County Council Elections 2021
December 21, 2020
Christmas came early for the large contingent of travelling Henley Ultras as they saw their team come back from 2-0 down at HT to win 2-3 at table topping Halesworth Town.
A nasty, but sadly unpunished. challenge on the opening minutes saw Henley skipper Storey limp off, striker Cowan, returning after injury, coming off the bench and taking his place at centre half. Halesworth were playing some nice football but it was Henley who had the first real chance, Liam Ablitt racing onto Bowman’s through ball, but his shot was well saved on the edge of his box by the onrushing home keeper.
Two neat finishes from Summerfield after good build up play on 28 and 44 minutes saw Halesworth lead 2-0 at the break, with Henley having it all to do.
Within minutes of the restart, George Ablitt raced clear only to be clearly pulled back inside the box, as always Bruce was on hand to despatch the spot kick for 2-1. Halesworth applied the pressure and during an amazing sequence of play Tejano, Cowan and Elliston all cleared off their goal line with the space of 20 seconds, this was followed by a fine tip over from a fierce drive by Holland.
With fifteen minutes to go, Tejano hooked a ball forward, Watling held it up well and played in George Ablitt, he danced through the home defence and fired home the equaliser off the base of the far post for 2-2. Five minutes later Halesworth were reduced to 10 as a frustrated Palmer picked up 2 yellows in quick succession.
Henley pushed hard to make the most of the numerical advantage and were finally rewarded when Storey headed Liam Ablitt’s corner back across goal and Watling looped his header over the despairing home keeper for 2-3, with only five minutes remaining.
Despite yet again conceding a lead, the quality of our play at times was excellent, great to see Cowan back, albeit it in an unfamiliar position, but as always, he excelled. George Ablitt was verging on unplayable at times and caused the Halesworth defence problems throughout, thoroughly deserving of his MOTM award. Bruce was closely and rather physically man marked for the entire game, but still forced saves and added to his goal tally. All in all, a demonstration of the talent, character and spirit these lads possess.
Monday 28th sees the 1st team welcome Leiston St Margarets to the Community Centre, the Ressies travel to Haughley Utd at the same time, both K.O at 13.45. The Ladies and Vets both have to wait for the new year for their next fixture.
On behalf of the club, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our players, managers, coaches, volunteers, supporters and sponsors, along with the wider Suffolk non-league community a very Merry Christmas. It’s been a challenging year for all of us and football has provided us all with some much-needed relief and distraction, it appears we may have a few months of these difficult times remaining and none of us can predict how the fluid situation will affect football. But for now, we take it one game at a time, enjoy watching our teams play and the camaraderie on the touchline. Uppa Hens!
December 14, 2020
Henley’s 1st game back after lockdown 2, falling trees and sodden pitches, saw them come from 0-2 down after 50 minutes to win 4-2 against a very competitive and committed Bourne Vale Utd.
Henley welcomed back centre halves Storey and Elliston back from long-term injury, also Cowan was fit enough to take a seat on the bench, we also welcomed new signing George Bowman who also started on the bench.
Vale keeper Ward made a couple of good saves at his near post from George Ablitt and Tejano to prevent Henley taking an early lead. Watling contrived to put a close-range effort wide minutes before seeing his vicious volley bravely blocked by Merrick, Bruce saw one free kick from the edge of the area saved and another cannon back off the bar. At the other end Vale forced a series of corners, but failed to trouble Holland in the Henley goal. However, it was Vale who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when Mallardo spun and fired home a headed knock down from a free kick to give Vale a 0-1 lead after 40 minutes which they took into HT.
Henley pushed hard to get back in the game after the break, but were caught out early on. Possession given away in the Vale half saw a long ball put their striker through on goal, where a clumsy challenge saw a clear penalty given away, which Mallardo duly despatched for 0-2. This saw Vale enjoy their best spell of the game as full of confidence, they piled on the pressure. This period was rather short lived as within 5 minutes Henley pulled a goal back, Storey bundling home a Bruce corner for 1-2.
A triple set of attacking substitutions saw Bull, Bowman and Liam Ablitt come on to make an immediate impact. A cross from Ablitt bisected the Vale defence and keeper, neither of which saw Bull ghost in from the angle, arriving microseconds before Ward and about to intercept the ball, Bull was fouled by the Vale keeper and Mr Kitson pointed to the spot. Protests from a frustrated Vale defence saw the referee consult his assistant who agreed with the decision. Unusually a groundhopper was in attendance who caught the incident on video, when published on social media that evening it drew differing opinions. Obviously, all connected to Vale, plus the usual suspects, thought it was soft LOL, personally? If it was your side attacking, you’d want it given, if you were defending, you’d think it was soft. Irrespective of opinion, Bruce slammed in the subsequent penalty to equalise.
A neat combination of passes cut through Vale and saw Ablitt cleverly play in Bruce, who fired in a low left foot shot to make it 3-2. Minutes later Vale were finished off with another nice passing move which culminated with the impressive Bowman completing a stylish debut with a 20-yard drive for 4-2. Vale keeper Ward still had time to make two fine stops, first getting fingertips to a long-range effort from Bruce, before stretching to get a hand to an impudent lob from Ablitt.
All in all a good comeback performance from Henley, with some really lovely stuff played, especially in the last 30 minutes. It really demonstrated the importance of having a bench strong enough to change games, the 3 subs all played their part in that. It was George Bowman who gained the majority of the Ultra’s MOTM vote, he oozed quality with every touch and slotted straight into the team on his debut. Bruce’s goalscoring heroics continue unabated, his 2 from Saturday taking him to a goal a game average during his time at Henley with 166 goals in 166 games.
Bourne Vale will give every team they face a tough game this season, they’re strong, organised and committed and move the ball well. They’re especially well organised in defence, Cooper, Merrick and Francis the stand outs.
Sadly no match report from the ressies game at Cops Saturday, I’ll have to direct you to my pal Scoop’s report on the Cops website, suffice to say that league leaders Cops ran out deserved 6-0 victors, despite a hard working show from the Henley lads.
Next Saturday we have a trip up to table topping Halesworth Town K.O 13.45, we’ll be looking for a different outcome to earlier in the season and should have our full team available this time, we’re looking forward to an exciting encounter. The Ressies and the Vets have a free week, Sunday sees our Ladies welcome Brightlingsea Regent to the Community Centre K.O 14.00.
December 4, 2020
Just when we were all delirious at the return of football, the weather played its part and waterlogged pitches saw the postponement of the 1st team’s home game against Trimley Red Devils and the Ressies away fixture at AFC Kesgrave.
A dry 24 hrs saw the Vets eagerly return to action after weeks of lockdown, welcoming Premier Division opposition Romeo Done in the second round of the League Cup after we beat their fellow Premier side Cops in the previous round. With manager Brown away, it again fell to Assistant Manager Lee Clements to take the reins as he did previously in the last fixture, the league win against Chantry Phoenix.
Henley dominated possession for most parts with the visitors having the odd break forward which was dealt with comfortably by the backline, superbly marshalled by skipper Gibbs, who was given MOTM by our opponents. Henley went in 1-0 up at the break after Roper put us ahead, with Romeo Done equalising with a fine finish after half time while enjoying their best spell of the game. Home keeper Turner had to pull off a couple of good saves as the visitors pushed on, but it was Henley who settled back into the game and increased their lead to 3-1 with Bucy on target and an own goal.
So, with no further games scheduled until January this was a good end to a fantastic start to the season, which sees us still in both cups and sitting top of Division Four South with 4 wins from 4. Although we have plenty still to do this gives us a good foundation to kick on in 2021 where we hope for a better year all round.
After their lockdown fitness and fundraising efforts, the Ladies were keen to get back to league action this Sunday as they welcomed Holland Ladies to the Community Centre. However, the Ladies suffered heartbreak as a last kick of the game goal from Holland saw them lose 2-3. A fantastic performance from the whole team and clearly the fitness during lockdown had paid off as everyone battled hard during the game. They were extremely unfortunate for the game to not end in a draw or win, after taking the lead twice in the game. Both Henley goals from Moore.
As a club we would like to commend the phenomenal efforts of our ladies during lockdown, completing 517 km and raising £1040 for Ella’s Fight charity. They have been a credit to the club ad to football as a whole and are fully deserving of all the praise they’ve received.
As Saturday’s game was postponed, we’ve arranged a friendly away at Woodbridge Town on Wednesday evening with a 7.30 p.m K.O. With teams choosing to take the rest of the year off, the fixtures secretary has been busy rearranging games and has managed to sort us a home game against Bourne Vale Utd this coming Saturday. At the same time our Ressies will travel to Coplestonians, both games K.O at 1.45 p.m. Sunday the ladies visit AFC Sudbury Reserves K.O 2.00 p.m
November 2, 2020
For the fourth season running, Henley started their Suffolk FA Senior Cup run with a game against higher league opposition, this time a home tie versus Thurlow Nunn League, Cornard Utd. Saturday saw torrential rain and high winds, weather which did little to enhance attendance, however there was still a crowd of 58 to enjoy a full blooded encounter,
There was little goalmouth action in the 1st half as both sides struggled to cope with the appalling conditions, the home side were restricted to a fierce shot from a narrow angle by Watling. The main talking point of the half was a truly remarkable, last ditch, joint tackle from Storey and Shore on a Cornard striker straight through on goal. The sound of impact reverberated around the ground as the two Henley defenders crashed into the challenge from either side. Sadly, this saw captain Storey taken to hospital with a suspected rib and chest injury which thankfully later transpired to be just bruising. Minimal opportunities saw the game remain scoreless at the break.
The game burst into life 10 minutes into the 2nd half, Henley awarded a free kick when Cowan was cynically brought down whilst breaking through. Before play could be restarted somehow Smythe saw red for a moment of madness, Cornard defender Roy also saw red for raising his hands in the subsequent melee and Cowan found himself sin binned.
The visitors took advantage of their 10 v 9 numerical advantage and finished off their best move of the game with a fine cross shot from Graham which eluded Holland giving them a 0-1 lead. Just as Cowan returned to the pitch a Cornard defender blocked Bruce’s cross with his hand and Bruce smashed home the penalty for 1-1, after the goal the defender continued his protests and saw himself sinbinned, handing the 10 v 9 advantage to Henley. Five minutes later it was 2-1 George Ablitt brought down by the Cornard keeper and once again Bruce gave him no chance with the subsequent penalty. MOTM Bruce completed his hat trick with a precise header into the bottom corner (yes, you read it right, a header) from a Shore cross to make the final score 3-1.
An all action match, packed with incident, which gave the referee plenty of decisions to make and to be fair he got the big ones right. Henley showed lots of character and remarkable levels of team spirit to pull off a memorable victory against a tough and aggressively competitive Cornard side. Whilst hat trick hero Bruce got the MOTM award and took his Henley goal tally to 164 in 165 games, Tejano and Caraccio both had epic games and were dominant on midfield, Cowan worked his socks off, even ending the match at centre half! Whilst the double Ablitt substitution, once again proved its worth.
The Ressies made the trip to Bacton expecting a tough game as our opponents are always difficult to beat. With a number of players injured or working, the squad was lacking in numbers, but not in quality. We started the game brightly, playing some neat football but unfortunately, we couldn’t get the vital first goal. It was Bacton who managed to break the deadlock, when their striker was allowed too much freedom on the edge of the box and steered a low shot past Burton.
The half-time message was to carry on playing the way we had been and the goals would come if we could be clinical in front of goal. Unfortunately, the equaliser eluded us and it was our opponents who caught us on the break and scored their second. We were two goals down, which seemed harsh and hard to take, but the scoreboard was not troubled any further, Final score 2-0 to Bacton.
The Vets welcomed second in the table Chantry Phoenix to the Community Centre looking to keep their 100% record intact. The day didn’t start well with four players calling off in the morning due to illness and injury along with regular keeper Turner being away, but the strength in depth and great attitude meant we went into the game with a strong squad.
It was an expectedly hard-fought encounter with the first half ending 0-0, but stand in manager Clements gave the right instructions during the interval as Henley soon took the lead through a typical strikers poacher finish from late call up striker Bucy. We managed to see the game out to win 1-0 and take all three points with stand in keeper Studd pulling off some important saves to keep his second clean sheet of the season. Leaving the side going into the lockdown top of the table.
None of us yet know what effect the new lockdown will have on our football, but all indicators suggest we’ll be having a break of at least 4 weeks. Please keep safe and we’ll see you all again as soon as we are able.
October 26, 2020
With the SIL fixture computer not providing the 1st team with a match, all eyes were on the ressies who travelled to Haverhill Rovers Reserves in the Suffolk FA Senior Reserve Cup. and were 4-2 down at half time. A crazy half saw them 4-2 down at the break, Henley dominated possession and looked hugely dangerous every time they pressed forward, Leggett could have scored four times from right midfield but was denied by the impressive young shot stopping home keeper.
At 2 - 0 down Henley were awarded a penalty when Hammond’s shot was handled by a defender, George Ablitt saw the resulting penalty superbly saved by the keeper. The keeper was however finally beaten when Leggett flicked it around the corner to George, who volleyed home from the edge of the box. Every time Henley scored to reduce the deficit, they allowed the home side an opportunity to extend their lead. At 4 - 1 and on the stroke of half time Liam Ablitt calmly found the bottom corner to again reduce the deficit, a huge reward for a fine attacking half. All that was needed was to sort out the side defensively.
Jordy had been moved to a central defensive position just before half time and this seemed to stem Haverhill’s attacking potency. The next goal in this game was always going to be vital. That goal came immediately, one of many raking passes from Jordy finding Liam to score his second of the game, 4 - 3.
The goal of the match was Henley’s equaliser, a fine solo run from Hammond and a long-range strike beating the keeper. It was now all Henley, George was then bundled over in the box and Liam was handed the ball. He too saw his penalty saved but was able to score from the rebound, putting Henley in front for the first time in the tie.
The drama was still not over, George was sin binned for dissent, meaning Henley had to play with 10 men, Liam was then sin binned 5 minutes later, meaning Henley were now down to nine. Even during this madness of 9 players, Connor was unable to find a defining touch to a cross from Leggett. George then returned to accept a wonderful pass from Jordy to lob the advancing keeper and to wrap up the tie with a memorable 4-6 victory.
This week the ladies travelled to unbeaten, table toppers Woodbridge. Suffering defeat in their last game Henley were keen to get back to winning ways. We started well, with the majority of play in the Woodbridge half and saw several chances from Moore, Bevan and Curran. Henley were pressing hard but Woodbridge were awarded a corner which, with the help of the wind, flew straight in to the back post top corner. Woodbridge then increased their lead to 2 with a well taken strike from 30 yards which fired over the Henley keeper, Choruzy. Henley knew that they needed to get back in to the game and it was Moore who beat the Woodbridge defence and hit home with the outside of her boot for 1-2.
Both teams came out strong in the second half and Henley quickly levelled to 2-2, Gilson picking her spot when through one-on-one with the Woodbridge keeper. Both teams stepped up their game further desperate to get the lead, with it becoming a very competitive match. Both teams were reduced to 10 when a Woodbridge player kicked out at French, once the ball had been played away, which in turn saw a confrontation between the teams and both players involved in the initial incident shown a red card. Henley continued to press and were awarded a free kick on the byline, Gilson stepped up to take and fired home into the top corner, over the Woodbridge defence and keeper from fully 30 yards out for 2-3. Henley weren’t done and fought till the end with Moore shooting across goal which was fumbled by the Woodbridge keeper to the feet of Frost who fired home for 2-4.
An extremely well deserved win for the Ladies and again goes to show what we are capable of with a fantastic team performance. Thank you also to the support were are receiving home and away, it is growing each week and it is really appreciated by the Ladies and adds a great atmosphere to the game. Also, thank you to Chairman Wayne for coming to support and kindly buying the team drinks afterwards and joining in the celebration of the win.
This coming Saturday sees a huge game at the Community Centre as the 1st team welcome Thurlow Nunn side Cornard Utd in the Suffolk FA Senior cup, at the same time the Ressies visit Bacton Utd 89, both KO at 14.30. Sunday sees Chantry Phoenix visit the Community Centre to face our Vets in a 14.00 KO, the ladies have a free week.
