by the SIL to host a cup final for 4 years in succession now.

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Henley Athletic FC field two sides in the SIL (Suffolk and Ipswich League)
The 1st team are managed by Sean Brown and Chris Rogers and are in Division 1
The reserve team are managed by Robert Mathers and Mark Dunham and are in Inter B Division
Chairman: Wayne Leggett
Secretary: Simon Butler
Treasurer: David Ling
Committee members: Wendy Quantrill, George Gibson, Tony Stone 
Sponsors: All Manor of Events, DQ Services, Econobuild and Morrison Freight
Fixtures are at the community centre with a 2.30 KO (Cup games and winter 2.00) we have a growing local support and a great atmosphere, please come along and support your local side.
Home fixtures to the end of the season as below (R) designates reserve side, fixtures may be subject to change please check the SIL website if travelling.
Saturday 28th March Henley AFC v Mendlesham FC
Saturday 4th April Henley AFC (R) v Ipswich Exiles FC (R)
Saturday 11th April Henley AFC (R) v Capel Plough FC (R)
Saturday 18th April Henley AFC (R) v Wickham Mkt FC (R)
Saturday 2nd May Henley AFC v Sporting 87 FC