October 19, 2020
An odd Saturday for Henley, the 1st team’s home game against Bourne Vale was postponed due to Covid19 concerns after a member of the visitor’s squad tested positive, all at Henley wish him a full and prompt recovery. The ressies cup game at Haverhill Rovers was also postponed, this time as a result of a misunderstanding regarding their pitch availability, they did end up playing a hastily arranged friendly, away at Thurston with a scratch squad and Ultra/Groundsman Joel between the sticks. The home side coming out on top, we thank them for the game and wish them luck for the season.
So all eyes turned to the Sunday games as the Vets returned to league action against Kesgrave Kestrels at Kesgrave Community Centre.
The game started as it would continue throughout with Henley dominating possession and playing some really good football. George opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a delightful chip over the advanced home keeper. Roper made it 2-0 with a smart finish after a good team move. Mallick made it 3-0 on 35 minutes with his second touch after coming off the bench heading home a left-wing cross.
The message at half time was to try and press home the advantage and be clinical and the lads certainly did that. Henley simply overwhelmed Kesgrave with their passing and movement off the hall which saw a further six goals, all very similar with close range finishes after good team play.
Mallick scored 4 in the second half to take his tally to 5 on the day, with Gibbs and Ablett also on the scoresheet. A resounding & fully deserved victory sees us top the table with our next game at home to second placed Chantry Phoenix in two weeks’ time.
The ladies suffered another defeat on Sunday, against Brett Vale, the first time the teams have met in the league since joining last year. Henley conceded two quick goals in the opening ten minutes of the game but managed to get one back when Gilson struck from inside the box through the Brett Vale defence and past the keeper. Brett Vale managed to increase their lead to 1-4 by half time and Henley were unlucky not to get at least a couple back with Moore through on goal one-on-one with the keeper a couple of times but denied and Curran, Gilson and Frost narrowly hiding wide.
The second half saw only one more goal which was unfortunately in Brett Vale's favour with the game finishing 1-5. Not the result the ladies had wanted, and had the set pieces not been awarded to Brett Vale the game could have gone either way. However, the ladies as always walk away with their heads held high in good spirits and plan for our next game against Woodbridge.
This coming Wednesday sees the 2019/20 1st team take on 2019/20 Champions Elect, Cranes FC in last season’s Morrison Freight League Cup Final, the match is being played at Felixstowe and Walton Utd, it’s pay at the gate.
No game for the 1st team yet again next Saturday, The Ressies have their rearranged game at Haverhill Rovers which kicks off early at 13.00, the lads would really appreciate the support, so please get along to cheer them on. Sunday the ladies have a touch challenge as they travel to table topping Woodbridge Town.
October 12, 2020
1st team manager Liam Bevis and his wife Kara were blessed with the arrival of a daughter Esmea in the early hours of Friday morning, all at the club send them all our best wishes.
Consequently, Lee Steward stepped in to assist Chris Rogers in managing the side on Saturday, we also welcomed the return of our championship winning goalkeeper Kev Holland who re-signed this week and went straight into the starting 11, this week also saw us sign Ben Mayhew.
Despite a positive start from the Henley, who looked far more like their former selves, it was Trimley who took the lead on 30 mins, Breadman looping home a header past Holland. Straight afterwards Bruce raced onto a loose ball, only to see the Trimley keeper handle the ball outside the area to deny him, with only a yellow issued. On 35 mins Trimley made it 2-0, Tejano giving away a clear penalty and despite Holland getting a strong hand to it, Chidlow’s spot kick found the net. Again the home keeper benefited from some lenient officiating as he clambered straight over the top of Watling to get to the ball, leaving the Henley striker on the floor in the box. On 40 minutes Henley were temporarily reduced to 10 as a frustrated Watling was sinbinned for appealing a decision after being pushed over. Despite the numerical disadvantage it was Henley who looked the stronger, Tejano heading home Shore’s fine cross from the left for 2-1, before Bull, battered his way through two defenders to find Cowan, he picked out Bruce who fired home from 8 yards to equalise just before HT.
15 minutes into the 2nd half Henley took the lead, with the most un-Henley goal imaginable! Holland picking out Bruce with an accurate dropkick, he beat his fullback, cut inside and sat the keeper down before finishing for 2-3. Watling’s fierce drive was denied by a great save and Tejano rattled the bar from the resulting corner as Henley dominated. A “Double Ablitt” substitution, bringing on brothers George and Liam simultaneously, finished Trimley off. First a phenomenal volleyed 50-yard diagonal pass from Liam, which was the talk of the Ultras and the players post-match, found Bruce, his shot was saved but as George raced onto the rebound, he was brought down and Bruce fired home the penalty for 2-4. With 5 minutes remaining George’s new luminous pink boots saw him felled yet again in the box and Bruce slammed home the spot kick for his fourth and a final score of 2-5.
A vastly improved performance from last week, Henley showed loads of grit, determination and played some quality football to overcome a fine Trimley side. Bruce was well deserving of his MOTM award from the Ultras, scoring 4 goals at any level is outstanding, but it was his leadership that shone on the day, although it must be said Carracio ran him close in the voting, his typical, all action performance saw him snuff out anything Trimley tried through the middle. Having Holland back gave his defence huge confidence, Cowan also ranked highly in the vote and had a fine game. A mention too for the Ablitt brothers, their skill, trickery and pace proved impossible for Trimley to handle when they came on.
As for Trimley, they play some stylish and quality football and have some very talented young players, Chidlow and Driver impress, but for me it’s Osbourne’s mix of skill and tenacity that see him as the pick of the crop. They will feel they should have held on for the win, but it seemed the shock of conceding two goals in 5 minutes, especially when they had a man advantage, played on their minds and saw them lose their focus.
The Ressies were looking to build on last week’s win at East Bergholt in the home game against Ransomes. The game was fairly even early on, but we took the lead when Harrington latched onto a long pass and slotted the ball past their keeper. Unfortunately, our lead didn’t last long. Ransomes scored their equaliser direct from a corner and then managed two further goals before half-time to make the score 1-3.
The half-time team talk was what you might call fairly direct, and this seemed to spur the team on to a much-improved performance at the start of the second half. However, we couldn’t manage to score a second, but Ransomes added to their tally with a couple of breakaway goals to make the final score 1-5. A harsh lesson for the lads, but one which we will have learned from.
Sunday saw the Vets entertain higher league opposition Somersham in the first round of the County Cup at the Community Centre and progressed through to the next round after a deserved 3-0 win.
Having a full squad to choose from, we were able to name a strong side with a quality bench and looked the better side throughout. The first half ended 0-0 with a familiar sight of us not taking our chances however the message was to keep on playing our football and eventually we would score. This proved accurate with Danny George scoring from the penalty spot within 5 mins after Roper was brought down by the Somersham keeper.
It was 2-0 midway through the half with George coolly slotting last the keeper after going clean through. The game was soon out of reach with Roper adding the third. Four wins out of four and into the next round of both cups, a great start to the season for the Vets.
The ladies visited Needham Market reserves on Sunday and dug deep this to pull off a fantastic team performance resulting in their first league win of the season. With player unavailability the team had to adapt to playing out of position quickly. A Gilson strike in the 13th minute from 30 yards found the back of the net passing through the Needham defence and past the keeper. Henley held on to their lead until half time with chances from both sides.
Both teams came out strong in the second half with Henley pressing hard. Needham equalised in the 72nd minute after finding their way in behind the Henley defence for 1-1. Henley were determined to claw back and Moore hit home in the 80th for 1-2. A Needham corner was well headed home immediately after for 2-2. The ladies dug deep not wanting to concede again or for the match to end in a draw and a ball through from Long to Moore in the 90th minute was fired home for a 2-3. A fantastic performance from each and every Henley player that they should all be proud of.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team welcome Bourne Vale Utd to the Community Centre, the Ressies face the long trip to Haverhill Rovers in the Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup both K.O 2.30. Sunday, the Vets visit Kesgrave Kestrels, K.O 2.30 and the Ladies are at home to Brett Vale K.O 2.00.
October 5, 2020
A crowd of 71 watched the poorest Henley performance of the last five years which saw them tumble to a 0-4 home defeat against newly promoted side, the impressive Halesworth Town.
From the 1st whistle Henley seemed confused and in some disarray at the back and gifted Halesworth an early lead leaving Whiteman totally unmarked from a corner to power home a downward header from 6 yards out for 0-1. A misplaced pass when playing out from the back saw Halesworth deservedly take a 0-2 lead when presented with the ball just outside the Henley box, Payne making no mistake with an easy finish.
Henley seemed unable to either get the ball forward or to keep possession and in almost a carbon copy of their first goal, Moore found himself unmarked at a corner and headed in for 0-3. Further errors saw the ball dished up on a plate for Payne, who again gratefully accepted and helped himself to a 4th goal for Halesworth.
The large contingent of supporters from Halesworth were understandably buoyant at the break, whilst the Henley Ultras were a little bewildered at the performance they’d witnessed. Thankfully the management rang the changes during half time, changing both personnel and shape and a more recognisable Henley came out for the 2nd half. But despite having much more possession, desire and a higher workrate couldn’t break down the well drilled Halesworth defence to find either a route back into the game or even a consolation goal, Storey coming the closest hitting the bar late on with a header.
Despite our poor performance, Halesworth deserve all due credit and fully deserved their victory, busy, compact and well organised, they work for each other all over the pitch and give their all for their team, they’ll cause many an established side plenty of problems this season. Good to see another club with a large, fun and vocal group of travelling supporters too, many thanks to them for their willing compliance in our Covid19 procedures too.
Plenty of lessons to learn for Henley, who had a nightmare of a day, but all at the club have faith in our management team to solve the issue and see us come out next week showing the quality, teamwork and workrate we are renowned for.
The Ressies travelled to East Bergholt looking to bounce back after last week’s home defeat to Cops.
Preparations for the match were dealt a blow on Friday, when our regular goalkeeper had to be drafted into the first team. This meant that we would have to use an outfield player between the sticks. We didn’t have to worry though because Buggy volunteered and put in a fine performance. He deservedly won the man of the match award.
We started the game brightly and had the majority of possession. Our midfield trio of Gayfer, Mulligan and Ling were dominating the centre of the park and midway through the first half Ling won the ball and slipped it to Gayfer. He sprayed a lovely ball over the top, Leggett managed to latch onto it, he lobbed the keeper and the ball was soon in the back of the net! 1-0 to Henley. We continued to play well, but the all-important second goal eluded us and the score at half-time remained at 1-0.
Bergholt started the second half brightly and piled on the pressure. Our defence stood firm, with Ripper in particular putting his body on the line with some heroic last-ditch tackles. We were still creating chances but couldn’t put them away, so managers Muckle and Ling were keeping their fingers crossed that we could hang onto to a 1-0 win. However, with only a couple of minutes remaining the opposition got a free kick in our final third. The resulting cross was headed in and we all thought we would have to go home with only a point! Rainey had other ideas though, he picked the ball up 30 yards from the Bergholt goal, slipped past a defender and struck a beautiful drive into the top corner making it 2-1 to Henley with virtually the last kick of the game!
A fine performance from the lads, we will go into next week’s game full of confidence.
Next week the 1st team’s season continues Saturday with a trip to Trimley Red Devils, at the same time the Ressies welcome Ransomes Sports to the Community Centre, both K.O 2.30. Sunday sees our Ladies play host to Needham Market Reserves K.O 2.00.
September 28, 2020
The high winds and rain of Friday brought the unfortunate news on Friday evening, that a tree had been brought down onto one of the goals at Haughley Utd, hence causing the postponement of the first team’s trip there on Saturday. Whilst it’s always disappointing to see a fixture postponed, we must be grateful that nobody was injured and send all our best wishes to Haughley in hoping they can arrange an early repair or replacement.
Thus all eyes were on the ressies Saturday afternoon and although several 1st teamers were keen to turn out, due to the unavoidably late notice it was decided to stick with the originally selected reserve squad and not load up with 1st teamers for the tricky fixture against Cops.
Despite the wind and rain, both sides played some neat passing football, with Cops having the better of the opening chances, this pressure was rewarded when they took the lead after 13 minutes, Calver sadly turning a cross into his own net for 0-1. It was 0-2 on 30 minutes, albeit controversially, what looked a blatant handball missed in the build up, despite a neat finish from Stevens. As the rain worsened so did the scoreline J. King hitting home a terrific volley from the edge of the box for 0-3.
Henley kept playing the right way though and found a route back in when Mallick’s header was deflected in for 1-3, only a fine save from Ellis in the Cops goal stopped Henley finding their way back into the game and the score remained at 1-3 at HT
The 2nd half was all Cops with some tidy finishing from Miller and a brace from D. King making the final score a slightly flattering 1-6, the experience of the Cops side exposing the naivety of the Henley youngsters at times. Despite the scoreline this new, young Henley side kept playing their game and didn’t give up at all, once again plaudits from the sidelines for the two Keirons Leggett and Rainey, who showed a fine combination of skill and attitude.
The Vets returned to league action against an experienced and committed Ipswich Park at the Community Centre, having to use the full extent of their squad with a number unavailable. The first half began at a frenetic pace and after a while Henley began to dominate but were unable to convert the few chances that fell their way.
The second half began in much the same manner, Mallick putting Henley ahead with a good far post header. We then looked to be in full control but somehow after a crazy 10 minute spell, we found ourselves 2-1 down after some sloppy play with 15 minutes left on the clock. However, full credit to the lads, they rallied and equalised with an excellent 25-yard drive into the top corner from Roper after a neat lay off from debutant Danny George. We then took the lead after George raced onto a through ball over the top and with a little swivel of the hips, he left the keeper floundering on the ground to glide past and put into the empty net to make it 3-2. We then rounded things off with Ablett getting the goal he deserved after a great display, finishing off a good team move to win 4-2. So two wins out of two in the league and through to the next round of the cup gives us a very pleasing start to the season with our more “youthful” looking squad.
Another disappointing result for the ladies on Sunday, against league newcomers Stowupland Falcons Under 18s, resulting in a 2-5 loss. After a promising start with some great passages of play and a goal from Tucker, Henley dropped their heads after conceding a penalty. Similarly, in the second half, a bright start resulted in Steward getting Henley's only other goal. Henley had plenty of chances in the second half with Curran, Frost, Gilson and Moore all narrowly firing wide of the goal or having shots saved. Not the start to the league the Ladies had wanted after a promising preseason and FA cup performance however we look forward to our next fixture.
Next Saturday sees recently promoted Halesworth as the visitors to the Community Centre, meanwhile the Ressies make the short trip to east Bergholt, both K.O at 2.30, neither the Vets or Ladies have a fixture.
September 21, 2020
It was a rather different looking Henley Community Centre that was host to the 1st team’s inaugural home league fixture, as we welcomed Benhall St Mary. Resplendent with our custom made hand sanitiser stations along the side of the pitch, courtesy of sponsor TMP Carpentry Ltd and our designated areas for groups of 6 spectators, the centre did their bit too, with a new one way system through the bar and screens and sanitiser to protect all.
Bevis and Rogers had rung the changes, giving some who started in Wednesday’s 19/20 Semi-final a rest and starting some who were either ineligible or on the bench midweek. Despite a promising opening few minutes, Henley looked jaded and well off the pace, appearing to be carrying a hangover from Wednesday’s narrow Semi-final defeat. A fine finish, gave Benhall the lead on 25 minutes a fierce drive from a narrow angle by Mower following a neat move down the right. Henley were forced into a change of keeper shortly after with Beal sustaining a muscle injury replace with Burton off the bench. A soft free kick midhalf, taken quickly, saw Trotter make it 0-2 only minutes later. Again injury forced change for Henley, Shore suffering with a hamstring, saw Caraccio join the play. On 40 minutes Liam Ablitt was brought down just outside the area, Bruce firing the subsequent free kick into the top corner from 20 yards to make it 1-2 at HT and to bring Henley back into the game.
Again Henley started brightly but a lapse of concentration saw the ball given away and Winter smash home to put the visitors 1-3 ahead. Within 2 minutes Henley were back in it, Bruce fouled on the edge of the box and once again picking his spot with the freekick for 2-3. With 20 minutes remaining the tricky Liam Ablitt was felled in the box, Bruce completing his hat trick, hitting an unstoppable penalty for the equaliser at 3-3.
Benhall had been the architects of their own destruction, giving away so many fouls in dangerous areas, Henley were in the ascendancy now and piled forward looking for the winner, the assistant flagged for a penalty when George Ablitt was pushed over from behind, but the referee overruled him for an infringement earlier in play. Salvation finally came in the 89th minute, Bull cutting in from wide left, passing 4 defenders and curling a 25-yard shot in off the foot of the post for a memorable 4-3 victory, sparking wild, but obviously socially distanced, celebrations amongst the Ultras.
An odd game, with Henley far from their best and Benhall playing some neat, passing football. The visitors will be frustrated that they left pointless, but only have themselves to blame with the freekicks and the penalty which resulted in the goals all being utterly clear cut, indeed had the referee given the other penalty, they could easily have found themselves reduced to 10 men. Having said that, Benhall have clearly made some good signings and look much improved from last season.
As for Henley, as I’ve stated earlier, we were not even close to being on our game, error strewn and lacking concentration and focus. However, to win a game like this, coming back from 1-3 down to triumph 4-3 says a lot about this team. They dug in, fought and didn’t give up for a second, a true demonstration of character, which I’m sure will stand us in good stead later in the season. Credit too, to the Ultras and supporters who got behind the lads and drove them on throughout the 90 minutes, clubs need strength off the pitch too and the lads love it. MOTM went to hat trick hero Clark Bruce, but a special mention goes to Louis Elliston who had a fine home debut, also to Brandon Burton who had to step in when keeper Beal got injured.
This coming Saturday the first team visit Haughley Utd whilst the Ressies entertain Coplestonians, both K.O 2.30, Sunday the Vets welcome Ipswich Park K.O 2.30, whilst the Ladies visit Stowupland Falcons Girls U18’s K.O 2.00.
September 17, 2020
Despite a valiant effort, Henley bowed out of last season’s Suffolk Senior Cup in a hard-fought semi-final against Thurlow Nunn opponents Ipswich Wanderers, a classic “game of two halves” with Henley succumbing to a late goal from ex player Field to lose 1-2 at Whitton Utd’s ground.
The first half saw Wanderers start well, but Henley took control after a few minutes to dominate the opening period. Bruce saw two efforts from outside the area go over the bar before Henley took a deserved lead on 22 minutes. Tejano winning possession and finding Bruce, wide on the right, he beat his marker and fired in a low driven cost, met by Cowan at full pace and fired home from 8 yards. Minutes later Bruce clipped the top of the bar and Wanderers’ keeper Brand had to dive low to his left to turn Bull’s effort round the post.
At the other end, Wanderers had their only real chances of the half, Barwick glancing a header wide and then Field saw his shot saved by Jones’ legs. Henley were soon back on the attack, Brand blocking Ablitt’s strike before stretching to tip Bruce’s top corner bound free kick to safety, Wanderers failed to clear the corner and Tejano flashed a shot inches wide from a narrow angle, the final action of the half saw Bull’s long range effort curl just over to leave Henley with a 1-0 advantage at HT.
Wanderers were straight back in the game only 2 minutes after the break, Barber getting on the end of a fine Severy free kick to equalise from close range for 1-1. Cowan’s shot from wide left flashed just wide for Henley’s only real effort of the 2nd half with Wanderers now firmly in ascendancy, Field, Cheetham and Mrozek coming close. The deadlock was finally broken when Field headed home a Mrozek cross for the winner in the 81st minute
A terrific first half effort from Henley with Sheppard coming away with the MOTM vote, but Wanderer’s second half domination saw them deservedly through to the final, all at Henley wish them luck for the forthcoming season.
September 7, 2020
Football has finally returned, with Henley having the honour of kicking off the SIL season, visiting Coplestonians at Humberdoucy Lane under the Friday night lights. A socially distanced crowd of 250 enjoyed a competitive game and some quality football.
Henley included 5 new signings in their squad, George Ablitt, James Watling and Louis Elliston starting, with Jordi Dye and Liam Ablitt joining from the bench.
Cops had the better of the opening 25 minutes, Henley having to rely on an outstanding display from keeper Beal to keep them in the game, however despite their dominance the home side failed to take advantage. A change of shape saw Henley find their rhythm and they took the lead after 37 minutes, the impressive youngster George Ablitt, firing in a low shot from the byline, which despite a valiant attempt to block on the line, hit the net for a goal on his debut and 0-1. Bruce was really pulling the strings now and just before the break he combined with Watling to release Cowan through one on one, he made no mistake, lifting the ball over the keeper to make it 0-2 at the break.
Henley were on top in the 2nd half, Bruce dominant in a new role for him and Watling piling the pressure on up front. George Ablitt had the visiting Ultras in full voice cutting inside and dribbling through 4 Cops defenders, his shot going just wide. But another debutant Dye did score, and what a goal it was, collecting the ball 30 yards out he waltzed past one, dropped his shoulder to lose another, before picking his spot and stroking home into the top corner for 0-3.
Cops did have a flurry of attacks in the final minutes, Duka striking home a consolation late on to finally beat MOTM Beal to make the final score 1-3.
A good start to the season with some showings across the team, keeper Beal earning MOTM with his best performance in a Henley shirt, the debutants all impressed, but cream of the crop was Bruce, conducting and driving all Henley did in a quarterback type role, outstanding. Cops played well and at half time must’ve been wondering what was going on! But ultimately, it was Henley that capitalised on mistakes better and took their chances, in a match of such tight margins, that was enough to make a difference. Despite the current environment, there was a great atmosphere at the SEH ground and the Cops/Wanderers set up handled the evening safely and well, we thank them for their hospitality.
Saturday afternoon saw a rather odd game at Henley, the ressies facing Old Newton in the twice rearranged Travel Plus Tours semi-final. With last year’s manager leaving and, as usual, taking a few players with him, the rules made it hard for managers Muckle and Ling to get an eligible team out. However, they managed it, even drawing from the Vets side to fulfil the fixture. The lads held out bravely, going in at HT 0-1 down, even that being a fortuitous slice. But Newton were vastly better in the 2nd half and good value for their deserved 0-5 win. All at Henley wish them all the best in the final.
The Vets returned to action in their first league game of the season away to Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, welcoming new signings Darren Ablett, Robert Bucy and returnee James Westren. Currey opened the scoring after 3 minutes with a free kick that took a couple of slight deflections to find the far corner, but thanks to a remarkable performance from the home ‘keeper’ and some wasteful finishing the score remained 1-0 at half time.
Henley dominated proceedings and finally made the breakthrough after Bucy headed home the rebound after his shot was saved. Ford looked lively after coming on after a long absence due to a long-term knee injury and after a few near misses finally found the net with a close-range header to give us a 3-0 win that we more than deserved. On another day the scoreline could have been a lot more but after 6 months out the guys did themselves proud and got the season off to a good start.
On Sunday a large crowd gathered at the Community Centre to watch the Ladies play against March Town Ladies in their 1st ever appearance in the Women's FA Cup. Henley opened the scoring with a goal from Gilson in the 14th minute, however quickly conceded 3 goals after struggling to keep their composure a shot from Moore narrowly flying over the bar, our best chance. Frost narrowed the gap late in the half for 2-3 at the break.
Henley came out stronger in the second half, Gilson levelling the score at 3-3 in the opening minutes. Both teams battled hard to the end, but it was March who took the lead again for 3-4. The match was coming to an end but with one last attack Bevan was taken down and Henley were awarded a free kick. Moore stepped up and fired it in to the top left corner over the reach of the keeper to equalise at 4-4. With no extra time being played it was straight to penalties with the ladies being defeated 4-5. Despite losing it was a fantastic day enjoyed by all in the sunshine with the bar open and the BBQ fired up.
Thank you to Morrison Freight for sponsoring the match and Mark Dye for the donation of the match ball. Thank you also to all the supporters who came to cheer the Ladies on. We are looking forward to next year!
There is no game for the 1st team next Saturday, while the reserves visit Claydon, Sunday sees the Vets at home to Cops in the league cup and the Ladies league season starts with a trip to Holland on Sea.
September 4, 2020
So, at last, here we are at the start of the 2020/21 season, a season that is sure to be unlike any other we have experienced. I trust this communication finds you in good health and looking forward to supporting the lads and ladies!
As a club we've been very busy over the lockdown period and the summer, the 1st team have made some excellent signings and have the legendary Chris Rogers returning to assist Liam in the management team. The ressies have a new manager Alex "Slim" Muckle who joins Dave Ling and a whole bunch of quality signings in a very new look side. Vets manager Sean Brown has been lurking outside the post office on pension day, ambushing the elderly and signing them on, whilst I hear that Gary French has added to his excellent Ladies side, including a genuine international centre half!
The committee have been busy off the pitch, mostly with Covid19 risk assessments and preparations, please bear in mind that their will be changes when you attend games this season. At the Community Centre, currently the bar and changing rooms are closed (albeit discussions are ongoing and we await an FA ruling) and we only have a single disabled toilet available. Social distancing must be strictly observed and we will be taking contact details to enable track and trace. Should you have any worries or queries regarding your club and Covid19 please contact me directly and I will happily send you a copy of our risk assessment.
The season starts tonight, with the 1st team away to Coplestonians under the floodlights at the SEH ground on Humberdoucy Lane KO 7.30. Saturday afternoon sees the Reserves at home to Old Newton, finally completing last season's Travel Plus Tours semi final with a 2.00 KO. The ladies have a huge game on Sunday, in their 1st ever appearance in the Women's FA Cup, they welcome March Town in a 2.00 K.O, simultaneously our Vets start their campaign away to Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, 2.30 K.O
In other news, last season's cup games are also being completed, as already mentioned the Ressies have their semi-final tomorrow, the 1st team play their Suffolk Senior Cup semi-final against Ipswich Wanderers on Wednesday 16th September at Whitton Utd KO 7.30, this game will be all ticket only, please watch the Suffolk FA website for availability from as early as today. The Morrison Freight cup final against Cranes is on October 21st, details closer to the time.
All at the club look forward to seeing you soon, even if it is at a 2 metre distance!
May 8, 2019
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!
April 30, 2019
As the season draws towards a close the games are coming thick and fast now, this past week seeing the 1st team in action twice
Last Wednesday evening saw us welcome rivals Achilles to the Community Centre. With further additions to our lengthening injury list and the inevitable unavailability of players midweek because of work commitments, we really were down to the bare bone. With only nine 1st teamers available, including an injured George who bravely insisted on playing, we started the game with the club’s 5th in line goalkeeper Reece Orchard and young Ash Mulligan on the wing and a bench wholly comprised of Vets and the managers.
As it was we dug deep to pull out a remarkable 5-1 victory over Achilles. Despite the changes Henley pressed from the start taking a lead after 14 minutes, a Bruce freekick headed home from close range with a bullet by Sheppard for 1-0. On 21 minutes it was 2-0, great work from Tejano saw Caraccio head over the advancing Crump and follow the ball home under pressure to make sure. Debut keeper Orchard had to make a couple of fine blocks to keep the visitors out, but could do nothing to stop Grimwood making 2-1 just before the break as Achilles enjoyed their best period of the match.
Achilles started the 2nd half well, the Henley defence and keeper all called into action multiple times to keep the visitors out. But 15 minutes in Henley increased their lead to 3-1 with a simply wonderful goal, Tejano twice spinning through 360 degrees, leaving the Achilles defence confused and trailing in his wake, before curling the ball into the top corner with keeper Crump totally motionless.
Achilles kept pushing hard and on the rare occasions they did breach the determined home defence found Orchard yet again in the way. Midhalf it was 4-1, a Bruce freekick from wide right was cleared to Tejano, he played it back to Bruce who lifted the ball to the back post for Storey to head home. As the minutes ticked away there was still time for one more, a long throw from sub Behnamnia saw Golding find Tejano, he laid off to Bruce who rifled home from just inside the box to complete the scoring.
This was a characterful, gritty performance that epitomised all our management have instilled in the lads. Much credit must go to the two lads who stepped up to make their 1st team starting debuts in one of the biggest games of the year, Orchard made some wonderful reflex stops and Mulligan ran his socks off throughout. Praise too for George who despite being injured, put his body on the line for the club. MOTM went to Tejano who just pipped Sheppard and Bruce in the Ultras’s ratings. A huge crowd of 115 enjoyed this game, none more than pretty much the entire Cranes squad, management and committee who probably enjoyed it more than most.
The pressures of a 4th game in ten days started to tell as Henley visited Bramford Saturday, George joined, Jackson, White and Shore on the injury list and although we welcomed Jones and Cowan back to the side the bench was looking thin, with only the managers and goalkeeper Burton available. Despite this Henley battled against both a determined Bramford and the worst playing surface of the season, the much maligned Benhall looking like a bowling green in comparison, to come away with all points following a 1-3 victory.
The 1st half had little to commend it as despite dominating possession a visibly tired Henley were frustrated time and again as the bumps and long grass negated their passing game. They still forced 2 or 3 good saves from the home keeper whilst at the other end the tricky Clarke looked dangerous for Bramford on the break.
It wasn’t until 10 minutes into the 2nd half that Henley took the lead their pressure deserved, Golding’s cross was cleared only as far as Tejano, who rifled home a low drive from 20 yards for 0-1. Straight from the restart Bramford equalised, a long ball from Mandley finding Clarke who turned well, spinning and slotted home from 12 yards for 1-1.
Midhalf Cowan broke into the box and was clipped, he stayed on his feet and crossed only for the ball to be handled by the Bramford defender, Bruce stepped up and sent the subsequent penalty into the bottom corner for 1-2 and his 38th of the season. Bramford were pumping the ball forward and still creating chances on the break, Clarke again coming close and a weak effort from Mandley being comfortably collected by Jones. Injuries and fatigue saw Henley substitute keeper Burton brought on as and outfield player at right back as well as Manager Bevis, making a class filled cameo in his previous midfield general role. Cowan rounded off the scoring with 5 minutes remaining, spinning into space and sliding home for 1-3.
The lads were clearly shattered and with little on the bench were having to play on longer than some would have liked, but they showed their team spirit yet again and battled for the win. Tejano again pipping Sheppard, Caraccio and Bruce to the Ultra’s MOTM vote.
The Ressies final game of the season, at home to Sporting 87, resulted in a 1-7 defeat. A somewhat harsh score line, but too many defensive lapses and a lack of concentration at crucial times proved costly. Mallick, our top scorer, notched our consolation goal.
As these are the last notes of the season, we would like to express our thanks, not only to the hard core of players who turned up most weeks in what has been a traumatic season in terms of player availability, but also to club legends Lingy, Jordy and Hawky for managing the team and keeping them going to the end of the season.
We now look forward to next season, with a new manager at the helm, Dean Forbes, we wish him all the very best.
Sunday saw the Vets side travel to Cockfield Utd to go down 4-0 at the league champions.
This coming weekend sees both the 1st team and Vets play their final games, the 1st’s travelling to Leiston St Margarets Saturday and the Vets welcoming Bury Vets on Sunday.
I’ll close these lengthy notes by congratulating Cranes on their Senior League title, the table never lies! Congrats to Rads and Damo who’ve done a great job, we’ll be after you again next season!
April 22, 2019
Wednesday evening saw the ever faithful Henley Ultras make up a good part of the 301 crowd at Felixstowe & Walton, to support Henley in their last chance for glory this season. In a gruelling 120 minute battle, Henley defeated Cranes 1-0 courtesy of a precision Clark Bruce freekick in the 1st period of extra time, to lift the Bob Coleman Cup for the 1st time in their history.
Henley dominated the opening passage of play, applying a high press and creating chances, Cowan crashing one off the bar within 5 minutes. Henley’s passing game was causing Cranes problems and further chances came without reaching fruition. Cranes found their way back into the game late in the half and came close with a couple of efforts themselves.
The 2nd half saw Cranes much improved as they piled on the pressure but the Henley defence of Sheppard and Storey were exceptional. Cowan had the ball in the net for Henley, heading home a Bruce cross, but was flagged offside mid half. In the 90th minute Henley appeared to score a perfectly good goal when a short goal kick was intercepted by Golding, he played in Bruce who picked his spot to beat Foster. However after pressure on the officials the referee spoke to his assistant and the goal was disallowed. as the ball was controversially adjudged not to have left the area. There was still time for drama though as with the final kick of normal time Jones had to be at his best to tip over a fine effort from Blades.
Midway through the 1st period Caraccio was pulled back and Bruce stepped up to whip a low freekick around the wall and into the bottom corner from 25 yards for 1-0. Despite heavy pressure from Cranes the Henley defence held firm and lifted the trophy.
This was a terrific game from start to finish, with both defences the stars of the show. Sheppard came away with MOTM for a truly impassable performance alongside Storey. Caraccio attracted plenty of praise for his usual all action showing, Jackson had one of his best games for Henley and Golding was an absolute handful all night. The strike force of Bruce and Cowan showed why they have so many goals this season, with Bruce’s precision finish no surprise to anyone who’s seen him play, he’s on fire. I could go on to mention every member of the squad, but space precludes it. Suffice to say that after an uncharacteristic run of three defeats, the lads dug in and showed their spirit, commitment and strength as a team.
Plenty of praise for Cranes who as always were gracious in defeat, they didn’t give an inch all night, fought for every ball and showed their quality throughout, the table never lies and I’m confident they’ll wrap up the league title.
Saturday came all too quickly for some of the lads and it was a much depleted Henley that faced a committed Bourne Vale Utd side full of quality. Shore, Jackson and George were all out injured, Jones and Duzgun were unavailable and Golding was only fit enough to start from the bench. Trevivian was recalled to make only his second start of the season and both managers were named on the subs list.
The home side started well with Bruce and Cowan coming close before the visitors took the lead after 11 minutes, a cleared corner falling to Wilcox, his low drive from the edge of the area deflecting past Burton for 0-1. 5 minutes later it should’ve been 2 as a Moore header hit the bar when it looked easier to score. It was all square 5 minutes later, Cowan released to cut in and fire home a low shot which went in off both posts. On 35 minutes it was 2-1, Tejano and Caraccio combining passes before the latter unpicked a flatfooted defence to free Bruce who calmly slotted home. Another good chance for the visitors saw Burton save well just before the break.
Caraccio saw his effort cleared off the line after he’d lifted the ball over Walden early in the 2nd half. 15 minutes in, a terrific pass from keeper Burton found Golding on the halfway line, he controlled it with one touch, spun and outpaced his marker before crossing for Cowan to slam home from close range for 3-1. Midhalf Vale pulled one back with Moore heading home after a quickly taken free-kick for 3-2. Henley still looked the more dangerous though, Tejano and Bruce both hitting the post before the 4th goal finally came. Substitute Behnamnia winning the ball on the halfway line and feeding Golding, he once again outpaced his man and crossed for Bruce to slam home for 4-2. Bourne Vale kept coming though, Moore spurning a chance for another goal late on.
Once again it was Sheppard who was awarded the Ultra’s MOTM, Caraccio again running him close. Keeper Burton had a fantastic game, his footwork and passing particularly impressive, one dummy to see the ball safely out of play drawing applause from the Ultras. He’s really benefiting from the tutelage of the hugely experienced Jones. Bruce and Cowan looked like scoring every time they went forward, their goals today taking them to 60 goals between them so far this season, incredibly that’s more than 9 senior teams have scored in total!
We’ve played Bourne Vale three times this season and although we’ve won all three they’ve given us some of our toughest games. They never quit and fight to the very end, every time. They have more than a few players with real quality and they’ll be in the mix again next season.
The Ressies assembled at Bramford Utd confident of getting a positive result. We dominated the early exchanges without really testing Bramford’s keeper. However, it was the opposition who scored first after their young striker broke away down our left hand side and slotted the ball home past the advancing Williams. We continued to dominate possession and were rewarded when Newman ran clear and shot past the keeper to make the score 1-1.The message at halftime was to continue playing as we had done in the first half and surely that elusive win would be ours.
We began the second period in a positive fashion and created numerous chances. We finally took the lead when Mallick steered a left foot effort into the far corner. At 2-1 up we seemed to lose concentration and within twenty minutes we were 4-2 down! We managed to peg another goal back after Mallick notched again, but unfortunately we had left it too late. Final score 4-3 to Bramford.
Wednesday evening sees Achilles visit the Community Centre, K.O 6.30, with a game away at Bramford Utd following on Saturday K.O 2.30. The ressies finish their season at home to Sporting 87 on Saturday, also kicking off at 2.30.
April 15, 2019
An under strength Henley fell to a 1-2 defeat to a committed and motivated Claydon, individual errors gifting both opportunities to the visitors. With stalwarts Storey and Tejano missing, along with regular keeper Jones, it was a much changed Henley side that greeted our visitors.
Both teams went at it full speed from the first whistle, Dixon pushing a Bruce effort to safety before denying a certain goal with a terrific point blank stop to deny Cowan. Cole tried a cheeky effort for Claydon with Burton off his line but it sailed way over to safety. Claydon’s style of play was much changed from our earlier meetings this season, the bus being left back at the station, as they played some nice, passing football. Just before the break a misplaced pass at the back saw the ball go straight to Webster, his shot was well saved by Burton but the ball ran to Cole who rifled the ball into the empty net for 0-1. So despite Henley having the lion’s share of possession it was the visitors who went in at HT in the lead.
Claydon started the 2nd half well, pushing forward and applying good pressure, albeit without a clear cut chance. 8 minutes in Henley equalised, a precise through ball from Bruce released Cowan who outpaced his markers to slot calmly home past Dixon for 1-1. Within minutes Francis broke down the left 2 crossing from the byline and once again only a reflex, point blank stop from Dixon denied Cowan’s finish.
Midhalf a mis-controlled pass out from the back rebounded straight to Cole who made no mistake, hitting a fine, well-placed effort to beat Burton at his near post for 1-2. Although Claydon continued to look dangerous on the break and created a couple of good chances, they had to defend bravely for the majority of the remainder of the game, as Henley searched for the equaliser. A rare misjudgement from Dixon saw the ball pass under his feet but it was scrambled off the line to safety and when Golding’s effort did finally beat him, there was a defender behind him to head off the line as the game finished 1-2.
A poor performance from Henley, with only MOTM Shore, the ever dangerous Cowan and the ever dependable Sheppard coming close to their full potential. But all credit to the visitors who, although on the balance of play a draw would have probably been a fairer result, were good value for their victory. It was good to see them utilise their young attackers, rather than stifle them as in earlier games, nice to see a pathway club bring on some youngsters too. But it was veteran keeper Dixon who once again drew the eye, setting aside his Werther’s Originals, throwing off his tartan travel rug and parking his mobility scooter to have yet another brilliant game against us. I’m sure Kenny is delighted to secure his services for the forthcoming season. Claydon have adapted well to Senior football and with a constant flow of youngsters following the pathway from their impressive youth system they will be in contention for success next season I’m sure.
With a few sides not having games it was a busy clubhouse post match, with some good fun had by all and some very “interesting” stories exchanged, as always it’s great to see football people like Rads and Griefy.
The Ressies assembled for the tough fixture against Westerfield with a squad of 12, but we were short of recognised central defenders. We competed well in the first half, but conceded two goals, sadly, the second only a matter of seconds before the half-time whistle.
However, the second half was unfortunately a different story, and a combination of a lack of concentration and fitness saw us concede another six times. Martell Mallick scored our consolation goal in the last minute. Final score 8-1.
A disappointing scoreline after last week’s promising performance, hopefully we will improve next week.
Wednesday evening sees the 1st team in Bob Coleman Cup Final action at Felixstowe & Walton FC against Cranes FC. K.O is at 7.15 p.m. Admission prices are as follows, Adults £4, Concessions £2, Under 11’s free. Please come along and give the lads your support.
Next Saturday Bourne Vale Utd are our visitors to the Community Centre in the league, whilst the ressies visit Bramford, both K.O at 2.30.
April 8, 2019
Henley were defeated on penalties in the semi-final of the Suffolk FA Senior Cup on Friday evening, Achilles winning 5-4 on penalties after a hard fought match, which finished 0-0 after 90 minutes. A game in which both sides gave their all, with no quarter either given or expected.
A huge crowd of 342 gathered at Felixstowe & Walton Utd, swollen by the largest ever gathering of Henley Ultras to date, thank you to all who attended, including the sizeable group of ex players who came to give their support. I can’t recall seeing so many SIL people in one place before, I must’ve spoken to people from pretty much every Senior club during the course of the evening.
Henley had the better of the early exchanges, Storey hitting the post and Bruce’s lob hitting the bar with Crump saving Golding’s follow up. Henley continued to have the better of the play, Sheppard’s header flashing just wide, but Achilles came back into the game, with Henley keeper Jones having to collect a couple of long range efforts and Field’s free kick ballooning over the bar.
The second half was much tighter, Storey clearing a goal bound header off the Henley line and Jones pushing one around the post. Crump saved well from Bruce and a White effort went high and wide. The best chance of the game came when Carracio was shoved in the back and a penalty was awarded to Henley, Bruce sent his effort low and to the right but Crump dived superbly to save.
At 90 minutes the deadlock was unbroken and with no extra time now played in County Cup games, the match was decided on the lottery of penalties, both keepers each saved one of the 1st five but it was Crump who saved the sudden death 6th to send Achilles through. All at Henley wish them well in the final against Cornard and hope they represent the quality of the SIL.
It’s probably fair to say that neither team performed at their best on the evening and it ended as a bit of a grind of a game, both MOTM’s going to the keepers. Jones for Henley, not so much for his saves, as he had less to do during the 90, but more for his guidance and leadership throughout the game. For Achilles it had to be Crump, saving 3 penalties out of 7 on the evening to see his side to the final.
The Ressies had the largest match day squad of the season assemble at the Community Centre for the home game against Framlingham Reserves.
We started the game in a positive manner, pressing high, which ensured that we had the majority of the possession. However, it was Framlingham who scored first, after a defensive error meant that the ball managed to trickle over our goal line. The half time whistle blew with the score at 0-1 , but we were still very much in the game.
The second half continued to be an evenly contested affair, but it was Framlingham who scored again, taking full advantage of us temporarily being down to 10 men because our left back Birt was off the field having treatment for a nose bleed. At 0-2 down we continued to try and get a goal back and this duly came from a fantastic long range effort by Prentice.
We continued to press for the equaliser, but unfortunately we couldn’t get that elusive second goal. Final score 1-2. Despite the result, a positive performance, all of the players putting in a good ‘shift’ against a very talented young Framlingham team.
The Vets travelled to Trimley Reserves on Sunday and saw our slim chance of a title challenge evaporate before our eyes with a 0-2 defeat to a very good side. With the first half being an end to end affair with chances aplenty, Studd in goal for Henley produced two fine saves to keep the hosts out & two great chances spurned by Mallick & Ford at the other end saw honours even & surprisingly scoreless at the half time whistle. It could have been as much as 4-4 with further chances passing both sides by.
The message at the interval was that it would come down to whoever took their chances in the second half & sadly it was Trimley who scored an early first goal. A vicious free kick saw Studd do well to keep out, however the rebound was reacted to quickest by one of four Trimley players following in, seeing the hosts ahead. Henley had most of the play form this point but could not convert the many chances that fell our way including a missed penalty from Gibbs at 1-0. Trimley then went further ahead with a well taken goal from their point of view but poor play from Henley gifting possession. The lads did themselves proud against a very good & committed Trimley side & on another day if Gibbs had his shooting boots on & a touch of composure from others in the box we would have won comfortably, but not to be. However, we are improving each game & the spirit and togetherness is growing so exciting times ahead surely for these ageing limbs!!!
Next Saturday see Claydon visit the Community Centre, whilst the Ressies visit Westerfield, both games K.O 2.30.
April 1, 2019
A large crowd of over 90, swelled by a terrific travelling support saw a strangely disjointed and under par Henley surrender the last vestiges of their, albeit small chance, of the league title with a disappointing 1-2 defeat to Grundisburgh.
The visitors clearly came to compete and got stuck in straight from the off, but also providing a threat going forwards. Grundisburgh took an early lead with a very contentious penalty, Sheppard’s ball-winning challenge being waved on by the referee by furiously flagged for by his assistant, Hobson stepped up and smashed home well for 0-1. A tricky one this, with some thinking it was a penalty, but the protagonists and both sets of managers thinking it wasn’t. This injustice appeared to frustrate Henley who despite dominating possession struggled to create clear cut chances, with some brave Grundisburgh blocks keeping out those that did come close.
The 2nd half saw the continuation of mostly Henley attack against Grundisburgh defence, ex Henley man Gibson nearly forgetting which side he was on and heading against his own post. Henley were finally rewarded after 10 minutes when Cowan smashed in a volley from a pinpoint Bruce cross for 1-1. With most present expecting this to spark Henley on to a home victory, Grundisburgh went straight up the other end to retake the lead, Hobson heading home well, whilst the Henley defence froze, seemingly and incorrectly expecting an offside flag. A short while later a clear penalty was missed by the officials as Cowan was blatantly shoved in the back as he stooped to head in from close range.
Henley pressed hard for a route back into the game, coming close on several occasions, but it wasn’t to be, Grundisburgh bravely defending as if their life’s depended on it and holding on for both the points and a slim chance of the great escape. Post match they were awarded the John Leggett memorial shield, which both clubs have annually competed for over the last few years.
As disappointing as the result was, Grundisburgh deserve a lot of credit for their effort and courage, they fought for every ball for 90 minutes and never gave up for a second. In view of the many friendships and connections between the clubs, we can take some small consolation that it wasn’t us that condemned them to relegation.
Henley MOTM went to Jamie Cowan, who not only scored a fine goal and competed throughout the game, but also gave all assembled a glimpse of his phenomenal skills in the 1st half. Weaving his way for 70 yards, passing 7 opposition defenders and skipping their challenges, before being denied what would have been a certain goal of the decade award by a desperate last gasp block. Breathtaking stuff! For Grundisburgh Niall Hobson impressed, once again not only for his goals but for his movement and positional play, I’m sure a lot of clubs will be giving him a look in the summer.
Preparations are in full flow now for our Suffolk FA Senior Cup semi-final against Achilles FC at Felixstowe & Walton (IP11 9HT) on Friday evening. The game kicks off at 7.45 p.m with admission prices as follows; Adults £6, OAPs £4, Children £1. A large crowd is expected, so please allow time for parking etc. Please come along and give the lads your loudest possible support!
Saturday sees the ressies welcome Framlingham Town Reserves to the Community Centre K.O 2.30.
As a final announcement, this coming Friday, will be Byron Tejano’s 350th appearance for the club, we’d all like to thank him for his loyalty, commitment and of course his skills, which see him currently sitting on 140 goals so far! Cheers BY.
March 26, 2019
Despite having 6 regular players unavailable, Henley came back from Haughley Utd with 3 points after a 0-4 victory. Once again Beaver and Benny had to shuffle the pack, stalwarts Storey and Tejano were away on a stag weekend, Hammond joined Jones on the injured list, whilst Duzgun and George were beginning their return by starting from the bench. Burton donned the gloves again, Smythe was at centre back and Francis went to full back, with Jackson continuing in the middle. Over 30 travelling Ultras enjoyed some spring sunshine and looked forward to a positive result.
Henley applied some good early pressure forcing a couple of saves from Young, Golding in particular getting a lot of space and firing in a selection of good crosses. But it was Haughley who spurned the best chance of the opening stages when the tricky Wharton-Richardson weaved his way down the left and into the Henley box, only to blaze over from 10 yards when it looked easier to score. As it transpired this was a costly miss as on 30 minutes Caraccio won the ball back on the edge of the Haughley box, he found White who laid it off to Bruce who drove home from the edge of the area for 0-1. Henley continued to dominate possession but on the stroke of half time keeper Burton was called upon to make a superb, acrobatic save, tipping over R Golding’s 30 yard dipping shot.
Early into the second half a 25 yard low shot from Jackson went straight through Young and into the net for 0-2, the keeper misjudging the ball completely. Only 5 minutes later some good passing found B. Golding enter the box from wide right and drive in a low shot from a narrow angle, again misjudged by the keeper, who was expecting a cross; he could do nothing but help it on its way into the net for 0-3.
Further efforts followed for Henley with Burton untroubled in the visitor’s goal, before a terrific interchange between Henley’s front two made it 0-4, Cowan playing a great diagonal ball behind the defender for Bruce to run onto. He cut inside, leaving his marker stranded and picked his spot, curling the ball into the bottom corner for 0-4.
Not our best performance, by a long way, but nonetheless we earned a comfortable win, albeit assisted by the unfortunate home keeper, who clearly had a game to forget. Shore came away with the Ultra’s vote for MOTM, superb defensively, as attack after attack broke when it got to him, but also instrumental in creating much of the Henley attack. Bruce was his imperious best as he took his tally to 33 goals for the season, Cowan was a thorn in the Haughley defence and Golding shows more of his ability with every game. As always Caraccio was everywhere, along with Jackson and White, they gave Haughley no time on the ball at all. Smythe did a great job alongside Sheppard, keeping out some of the leagues top scorers. Francis spent as much time going forward as he did defending and it was good to see Duzgun and George get a few minutes at the end of the game as they return from injury. Young Burton continues to impress between the sticks, including his game changing save before the break.
I was very impressed with Haughley, they’ve accumulated some good young prospects and if they can hold on to them, they’ll certainly be in the mix at the top end of the table next season. Many thanks also to Haughley for their terrific facilities and for the great welcome they gave to the large contingent of travelling Ultras. Vlogger Deejam was at the game as well, always great to see this young man and the fine things he’s doing for SIL football, search for Deejam on YouTube and subscribe to his channel to see the match highlights.
After yet another challenging week in terms of player availability, the Ressies managed to start the game with eleven players against league leaders Trimley. Managers Ling and Jordy had to start yet again and the visitors also had the added advantage of their first team not having a fixture.
The final score of 0-14 against a good TRD side is irrelevant; we just want to thank the players who did turn out for their efforts, especially in the second half as we were down to ten at half time as top scorer Mallick had to leave early because of family commitments. We got through the game, obviously didn’t gain any points, but the main thing is we didn’t lose any through having to postpone! We wish TRD all the best for the remainder of the season in their hunt for silverware.
Sunday saw the Vets make the journey up the A14 to Bury to play Black Boy with a severely depleted squad, but thankfully we were able to draft a couple in at the last minute and manager Brown attempted an impression of a goal keeper to boost the numbers.
A clinical spell in the first half saw Ford score two with a fine close range finish and then a deft header from an Ian Brown ball in to the box, which was followed up by a screamer from Mallick to put us 3-0 up. The hosts pulled one back with a well taken header after keeper Brown was left in no man’s land from a free kick into the box after deciding not to come to punch the ball, with the sun & the instinctive realisation that a major collision was not the best idea considering some important spreadsheets needed attention on Monday morning playing a part!!
The second half was pretty much a non-event with a fine defensive shape snuffing out any home attacks with assured marshalling of the back four from keeper Brown, who even managed to pull off what he thought was a fine camera save, but alas, it was not a camera flash, just a reflection of the sun off Ian Brown’s forehead. This 3-1 victory saw us stay in the hunt for a second placed finish with four games to go.
This coming Saturday sees us welcome Grundisburgh to the Community Centre K.O 2.30; the ressies have a free week.
We also have to say goodbye and thank you to Luke Hammond, who stepped in to assist us through a mini injury crisis, he gave us a couple of good cameo appearances and his experience was invaluable in the dressing room. Sadly his work is taking him to Prague, where all at Henley wish him every success.
Also this coming Saturday 30th March we have the club quiz night, also at the community centre, open to teams of up to six people at £2.50 a head, please come along and support the club at 7.30 at the Community Centre.
March 18, 2019
Saturday saw our third game against Benhall St Mary this season and the lads decided to have an impromptu goal of the season competition, winning 6-0, taking the goal total in the 3 games to an astonishing 18!
Henley fielded a much changed side, keeper Jones joined George and Duzgun on the injured list whilst Storey and Francis were rested. Keeper Burton stepped into the starting line up alongside Smythe, Golding and Jackson.
Despite the windy conditions Henley resolutely stuck to their passing game, playing out from the back throughout. Early pressure saw Cowan denied by 2 fine saves as Henley pinned the visitors back and reducing them to trying to break out. Henley opened the scoring after 32 minutes, Bruce fed White who outpaced his marker to cut in from the left to crash a superb shot into the opposite corner from 20 yards out for 1-0. 5 minutes later it was 2-0 as Bruce was adjudged to have been felled in the box, from my distant viewpoint it was hard to see any offence, but talking to referee Mr Hathaway post match I discovered it was given for a high challenge with studs showing. “Mr Radio” Bruce stepped up to fire in the subsequent penalty low into the corner. Just before the break, Golding’s 25 yard free kick rebounded back to him off the wall and he absolutely smashed it into the top corner on the half volley, an absolute thunderbolt for his debut goal for the club making it 3-0 at HT.
5 minutes into the 2nd half it was 4-0 and pretty much all over, some fine passing and good interplay on the left, before Bruce cut inside, picked his spot and drove the ball home into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Soon after Carracio bundled home from close range after good work from Cowan, but was rightly denied by an offside flag, Midhalf Bruce held the ball up brilliantly under pressure before finding MOTM Tejano on the edge of the area who simply rifled the ball into the roof of the net for 5-0. There was still time for a 20 yard screamer from White, he spun and shot on the turn into the top corner for 6-0. Benhall had a late flurry of attacks, with Burton showing his level of concentration; despite having little to do all game he stayed alert enough to make a brilliant point blank save. Cowan rifled in another low shot, but it was disallowed for a foul on a defender and the game finished 6-0
Despite the changes, this was a fine team performance with all the lads both playing their part and playing for each other, the closeness of the team epitomised by the joyous celebrations following Golding’s goal. MOTM went to Tejano, back to his imperious best, bossing the midfield, narrowly beating Shore in the voting who had yet another great game, both defending and going forwards. Jackson was tigerish in the tackle, putting in challenge after challenge whilst Smythe slipped into defence like he’d been there all season. Burton had a strong game, whilst he didn’t have barely a save to make, he controlled his box and his distribution was first class. The front lads were as good as always, Bruce breaking the 30 goal barrier still with at least 9 games still to play, both he and Cowan looking like scoring every time they went forward.
Thanks to all the Benhall lads for coming in and enjoying the Henley hospitality and for their kind words regarding our performance, like us, they were a few short on the day and the result doesn’t reflect on their undoubted ability. A fine performance from Mr Hathaway in the middle, clear, confident and decisive, it’s a pleasure to see a referee enjoy themselves.
More league action next week as we visit Haughley with Deejam and his camera again in attendance, Meanwhile the ressies are at home as they entertain Trimley Red Devils both K.O at 2.30
March 11, 2019
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.
March 6, 2019
Henley’s title challenge faltered Saturday when an underwhelming performance resulted in a frustrating 1-1 draw at Coplestonians. My pal Scoop has provided a fine and accurate match report so I’ll only give a summary from a Henley viewpoint
With George still rested, the managers rang the changes once again, giving Golding his first start of the season, along with a change of formation. We started brightly and had the better of the first half and had we taken our chances, the game should have been in the bag before the interval. Shore, Golding, Bruce, Duzgun and Cowan all had chances, with the best of them falling to White just before the break which was blocked on the line. Cops looked resourceful on the break and put in a couple of dangerous balls which required good defensive work. However HT came with neither side at their best and with little to discuss.
This soon changed within minutes of the restart when following a corner from Bruce, Sheppard fed the ball back in, past a curiously static Cops defence, to find Cowan who made no mistake swivelling to fire home for 0-1. This sparked Henley and they poured forward, but then came the games main talking point, referee Mr Henderson-Holmes hitting Henley with double barrelled shots of frustration and disappointment..
Cowan rounded his marker at a narrow angle , tight to the line and inside the box, only to be clearly shoved over, with the ball running through into Houchill’s arms, astonishingly and despite protests, Mr Henderson-Holmes waved the appeal away. Now maybe the marginal delay of the fully justifiable Henley appeals confused Houchill, as he then placed the ball down to kick from the ground. Thinking quickly, Cowan simply collected it and rolled it into the net for a legitimate goal, as both no whistle had sounded and neither had the ball gone out of play. Sadly the initial error of the penalty being missed was then compounded by the goal being wrongly disallowed, following a conversation between the referee and his assistant on the far side of the pitch. Only a guess, but I can only assume that the penalty shout distracted the officials and neither noticed the ball hadn’t gone put of play. On such things, games can turn and in this case it did and instead of rightly being 0-2 up we soon found ourselves level.
A frustrated Henley saw Eaton-Collins break clear and score a fine equaliser for 1-1, the visitors laid siege to the home goal with Bruce and Tejano forcing quality stops from Houchill and many more chances going narrowly wide. This pressure obviously created gaps at the back and Jones was called upon to make a good low stop to deny Smith, late on Abbot could’ve nicked the points for Cops but his effort went wide as the game finished 1-1.
A strangely disjointed performance from Henley, with our passing game not flowing as we all no it can. MOTM went to the ever industrious Caraccio with defensive pair Sheppard and Storey running him close. Cops had their tactics right and worked hard for each other throughout, with, as always, fullback Ferniz attracting admiration from the travelling Henley Ultras.
With a number of players unavailable due to work commitments and injury, the Ressies only had squad of twelve for the visit of Old Newton Reserves to the Community Centre. We did however welcome new boys Ben Olive and Connor Ellis to the club.
We started the first half well and for the first twenty minutes the game was fairly even. Unfortunately, the deadlock was broken when we conceded from a corner to give the visitors the lead. Old Newton then scored a further two well taken goals to make the score 0-3.We pulled a goal back after good combination play between Ling and Mallick resulted in the latter firing the ball into the back of the net. However, the opposition then scored a fourth, but then we managed to score our second through Prentice with a nice finish. Half time score 2-4.
With only two goals separating the teams, the next goal was crucial. Alas, it was Old Newton who scored next to make it 2-5. Another goal for the visitors from a corner followed to give them a 2-6 lead. In the later stages of the game we scored our third goal after Mallick converted a penalty, taking the final score to 3-6. Another spirited performance by our young team, especially considering the number of absentees.
The Vets returned to league action for the first time in 2 months after our cup exploits, welcoming Bramford Road Old Boys to the Community Centre on a blustery afternoon.
The visitors were in for a tough afternoon with only 10 men, however as you so often see, this raised their game and their work rate for 90 minutes made life extremely difficult for Henley, however, the home side eventually ran out 6-3 winners. It could have been more but for their goalkeeper producing some fine saves to deny us from adding further to the score.
A fine worked goal saw Brown finish with a thunderous volley from 20 yards to opening the scoring, with Ford getting his first of the game with a neat close range header to make it 2-1 after the visitors had scored a breakaway goal to equalise. Gibbs stretched Henley’s lead before half time with a delicious chip from 25 yards. Bramford pulled a goal back early in the second half but a Lineker type finish with his left foot by Ford 6 yards out gave Henley some breathing space. A further Gibbs close range finish after a clever Mallick headed cross saw him complete his brace before Ford completed his “perfect” hat-trick with a worldie right foot finish from 20 yards out. The visitors pulled a consolation goal back in the dying minutes with some robust forward play.
It was good to get 3 points in the bag and with our game this coming Sunday at home to Trimley, the promotion race is hotting up!!
This coming Saturday sees another outing against Cops, this time they visit the Community Centre for a Bob Coleman Cup semi-final KO 2.00. The ressies are on the road to Bury St Edmunds to face Sporting 87 KO 2.30 and as already mentioned Sunday sees the Vets at home to Trimley KO 2.00.
February 24, 2019
Henley ran out 5-1 winners in a tough match against Westerfield Utd, where the scoreline didn’t entirely reflect the competiveness and the closeness of the game, A good size crowd of 98 enjoyed some quality football on a sunny, spring like afternoon. After last week’s impressive display, Henley were looking to continue their good run, however they were forced into changes with George rested as he was carrying a knock from the Achilles game and Jackson stepping in to replace him. For Westerfield, injury kept Cooper on the sidelines, while new signing Lytess wasn’t eligible due to a paperwork delay.
Westerfield were intent on applying the pressure and worked hard from the off, but Henley kept to their gameplan and took a lead after 15 minutes. A break down the left and a combination of passes between Bruce and Cowan saw Caraccio score from six yards for 1-0. Barely 2 minutes later it was 2-0, a fine ball in from Bruce, saw a scramble in the goalmouth, Beal pushed the ball away but Cowan got it back in the mix for Caraccio to head home from close range. Henley dominated the half and were only denied increasing their lead by a well drilled Swans back line catching our strikeforce offside on a few occasions and by Beal diving low to his left to keep out a shot from Bruce
10 minutes in the 2nd half Westerfield found a route back into the game, a long ball headed on to Evans who rounded home keeper Jones to finish well for 2-1. This spurred the Swans into action and they had their best spell of the game, forcing a succession of corners and piling the pressure on. However they were lucky not to give away a penalty as their number 6 clearly handled whilst on the floor of the box as Cowan rounded him. That luck was soon to run out though, when 28 minutes into the half came the main talking point of the game, Storey harshly adjudged to have been fouled in the box, when in truth it seemed little more than an accidental collision between players. Bruce stepped up to smash the penalty home into the bottom corner for 3-1.
Westerfield heads dropped and Henley were in a ruthless mood, with 7 minutes left Golding broke down the right and played in Cowan, his first attempt to beat Beal at his near post came back off the post, but he made no mistake the 2nd time and despatched the rebound for 4-1. With minutes remaining it was 5-1, Golding again breaking down the right, his low cross expertly dummied by Francis and with defenders and keeper stranded on the floor it was slammed home by Cowan.
Not the best Henley performance, especially in contrast with last week’s heroics, but to win 5-1 without being at our best shows the strength and quality of the squad. MOTM went to the “prolific” Caraccio, who added a brace of goals to his relentless industry, Bruce and Cowan also well worthy of mention as their amazing scoring run continues. Spreads and Westerfield will rightly feel aggrieved at the softest of soft, penalty decision that was to seal their fate, Spreads and his coaching team have got the Swans playing well and with Cooper and Lytess available I can see them giving a few sides a tough time during the run in.
Although the Westerfield lads were a tad disgruntled, they were lucky to be at Henley on our annual post match chilli day, made as always by club Ultra Will and much enjoyed by all in attendance, thanks mate.
The Ressies assembled at Wenhaston looking for a positive result after a couple of improved performances in the last few weeks. With a number of players unavailable due to work commitments and injury we had only twelve fit players at kick-off. This was soon reduced to eleven after twenty minutes when Lay succumbed to the injury he picked up in the warm up and had to be replaced by our only fit substitute and debutant Nicholls. We didn't let this disruption affect us and battled bravely against some fairly robust tackling by some of the Wenhaston lads.
Half-time arrived with the score at 0-0, but we had definitely enjoyed the majority of the play. The message in the changing room was to produce more of the same after the interval and a win was a real possibility. Unfortunately, it was Wenhaston who opened the scoring after catching us on the break when one of our attacks broke down. The players were visibly angry about conceding, but the key thing was to respond in a positive way and strive for the equaliser. Thankfully, we made the score 1-1 after Ling nodded home after a very brave header by Mallick at the far post.
Overall, a very brave performance by our young team, which will stand them in good stead for the future.
Next week we’re visiting Greshams to face Cops, always a cracker between two sides that like to play proper football, always good to see Scoop and Iain too. The ressies will look to build on this week’s result as they welcome Old Newton to the Community Centre.
February 19, 2019
The best, all round performance of their time in Senior football saw Henley leave Salmet Close with all 3 points after a comprehensive 0-3 defeat of current champions Achilles.
From the whistle Henley were in the ascendancy, giving Achilles no time with our pressing game and creating chance after chance, rewatching the excellent DeeJam’s video highlights (search on YouTube for Deejam), even I was shocked at our dominance and I was there! In the first half alone, Cowan, Bruce and Tejano had 7 efforts come close, in addition to Shore having a goal ruled our for a tight offside decision and Bruce crashing a free-kick back of the junction of post and bar. Jones was only really called into action on one occasion to swiftly smother the ball as Wragg ran through, other than that the home side failed to threaten.
At HT the usually vocal home support were rather subdued, all present were amazed it was still 0-0, indeed the travelling Ulras expressed concern that we may come to rue the fact that we hadn’t taken our chances to take the lead our play so clearly deserved.
As it was, we needn’t have worried, with the lads flying out of the traps after the break. Henley finally took the lead on 53 minutes. A fine diagonal ball from Duzgun released Bruce down the left, he cut inside and beat his man before hitting a low shot, the home keeper did well to save it, but could only palm into straight to Cowan who smashed it home from 8 yards for 0-1. The relentless Henley pressure continued unabashed as Bruce combined with Caraccio, he tricked his way through, but his effort from a very narrow angle went across the face of goal and just past the post.
On 73 minutes it was 0-2, this time it was Cowan who burst down the left, beating two men to enter the box, where he unselfishly laid the ball back into the path of Bruce, who picked his spot and simply passed the ball into the net. Achilles huffed and puffed to try and find a way back into the game but saw their attempts snuffed out before they could present a threat on the visitor’s goal.
After 78 minutes it was all over, Duzgun cruised out of defence with the ball at his feet, timing his pass to Bruce to perfection, he fired a precise cross field ball into the path of a surprisingly unmarked Cowan on the right. As he attempted to lob the keeper he was fouled, Mr Tebbit waited to be sure the ball bounced over the bar, before bringing the game back and awarding the penalty, as always Bruce stepped up and slammed it low into the bottom corner to ensure our first ever win at Achilles.
I’m often, quite rightly, accused of viewing games through my Henley tinted spectacles and today fully deserves that level of praise, so excuse me whilst I adjust my best waxing lyrical trousers, pour a drink, settle back and wallow in it.
This is my 16th season at Henley and on Saturday I was proud to witness our most complete, team performance of that time. Cowan picked up the Ultras MOTM, narrowly beating George in the votes, but in all honesty I think they all deserved it equally. Jones commanded his goal, Storey and Sheppard not only curtailed any Achilles attacks, but started more than a few Henley ones. White and Shore both had terrific games, going forward as effectively as they denied Achilles possession, Tejano was everywhere, busting his lungs to get in tackle after tackle. George was calmness personified; picking passes seemingly at will, with Duzgun creamily deceiving any attempt to dispossess him. The real non league Kante, our very own Caraccio, was like a wasp at a picnic for Achilles, making his first challenge before they’d got the ball out of the centre circle from kick off and his last as the whistle blew for full time. Our front pairing of Bruce and Cowan now have 44 goals between them and are developing their lethality with every game, each of our goals Saturday came from them linking as they terrorised the home defence. Subs Golding and Francis both played their part too, seamlessly entering the match late on.
OK, OK you can come out now, apologies to any Achilles fans reading this! But when you comprehensively beat the top side in the Senior Division at their own ground. I’m sure they won’t resent my enjoyment.
Which brings me onto Achilles, admittedly, we didn’t allow them to play, but they were strangely subdued throughout and became increasingly frustrated as the game progressed. Post match, to a man, players, managers, officials and supporters they accepted there defeat in the most sporting manner imaginable. No excuses, just praise for our performance and commitment. Probably the most gracious side in defeat I’ve seen and I respect and congratulate them for their attitude. I know they’ll be hungry for revenge and the Senior Cup draw (who draws these things? lol) sees us now face each other in the semis as well as having another league game to come.
A word too for referee James Tebbit and his team who had a great game, it’s always good to see an official enjoy a game as well, thanks to the referees appointments secretaries too, that’s 3 great refs in succession! Finally, once again a big thank you to our merry band of travelling Ultras who made up over 40 of the 135 strong crowd and gave the lads incredible support throughout.
With a number of players unavailable, the Ressies assembled at HQ for the game against Bacton with a squad of twelve. We began the game on the front foot and competed well for the first thirty minutes. Unfortunately it was Bacton who opened the scoring. A second goal for the visitors soon followed to make the score at half-time 0-2. The message at half-time was that we were still in the game, with the next goal crucial. However it was Bacton who scored again to give them a 0-3 lead. We did pull a goal back through Mallick, but Bacton scored three further goals to make the final score 1-6. A difficult scoreline to take, the lads competed well and played some good football at times, but Bacton were more clinical in front of goal and taught us a lesson in decision making in the final third. I am sure our young team will learn from this and improve next week.
Unfortunately for the Vets team, we were not able to emulate the exploits of the first team by making it a 3rd semi-final for Henley, as we finally succumbed to higher league opposition in a 4-0 defeat to Walsham Le Willows in the Shield Quarter Final. A surprisingly lacklustre & disjointed first half performance which culminated in us having a mad 15 minutes at the end of the first half that saw us go in 0-4 down at half time. Strong words & demand for an improved performance were shared by all and a much better second half followed, albeit with no further score. An unfortunate incident saw us go down to 10 men with 25 minutes to go, so the fact that we did not concede further goals & could have made it difficult for Walsham with the woodwork & fine goalkeeping keeping us at bay saw us finish the game with some credit going to the lads. The silver lining being it’s one less game that we have to cram into an already tight schedule of fixtures and leaves us to concentrate our efforts on the league.
We have a club quiz night coming on Saturday 30th March, entry fee of £2.50 per person in teams of 4-6, please contact Brownie to book your places. (poster attached)
For those of you who’ve not seen the highlights video, the link is below
February 11, 2019
Henley reached the semi-finals of the Suffolk FA Senior Cup for the 1st time in their history with a 1-2 away victory at an in-form Bourne Vale Utd.
Vale applied the pressure early on, trying to stop Henley’s passing game. But it was Henley that had the better of the opening exchanges as the excellent, firm but fair referee put a quick stop to any excess physicality. The visitors took a deserved lead after 30 minutes when a lobbed ball forward from Smythe split the home defence, Cowan read it well and raced through to hook it over the advancing Walden for 0-1.
Henley came close again when White’s thunderous close range volley was cleared off the line, albeit with a strong suspicion of handball. Loud appeals followed, but the sheer venom of the shot would have made it very difficult to spot the infringement. Vale’s best effort came as Webb stung Jones’ hands with a 20 yard drive as the half drew to a close.
Early in the 2nd half a fine free-kick from Mallardo was well saved by Jones, who caught a knee to the face also saving the follow up. At the other end a deft flick by Tejano from a Bruce corner was cleared off the line, however Henley weren’t to be denied for long. On 60 minutes Bruce’s incessant pressing brought reward as he won possession deep in the Vale half, under pressure he patiently waited to play the perfect ball to the overlapping White who crossed for Caraccio, he cleverly used the existing pace on the ball and guided it into the bottom corner from 8 yards for 0-2.
This spurred Vale on to their best period of the game and they pulled one back as Oxbrow’s shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Jones for 1-2 on 65 minutes. The home side gamely tried to find a way back into the game, with the four S’s of the Henley defence Storey, Sheppard, Shore and Smythe called repeatedly into action to challenge and block as they held on for the 1-2 win.
Although a tense game for supporters of either side, this must have been a belter to watch for the neutral. Lots of quality was on display, combined with terrific pace and intensity, with every ball being competed for with 100% commitment for the full 90 minutes. For the 2nd game and 2nd quarter final running, we were blessed to have a firm, no nonsense official, this week Mr Kent from Lakenheath, who set his stall out early and communicated his decisions clearly, any player on either side, who were carded only has themselves to blame.
It was tough for the Ultras to pick their MOTM, such a good all round team performance made it seem almost harsh to select one, with the vote split amongst 6 candidates. As it was another dynamite Cowan showing saw him come out on top, but Caraccio, back in full “Kante” mode ran him close. All four defenders and keeper Jones were flawless, Bruce worked so hard and created problems all game, whilst George always wanted the ball with White and Tejano always happy to take it off him.
A word or two of praise for the travelling Ultras, in a crowd of 69, 36 were Henley supporters and they made themselves heard throughout, the lads on the pitch love to hear them and really appreciate the support, let’s keep it going!
You can see why Bourne Vale have developed into a top 6 side, they have quality throughout the side and absolutely no shortage of commitment. Despite a fierce encounter on the pitch, once the whistle blew it was handshakes, congratulations and best wishes all round, with manager Pete Gorham 1st in line. Tough competitors, but, just as it should be, sporting in defeat. We also thank them for their hospitality, which we all took advantage of, indeed when I left at 5.50p.m it was only Henley lads left in the clubhouse.
The Ressies turned up at the Community Centre with only ten players after three late call offs. Manager Ling had no choice but to pull the boots on again despite carrying an injury!
We started the game on the front foot and had more of the possession in the early exchanges, but Westerfield scored two goals in quick succession to go 2-0 up. A third soon followed but we did pull a goal back through the returning Jimmy Dunham. However Westerfield added a fourth to make the score 1-4 at HT. The team fought bravely in the second half, but Westerfield managed to score two more goals before we did pull another one back through Steve Colwill from a corner.
The final Score was 2-6, but the club should be proud of the lads who turned out yesterday, a loss admittedly, but considering we had no subs and a 53 year old injured left back, it was a brave performance.
Next week sees the 1st team visiting Achilles FC whilst the Ressies welcome Bacton Utd to the Community Centre. Both KO at 2.30.
February 3, 2019
Henley made their 1st trip to Bacton for over 3 years for a quarter final in the Bob Coleman Cup, as always the travelling Ultras were met with a warm welcome and hot coffee, on a bitterly cold day, from the ever knowledgeable and friendly home support. It’s always a pleasure to chat to their fans, they had a lot of questions and opinions on the contrast between Junior and Senior football.
As anticipated, a highly charged Bacton started energetically, applying pressure and trying to disrupt Henley’s passing game, forcing a great early chance which Smith somehow contrived to loop high over the bar from close range. Apart from this it was a series of fouls and yellow cards for both sides that were the highlights of the opening exchanges. For the home side Mortimer saw yellow for a cynical pull back on White, whilst George found his way into the book for an overtly robust challenge, as referee Mr Stobbart set his stall out early to quite rightly prioritise football over foul play.
Bruce had a fierce drive well saved after 15 minutes, Cowan both forced a save and shot narrowly wide, Jackson and White also came close, as Henley started to flow. At the other end, Bacton were pretty much restricted to longer range efforts, with as usual Taylor Holt looking dangerous. Henley took the lead on the 25 minute mark when another foul saw Bruce fire a precise free kick around the wall and into the bottom corner from 20 yards for 0-1. Just 5 minutes later, Cowan wriggled and tricked his way through the Bacton defence, only to be heavily fouled in the box, with Bruce rifling home the subsequent penalty for 0-2. The Henley period of dominance continued and 5 minutes before the break it was effectively all over as Sheppard rose highest to head home a Bruce corner at the back post for 0-3 at HT.
10 minutes into the 2nd half it really was all over after a rather bizarre goal. A Bacton striker was flagged for offside just inside the Henley half, quitting his run; the ball ran to Sheppard, as Henley had possession the referee waved play on. Henley reacted the quicker, whilst Bacton literally didn’t react at all, the visitors passing through the static home defence finishing with White drawing the keeper before rolling the ball across the box for Cowan to slot home for 0-4.
Henley made their substitutions, giving speed merchants Cowan and White a break, replacing them with Golding and Caraccio. With the game seemingly in the bag, Henley wrongly took their foot off the pedal, thus allowing a committed Bacton their best spell of the game. Within 10 minutes they pulled back a goal with a neat move following an interception. I was directly in line with the final finish, but sadly behind it, thus giving me the worst possible view as Smith, despite being sandwiched firmly between Sheppard and Smythe, managed to lift the ball on the run over the oncoming Jones for 1-4.
Bacton had another fine chance but sent it well wide, whilst an offside flag denied a one on one for them. At the other end a similar flag denied Golding a similar chance and Bruce saw an effort go wide as did Jackson. There was a lengthy delay as Kastrati collided with the immovable object that is Henley keeper Jones and had to be replaced, we’ve since discovered he sadly sustained a broken jaw in the incident. All at Henley send the skilful former Henley man our very best for a speedy and full recovery. Bacton never dropped their heads, as both sides kept looking to add to the scoreline with only a great save keeping MOTM Bruce from completing his hat trick with the very last kick of the game.
Bacton gave it their all throughout and should take pride in their performance; they have quality throughout the side with young full back Benham, catching the eye of the travelling Henley support in particular. Just an observation, but maybe Bacton were a little too wound up in the 1st half? Giving away too many silly free kicks, which cost them dearly, rather than playing the football they’re certainly capable of. A good bunch of lads, we wish them well in their Junior Cup QF next week and in the season ahead.
A good showing from referee Darren Stobbart and his team, quick to act, decisive and with good player management throughout, his communication in particular, being excellent. He wasn’t prepared to tolerate foul play anywhere on the pitch and is clearly a fan of proper football, well done.
A better performance all round from Henley, Bruce rightly claiming the Ultra’s MOTM award for a gutsy showing, including much more than his brace of goals. Strong games from Shore and White ran him close in the votes, with Big Shep also back to his best and back amongst the goals to boot, a mention also for Smythe whose stability and solidity were crucial. George, pre Superbowl, was in full quarterback mode, metronomically instigating and directing Henley’s play. With the challenges on different fronts ahead of us, the whole squad will need to be at their best. Today’s win saw us earn a home draw in the semi-final against my old pal Scoop and his Coplestonians in early March.
Thanks to all at Bacton for the excellent post match hospitality and their best wishes going forward, the chilli was especially appreciated as the lads sought to thaw out. To explain any confusion caused by the Henley players table being totally covered in cakes, it was Henley stalwart Tejano’s 30th Birthday so he was obligated to bring them in.
The Ressies welcomed back club old boys Jimmy Dunham, Danny Page and Martin Williams for the home game against East Bergholt. Unfortunately it was not a happy return for the trio, as we suffered a very heavy defeat against a very impressive Bergholt team.
The final score was 2-15, with our consolation goals scored by Prentice and Garwood. A harsh lesson for the lads but they all kept plugging away and gave their all for the club. Our young side will learn from this and move on to the next game against Westerfield.
Its another quarter final for the 1st team next week, with the challenge of a visit to Bourne Vale Utd in the Suffolk FA Senior Cup on Saturday, KO 2.00. Back at the Community Centre the ressies welcome Westerfield Utd, KO 14.30.
January 29, 2019
A good sized crowd of 73 braved a chilly afternoon at the Community Centre, but sadly a failure to take our chances, some uncharacteristic errors and occasional poor decision making from the lads, combined to see Henley tumble to a 2-3 defeat at the hands of a determined East Bergholt.
Some good early play saw Henley take a 1-0 lead after only 8 minutes, when Cowan outpaced the Bergholt defence and crossed for White to slot home. Visiting keeper Colver saved well from both a close range Francis effort and a fierce shot from Bruce, whilst Cowan tamely headed into his arms as Henley pressed. However they gifted Bergholt a goal after 20 minutes with an unnecessary foul in the box, handing them a penalty which, despite a full stretch Jones getting a finger to it, was finished from the spot by Jay for 1-1.
Controversy followed on 30 minutes as Prime and Francis competed side by side for the ball for a full 20 yards, Prime stayed on his feet until entering the box, whereupon he promptly went down and a penalty was awarded, once again finished by JAY for 1-2. Just before HT Prime showed his class instead, hitting a great cross from out wide right, which was tucked away on the run by Greenwood for 1-3, a fine goal.
The 2nd half saw a stuttering start for Henley, indeed Greenwood had a good chance to extend the visitor’s lead, but could only shoot straight at Jones. Henley laid siege to the Bergholt goal, but found keeper Colver in fine form, saving time and again from Bruce, Cowan and Tejano to maintain their lead. White's trickery finally stranded him on the floor, he passed to Bruce, but as he shaped to send the ball into the unguarded net he was crudely felled from behind, but despite the home protests, play was bewilderingly waved on.
With 12 minutes left Henley did pull a goal back as Cowan rifled home from close range for 2-3, Henley did have the ball in the net in the final minute but it was rightly disallowed for a Maradona like hand ball from Sheppard.
So consecutive losses saw us relinquish our table topping position, hard to describe what led to it, in retrospect we played well for large periods of the game and with a goalkeeper not quite so in form and a couple of decisions going our way the result may well have been different. As it was Bergholt took their chances and deserved their win, young keeper Colver had a blinder of a game, Jay and Greenwood looked the part and Prime, when vertical, impressed throughout. Henley MOTM went once again to Cowan, his dynamism and current scoring streak winning the votes.
It was good to see all the Bergholt lads in the clubhouse post match, but especially good to have a beverage or two with Griefy as we put the world to rights.
With no ressies game it’s over to Simon Butler for the Vets report.
With Manager Brown away on a Bielsa-style spying mission at Greshams it was left to Snelly Gunnar Solskjaer to mastermind the Vets relentless march to the quarter finals of the League Shield. A comprehensive 7-0 victory over Ipswich Revolution was sealed with goals from Ford (2) Mallick (2) Steve Colwill (2) and Ali Behnamnia. All in all a good, solid team performance, watched by an appreciative crowd. Henley now surely the team to avoid as we reach the business end of the competition. Back to League action next weekend away at Trimley.
It’s a break from the league next Saturday as we visit “The Carpet” at Bacton Utd for the quarter final of the Bob Coleman Cup KO 2.00. The ressies are at home to East Bergholt KO 2.30 and as already mentioned above the Vets travel to Trimley on Sunday.
January 21, 2019
A below par, stuttering, Henley performance saw a determined Benhall inflict their 1st away defeat of the season on them. Changes were once again in effect, keeper Jones was unavailable so Burton took his place between the sticks whilst Francis returned to the squad, starting from the bench.
Henley suffered an early scare when a speculative effort from very, wide right crashed down off the bar, but went straight up the other end to take a 0-1 lead when Tejano stooped to bullet home a header from a Bruce corner after 3 minutes. It was 1-1 after 11 minutes as bewilderingly; the ever dangerous Sillett was left unmarked to power home a back post header from a corner. Henley struggled to get their passing flowing, when they did, it produced some lovely moments, none more so than Bruce’s back heeled through ball to Cowan, he crossed to George, who sadly fired over. Bruce, Storey and Cowan all came close but it was Benhall who had the better chances of the half. Especially from set plays, with Burton having to make two fine diving saves from a brace of Sillett free kicks.
Henley started the 2nd half promisingly but were undone after 55 minutes when Everington took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy defending to score a fine individual goal, dribbling through to make it 2-1. On 62 minutes it was 3-1 as Henley needlessly gave the ball away in midfield and Benhall combined passes to create a good team goal, Everington once again applying the finish.
Henley finally burst into life piling on the pressure to get back in to the game, Bruce, Cowan and Tejano all coming close but denied by some brave blocks and defending. A goal looked certain when the ever classy Duzgun hit a 20 yard effort but he saw his shot smash back off the bar. After 80 minutes Bruce and Francis combined to feed Cowan who curled in an exquisite, inch perfect shot into the top corner for 3-2. But almost instantly from the kick off, a miscommunication at the back gifted Noy an easy goal for 4-2. Henley still weren’t finished and Jackson finally produced the goal his recent performances have deserved, to bring it back to 4-3, but the final whistle denied any further comeback and Benhall ran out the deserved victors.
An unexpectedly below standard showing from Henley, combined with a committed, skilful performance from Benhall to create this result, their post match celebrations showed how much the result meant and they thoroughly deserved their win. They came at us and attacked from the off and showed courage all across the pitch, skill going forward and grit at the back, well done to them.
A bad day at the office for us, our usual flow only appeared it fits and starts and our rock solid defensive unit made more errors in one game than they have in total all season, although in all fairness they have been superb, these being the first goals they’ve conceded away from home in the league since August! It’s only a blip, which as we’ve seen in recent weeks happens to all sides in this most competitive of leagues and I’m confident the lads will be purring again on Saturday. The Ultra’s MOTM went to Duzgun who kept the ball moving and always had an eye for a pass throughout.
The referee confounded and frustrated both sides equally, his unusual, but dogged reluctance to play advantage prematurely curtailed several attacks and interrupted the flow of an entertaining game that must have been a delight for the neutral.
Many thanks to Benhall for their hospitality, plenty of grub and a great post match atmosphere in the clubhouse, although the highlight for me as previously is their exceptional half time coffee!
Over to Ressies Manager Dave Ling for their match report.
The Ressies assembled at HQ for their match against Wenhaston intent on getting a positive result in this vital match. The unavailability of three out of four recognised club keepers meant that coach Jordy had to put on the gloves for the third time this season.
We started the game well and dominated possession, Birt put a great cross in from the left wing, but Ling just failed to convert. Our dominance was rewarded after 20 minutes when Mulligan was wrestled to the ground and the referee awarded a penalty, which Mallick duly despatched to put us 1-0 up. We continued to have the better of the first half, with Jordy hardly touching the ball, but we could not get that vital second goal. The message at half-time was to carry on the good work and with a bit of luck we would hold on for the win.
Wenhaston started the second half in a very determined fashion, their approach resulting in some heavy challenges, Furlong and Ling in particular being the victims of a couple of robust tackles. Unfortunately, the opposition scored the equaliser after our attack broke down when Ling was fouled on the edge of their area. No foul was given, but we still had possession, with a man down, we should have put the ball out of play, but instead we lost the ball, Wenhaston counter attacked and chipping the advancing Jordy to equalise.
With the score at 1-1, the game was evenly balanced. However, despite chances at both ends, neither side managed to add to their goal tally. Not the win we had hoped for, but I am proud of the effort and desire our young team showed against a vastly more experienced Wenhaston team.
Next week sees the 1st team welcome East Bergholt Utd to the Community Centre, K.O 2.00, I’m already looking forward to a pint and a chat with my pal Griefy. The Ressies have a free week whilst the Vets continue their League Shield campaign as they welcome Ipswich Revolution Vets on Sunday K.O 1.30.
January 14, 2019
A crowd of 66 watched a good all round team performance from Henley, which saw them run out deserved 4-0 victors over Capel Plough at the Community Centre Saturday.
Once again, Beaver and Benny shuffled their pack, Jones, Francis, Golding and Williams were all unavailable so Burton pulled on the gloves, along with a hairband for the now almost mandatory “Henley Hair” ,Smythe went to left back and Sheppard returned to centre half. Talking to my fellow scribe Bob the Ploughman pre match, revealed that Capel were short a few as well with Rigger stepping away from the game, Garrard off to the Seasiders and Captain Webb sick.
Capel started well, putting the home side under early territorial pressure, seemingly determined to apply a press on to the Henley defence. They showed great energy and commitment but failed to cause any serious goal threat. Henley, however stuck with their usual passing game, calmly playing out from the back and were rewarded with a goal after fifteen minutes. Tejano elegantly flicking the ball over the Capel back line to Cowan who raced onto the ball and lobbed advancing keeper Foxhall for 1-0. Ten minutes later it was 2-0, a neat passing move all the way from the Henley box, saw White released down the right to send in an inch perfect cross which was met firmly by the head of Cowan from six yards out, giving Foxhall no chance as the ball hit the net.
Cowan and Sheppard both missed chances to extend the lead with close range headers, but Club Captain Storey was on hand, rising to power home a back post header from an inswinging Bruce corner just before the break to send Henley in 3-0 up at HT.
Despite a spirited and proud display from Capel the game was soon put further beyond their reach. On ten minutes a corner was cleared to Jackson on the edge of the area, he crashed a murderous volley goalward which beat Foxhall but came back off the junction of post and bar, White was quickest to react, racing onto the rebound to slide the ball home for 4-0. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for Jacko, he’s hit more woodwork than a jobbing carpenter so far this season, when he gets his 1st well deserved goal of the campaign the celebrations amongst the Ultras will be a sight to behold.
Only a superb save from young Capel keeper Foxhall, who somehow got a fingertip to a vicious Cowan volley prevented the lead being further extended. This was followed with an impossibly tight offside flag cancelling out another fine Cowan finish which kept the final score at 4-0.
Another clean sheet with the defence holding firm throughout, snuffing out Capel breaks and calmly playing the ball out to instigate attacks, our midfield dominated today, George won everything, Tejano was his dynamic best, Duzgun always wanted the ball and exuded class with every polished touch. Jackson and White were raiding at will and Bruce created problems for the visiting defence for 90 minutes. The Ultra’s MOTM went to Cowan, who scored 2, should’ve had at least 3 and is growing into his forward role more and more with every game. Irrespective of personnel Henley’s passing game continues unabated, the willingness of players to challenge themselves in a variety of positions proving critical to this progression.
Capel deserve a lot of credit, despite their missing players they didn’t quit for a second and kept trying for the full 90 minutes, young 17 year old keeper Foxhall showed his shot stopping skills and is a fine prospect for the future. They’re a strong side who like to play football the right way and I’m sure manager Nathan Burrell has a signing or two up his sleeve to keep them in the top 6 at the end of the season.
Mr Stobbard and his officiating team had a very easy game, but nonetheless acquitted themselves well, alongside the Capel lads, they also fully immersed themselves in the clubhouse atmosphere post game.
Sunday saw the Vets entertain AFC Kesgrave, who play two leagues higher, in the Shield, with it being a reunion of sorts with a handful of players from both teams & the referee reminiscing about the good old days playing for Orwell Athletic many moons ago!
We were able to put out our strongest squad yet and had 4 subs at our disposal for the first time, which were definitely needed as they all played their part in a hard fought, but deserved 2-1 victory. We raced out of the blocks & into a 1-0 lead after 5 minutes when Elliott’s precision cross found Mallick who headed home from 6 yards. We went further ahead before half time with Ian Brown’s devilishly whipped corner being helped on its way into their own net by Kesgrave defender.
A few niggles & injuries in the second half left us a little disjointed and with the wind combined with Kesgrave’s desire to get back into the game saw a superb defensive rearguard action with some crucial goal saving tackles. We should have put the game beyond Kesgrave’s reach with two gilt edged opportunities however we were left to grind it out with Kesgrave’s consolation goal coming in the 4th minute of injury time.
This was our best performance so far, everyone gave their all, with Gibbs & Elliott in particular showing their class! So it was a happy dressing room afterwards although slightly tempered by the realisation that this means at least one more extra game for their ageing legs!!
Next Saturday the 1st team visit Benhall St Mary FC, with the Ressies welcoming fellow strugglers Wenhaston to the Community Centre.
January 7, 2019
Henley bounced back from the disappointment of last week’s home defeat, to stay top of the league with a comfortable 0-3 victory at Trimley Red Devils. The managers chose to make some changes, with Sheppard unavailable Smythe came in at centre half, whilst elsewhere players were asked to test themselves in different positions and tactical systems.
A good crowd of travelling Ultras made up the larger part of the 45 strong crowd braving a dull and cold day at Trimley. I was blessed with the company of visually impaired groundhopper John Stancombe from Lowestoft, an astonishing chap who has travelled far and wide already this season, visiting grounds as far away as Dublin, Wexford, Redcar, Barnsley, Hartlepool and Wythenshawe. As a Suffolk man he makes a point of visiting all Senior club grounds in the county and as Trimley were unable to provide someone to assist him, he contacted our secretary instead. He visited us in our 1st Senior season and I provided the commentary for him then and was happy to do the same again Saturday, as our Chairman so eloquently put it, I never shut up anyway, so it’ll give the other Ultras a break!
Henley dominated from the start, forcing a series of corners, with George, Francis and Cowan all coming close early on as we piled on the pressure. Henley finally broke the deadlock after 22 minutes, a good passing move created a break down the right, this saw a fine cross from Jackson headed goalward by Cowan from 6 yards, home keeper Hindley pushed the ball away but Cowan headed home the rebound from close range for 0-1. Henley were retaining possession and passing well, restricting the home side to breaks only, however they failed to cause Jones any issues in the Henley goal. After 42 minutes it was 0-2, Francis dispossessed Trimley right back West and burst forward, finding Cowan on the edge of the area, as he deceptively feigned as if to shoot, he laid the ball across the edge of the box for an unmarked Bruce to pick his spot and fire a low shot into the bottom left corner.
The 2nd half started just as strongly for Henley, White and Cowan both coming close early on before the goal of the game came on 52 minutes. Smythe hit an inch perfect diagonal 60 yard pass from the left side of defence to pick out White who was hugging the right touchline, within a few strides he played another beautiful ball, curling it behind the home defence where it was met on the run by Cowan who smashed it into the roof of the net for 0-3. George and Duzgun saw efforts go high and wide whist Storey, White and Cowan saw efforts well saved or come back off the woodwork. Late in the game Ben Golding finally made his debut from the bench after a nasty pre season injury, he enthusiastically had the ball in the net by was sadly denied by an offside flag. The home side didn’t trouble Jones, mostly being restricted to long range efforts which went either high or wide.
This was a very good, all round team performance, full of quick, clever passing and movement, MOTM Duzgun was slick throughout, whilst Caraccio, White, Jackson and George all raided forward to create problems for Trimley. A brace of goals from Cowan saw him hit double figures, while another for Bruce sees him extend his lead at the top of the scorers table. Smythe had a very good game and was influential in our defence earning their 10th clean sheet in the league so far this season. All credit to the management team, they took last week’s result on board, looked at where we went wrong and only 7 days later had the Ultras purring contentedly again with a lovely display of proper football.
Make no mistake, Trimley are a strong and organised side and kept going to the final whistle all across the pitch. Aaron Bull caught the eye of the visiting managers and Ultras alike, neat, tricky and fast, he looks a real prospect, ex Henley keeper Hindley also had a good game, making some crucial saves. Many thanks to all at Trimley for their fine hospitality and also for their gracious and kind words about our performance on social media.
The ressies tortuous season continued with a 15-1 loss to a vastly stronger and more experienced Achilles side with Mallick popping up with our only goal.
On Sunday afternoon the Vets blew away the Christmas cobwebs with a comprehensive 9-1 home win against Ipswich Phoenix. Mark Francis and Nathan Day both made impressive debuts whilst manager Brownie donned the gloves and gave a steady performance which supporters allegedly claimed was reminiscent of Neville Southall, (Hat’s note: match report provided by said Manager/Keeper)
Goals came from Mallick and Ford hat tricks with one each from Snell, Clements and Ian Brown. It could have been more but Gibbs and Colwill both decided that leaning back whilst shooting was the preferred technique in front of goal. Rumours abound that our esteemed and respected Club Secretary received a yellow card as frustration got the better of him? I for one refuse to believe such a scurrilous accusation, I shall have to consult Club Captain Storey who turned up to run the line for his opinion.
Next Saturday sees Capel Plough visiting the Community Centre, K.O 2.00, I look forward to a catch up with my fellow scribe The Ploughman. The ressies have a free week and the Vets welcome AFC Kesgrave for a Shield game on the Sunday, K.O 1.30.
December 30, 2018
A season’s best crowd of 132 gathered to see a lacklustre Henley’s 12 match unbeaten run come to an end as Cranes inflicted their first defeat since September on them, with a deserved 0-2 victory.
Henley started brightly, passing well but were stunned by a fine early goal from Cranes after only 4 minutes play. Thrower wriggling clear of Cowan and Shore to send in a perfect cross which was well finished by Fike at the back post for 0-1 as home keeper Jones conceded only his 1st league goal since signing. Henley continued to press and had efforts narrowly wide from Cowan and Bruce as both sides waged a midfield battle of attrition. Henley’s best chance came after 29 minutes, Francis won possession in midfield and switched the play across the pitch to the right, finding Cowan, who played in a great cross which Francis continued his run to meet, but headed narrowly wide from 6 yards.
On 31 minutes came the main talking point of the game, Shore was adjudged to have brought down Blades in the box and Leggett expertly despatched the resulting penalty for 0-2. I’ll look forward to seeing the Cranes Facebook video, as from my, admittedly distant, viewpoint and considering the trajectory of the ball, it looked a good tackle. Blades went down in the box again shortly after, but his appeals were waved away this time.
The 2nd half saw few chances at either end, Cowan had an effort deflected wide by a brave block and Williams saw an effort superbly cleared off the line, in addition to having a strong penalty appeal turned down as he was clearly felled. Thrower and Blades continued to menace for Cranes but the score remained at 0-2 at FT.
Cranes were well worthy of their win on the day, they simply performed better across the pitch with Thrower showing his class throughout. Yes, Henley suffered a “challenging” penalty decision, but it in no way takes anything away from Cranes who unreservedly deserved their victory. Henley were generally pedestrian and we lacked our usual gloss and spark, our passing game didn’t find it’s rhythm on the day and we failed to create enough chances overall to find our way back into the game. Beaver and Benny were understandably disappointed after the game, but you learn a lot from a defeat and I’m confident we’ll ultimately benefit from the experience. As it was, with results going our way elsewhere, we stayed top of the table to finish 2018.
Rads and all the Cranes lads came in the bar post match and were very gracious in their victory. It’s always a pleasure to have a chat with Rads, although I’m sure he enjoyed our Sunday morning text conversation even more. As a tired and hungover Hat managed to text him my own number, rather than the community centre steward’s, reducing Rads to gales of laughter.
Irrespective of the result we’re having a great season, playing the most entertaining football I’ve seen in my 16 seasons at the club. I and all the Ultras would like to thank Beaver, Benny and all the lads for the entertainment; we look forward to it continuing in 2019.
Next Saturday sees us visit Trimley Red Devils, whilst the ressies visit Achilles FC, both KO at 2.00.
On behalf of all at Henley AFC I’d like to wish all our managers, coaches, players, supporters and sponsors and everyone else connected with local football a very happy new year.
December 18, 2018
Forget all about “Winter is Coming”, judging by Saturday, it’s already here! A good sized contingent of Ultras gathered for a warming pre-match coffee in the welcoming Grundisburgh clubhouse before braving the Arctic conditions and taking their place on the touchline. Some, including our esteemed club secretary, were wearing so many layers they presented an unrecognisable silhouette. George and Shore were given a rest on the bench, White was still suspended, Jones was moving house, so Burton stepped up to take his place in goal. This is always a challenging game, irrespective of league positions, so many ex Henley lads are now at Grundisburgh and they always have a point to prove.
Henley started on the front foot, Cowan and Bruce both causing Grundisburgh issues early on, home keeper Johnson saved well to deny Francis whilst Seaman denied Jackson and blocked an effort from Bruce. Cowan smashed a shot off the bar from a narrow angle and at the other end Sheppard blocked an effort from Eales before Burton made sure of a long range shot from Steward, pushing it round the post. Tejano was pulling the strings in the middle, winning almost every ball and driving forward, shooting over before Johnson denied him again with a smart stop. After 35 minutes Bruce raced clear but saw his effort well blocked by Johnson, Cowan reacted quickest to get to the rebound and squared for Bruce to slot home from 6 yards for 0-1. Cook came close for the home side, latching on to a fine ball from Gibson before being well tackled by Sheppard. Just before the break Jackson’s low drive from the edge of the area was well saved by Johnson, but again Cowan was the quickest to react firing home from 6 yards to make it 0-2 at HT. The Ultras showed a surprising turn of pace en route for halftime refreshment and warmth in the clubhouse, the home hospitality excellent, especially my slice of cake!
Grundisburgh were even grittier and harder to break down in the 2ndhalf, but Henley still had the lion’s share of both possession and chances. Duzgun put Jackson through but he fired wide, whilst a high, looping cross from Smith forced Burton into a precautionary tip over. A couple of fine passing moves saw Cowan hit the side netting and once again a Jackson effort went wide. Burton was called into action to block a Smith shot with his legs, before a great run from Storey saw his 25 yard drive whistle just over. With 12 minutes remaining Tejano’s shot was blocked and Bruce rifled in the rebound, Johnson pushed it up onto the bar, but it was judged to have already crossed the line for 0-3. Smith thought he’d pulled back a consolation goal for the home side as he prodded the ball past Burton, but Storey was on hand to clear for a final score of 0-3.
Another win, despite not being at our best, albeit in awful conditions. MOTM went to Jackson, who despite spurning chances was in the right place every time. Tejano ran him close, winning the ball and instigating forward play throughout, whilst Caraccio was in full Kante mode as usual. Bruce and Cowan are looking deadlier with each game together and were both on the scoresheet again, for the third game in succession. As for Grundisburgh, their style of play and skill belies their lowly position, their heads never dropped and they kept playing the game the right way up until the final whistle, Henley old boy Seaman excelling throughout. If they keep playing this way, they’ll get out of trouble.
After another challenging week trying to assemble a matchday squad, the Ressies went into the home game against Bramford without a recognised goalkeeper, Joint-Manager Jordy bravely volunteered to put the gloves on. We started the game brightly and had the majority of the play, but Bramford took the lead from a shot from just outside the box. We continued to dominate and Ling hit the underside of the bar with a long range shot, but the ball bounced away from goal instead of over the line! However, our good football was soon rewarded when Mallick equalised with a well taken free-kick and and soon afterwards scored again with another good finish to put us 2-1 up. Bramford then took advantage of a back pass which held up in the wind and their striker managed to slot the ball past the advancing Jordy to make it 2-2. It was end to end stuff and we went 3-2 up when Mallick completed his hat-trick from close range.
The half time whistle blew and Manager Ling emphasised the need to remain focused in the second half and not let Bramford back in the game.
Unfortunately, we could not maintain the standards we had set in the first half and Bramford amazingly went 6-3 up with a couple of penalties and two avoidable goals. Mallick did get his fourth of the afternoon to make it 4-6 , but Bramford scored another before the end to make the final score 4-7! Despite the scoreline this was a characterful and gutsy performance from the lads, hopefully we’ll soon be able to field a full side and show what we’re really capable of. MOTM? Who else but 4 goal Martell Mallick, winding back the years and firing them home!
Sunday saw the Vets side welcome Cockfield Utd, despite a brave and spirited performance we went down 0-4 to the league leaders. They’re clearly aiming to climb and even win the league and showed their quality and desire to win.
Availability was an issue again, with Secretary Simon and Treasurer/Ressies Manager Dave helping out with a combined age of 108 and doing themselves proud. Although manager Brownie expressed concerns about his centre half Dave wearing white boots! To be fair to the boys, although we struggled against a decent side we were in the game until a couple of goals finished us off late on. Another one through the legs for Leon, but he did pull off some great saves. Gibbo tried hard to create something and was turning the clock back with some of his tackles. As a group, we kept going right to the end and showed a great attitude, which is what we’re all about!
Next Saturday sees the 1st team welcome Bramford Utd to the Community centre, the ressies and vets have free weeks so we’re hoping for a bumper crowd.
December 11, 2018
A crowd of 67 braved the showers to watch Henley overpower Wenhaston, cutting through them time and again to record a 9-0 victory.
Wenhaston had clearly set out to play a pressing game and showed phenomenal energy and commitment as the game began, chasing Henley all across the pitch. However it was still Henley that dominated, Canham having to be on his best to save from Storey within the first 5 minutes. After 15 minutes it was 1-0 as Bruce fired in a rebound from around the penalty spot, after Cowan’s close range effort was well saved. A great passing move saw Francis’s effort blocked on the line, but Bruce made no mistake slotting home the rebound from just inside the area for 2-0 a mere 5 minutes later. On 35 minutes Bruce completed his hat trick from the penalty spot after Cowan had been brought down. On 40 minutes a slick passing move down the left saw Bruce send in a low, driven cross which was smashed into the roof of the net, from close range at the back post, for 4-0 by Cowan. Just before the half it was 5-0, Bruce turning his marker on the edge of the box, before spinning to curl one into the top corner.
15 minutes into the 2nd half it was 6-0 Jackson’s cross to the far post was headed down and across the face of goal by Tejano, before being smashed home by Cowan from 6 yards. Tejano saw his fierce volley well saved at the near post. but wasn’t to be denied for long. Henley’s 7th was amazing to watch, a Duzgun cross was initially headed against the post via Canham’s fingertips by Tejano, who was the quickest to react to the rebound, heading it in from a semi-prone position for 7-0. Then came the goal of the game, Smythe’s close range effort looped high and out of the box, only to be slammed home from 20 yards by Bruce with a left foot volley for 8-0. With 5 minutes remaining a great ball from Cowan released the lively Jackson to cross which was met on the 6 yard line by Bruce for 9-0 and to complete his double hat trick.
A terrific all round team performance, with MOTM going to who else, but double hat trick hero Bruce, he was quite simply unplayable and in the right place, all the time, every time, outstanding. Cowan bagged a brace too, dynamic and intelligent, he’s a big part of our team, George is at his best, threading the needle with his passing, whilst Jackson was at the heart of our attack. The camaraderie amongst the lads and the pre and post game atmosphere is a delight to experience. Beaver and Benny are doing a great job and seem to have found the key to extracting the performances required from the lads.
I’ve got to give Wenhaston a huge amount of credit too, they were hit hard by a pre season exodus, but have held themselves together and got a team out every week. Not only that, but they play the game the right way, despite their obvious frustrations they’ve not resorted to the thuggery so commonly seen in struggling sides and have some fine young players. I know when people look at the score lines of our two meetings they may find this odd, but their MOTM in both games has to be their young keeper Travis Canham. In both matches his shot stopping has been excellent, as has his all round handling and kicking, a real prospect for the future.
The Ressies tricky season continued as they travelled to Bacton looking to build on a much improved performance in their last game against Cops. Manager Ling had named a squad of 15, but unfortunately two late call-offs, one of which was the goalkeeper, meant that we were down to 13.
Rob Ling bravely volunteered to go in goal and made a few good saves in the opening exchanges. After twenty minutes Bacton’s first goal was bizarre in that a clearance deflected off one of their forwards from about twenty five yards and looped over Ling into the net. Two more goals from Bacton followed to make the score at half time 3-0
.Bacton had a storming second half and scored a further eight goals, running out well deserved winners with a final score of 11-0. A bad day at the office, however, we must forget this game and move onto next week.
Next week the 1st team visit Grundisburgh, whilst the ressies welcome Bramford Utd ressies to the community centre, both K.O at 2.00.
December 3, 2018
Despite the rotten weather a large contingent of Ultras made the trip to Benhall St Mary, to see Henley progress to the Bob Coleman Cup quarter finals with a deserved 1-4 victory. In fact I’m proud to say, that even counting the few souls sheltering in their cars, or taking a long distance view through the clubhouse windows with the “Prawn sandwich brigade”, the Ultras outnumbered the home support. Once again the dynamic duo of Beaver and Benny made some changes, with White suspended, Duzgun being given the day off completely and Shore taking a rest, starting from the bench.
The home side set their stall out early, diving into challenges almost before the sound of the whistle had faded. However Henley started brilliantly, scoring a breathtaking goal after two minutes, quick movement and nine one touch passes between Bruce, George, Tejano and Cowan, bisected the home defence and saw Cowan rifle home for 0-1. One of the best team goals I’ve ever seen the team score and right up there with the now legendary “Stanton away” goal from two seasons ago in the hall of fame of great Henley goals. Henley dominated, but were on the end of some hefty challenges as Benhall sought to find a way into the game, to such an extent that we had over 10 free kicks awarded to us in the 1st half alone. As it was, a route back in was gifted to them, a misplaced pass from defence saw an under pressure Sheppard give away a penalty, which Sillett banged home for 1-1 after 20 minutes. Henley continued to have the better of the game, but Benhall had their best period of play and could have taken a lead, but amazingly contrived to spurn a clear cut chance, hitting the bar from a yard out.
The visitors were straight on the attack in the 2nd half as again the home tackles flew in, Tejano on the receiving end of a kick long after the ball had gone. Their pressure was rewarded with a penalty for handball, expertly and ferociously despatched, almost through the keeper, by Bruce for 1-2. From a corner Sheppard smashed a header off the bar and who else but Storey was quickest to react, muscling his way through the melee to finish from close range for 1-3. Benhall, to their credit, never gave up and kept pushing forward, this inevitably left space behind which Henley took full advantage of, Francis, Bruce, Cowan, Tejano and sub Crocker all coming close. In the dying minutes a combination between George, Shore and Cowan saw a cross find Bruce at the back post, he cut in and finished well for 1-4.
A tough game, against talented, strong and physical opposition, in dreadful conditions on a difficult surface, but, nonetheless a gritty team performance saw us win through to the quarter finals. Despite all the obstacles the lads kept to their philosophy of playing the passing game and their quality saw them through. No longer the “soft touch” Henley from a few years back, previously susceptible to the rather lazy and primitive “They don’t like it up ‘em” tactics, make no mistake, these lads have some real steel about them and won’t back away from a physical challenge. MOTM went to the all action Cowan, his dynamism saw him just pip Caraccio, Bruce and Francis in the Ultras voting. Credit to all the lads though as everybody played their part, worked hard for each other and most have the bruises to show for it.
A word or two about Benhall, yes they have a couple of overly physical players, but they have some extremely skilful ones too, who would grace any side in the Senior division, Sillett and Miller have always been a cut above and Ridgard is a fine defender, but it was the classic centre forward Winter who drew the most praise from the travelling Ultras, he’s a real handful. I know as a club they are making every effort to improve their playing surface, some clubs are happy with an agricultural pitch and use it as a “leveller”, however Benhall are not in that category, it’s evident they want to play proper football and have the players to do it, the sooner they sort their pitch out the better it will be for them, as well as for visiting teams. Many thanks for the welcome and hospitality too, certainly the finest half-time cup of coffee in local football!
Next Saturday we’re at home at last after three weeks on the road, welcoming Wenhaston Utd to the Community Centre. The ressies visit “The carpet” at Bacton Utd, both K.O at 2.00. Sunday sees the Vets side welcome AFC Kesgrave in the League Shield K.O 1.30.
November 26, 2018
The first team’s run of potentially tricky away fixtures continued on Saturday, with a visit to table topping Capel Plough. It’s always one of my favourite trips of the year, as a fine welcome from the Ploughman is guaranteed; this is further enhanced by a slice of The Lady Ploughman’s excellent Victoria sponge at HT. A crowd of 85 had gathered to watch, what the BBC Suffolk Non League show called the SIL game of the week.
Once again Beaver and Benny rang the changes, giving George and Cowan a rest on the bench and awarding starts to Jackson and Caraccio. It’s fair to say the lads were bolstered by last week’s cup victory at Lakenheath and they took to the field full of confidence and positivity. Instantly pushing Capel back with our pressure and passing we won an early corner after only 3 minutes, swung in by Bruce, an unmarked Storey rose to head home past Bedingfield for a 0-1 lead. Capel kept pushing forward but failed to create any major threat, whilst at the other end White forced a save and Francis had an effort cleared off the line. Another corner on 20 minutes, again from Bruce, saw Sheppard elegantly sweep the ball home into the top corner from just inside the area for 0-2.
Henley’s passing and movement continued to dominate, Storey collecting the ball in his own half and rampaging past 4 defenders, exchanging passes with Duzgun and Tejano before he got inside the Capel box, sadly his finish went wide before a lively Jackson also had an effort tipped over. Henley made it 0-3 after 35 minutes, Francis cutting across the ball to fire it into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Our defence’s scoring spree continued as Storey added his second from 10 yards to make it 0-4 at HT. An astonishing 1st half performance which contained some of our best ever football sent the Ultras off for cake with broad smiles on their faces.
The second half started in a similar vein, White took advantage of a defensive error to win back possession before unselfishly squaring to Bruce who stroked the ball home from 6 yards for 0-5. White’s pace was causing mayhem amongst the Capel defence and as he broke free once again he was pulled back by Whitman who received a red card. Minutes later as White once more cut inside, he was brought down yet again, whilst on the ground he was stood on and kicked and sadly he retaliated. As is so often the case in these instances the initial contact was missed by the referee and only his retaliation was punished, probably the only error in a fine performance by the officials. No complaints about the red card though, our players are constantly warned about responding in that manner.
The managers bought on all 3 subs and they all had and immediate impact, George creating chances and Smythe bursting his lungs with runs up and down the pitch as well as hitting the bar. Cowan looked to have won a penalty, as he was brought down after winning possession, but the ball was adjudged to have not left the area, as the game drew to a close at 0-5.
The Ultra’s MOTM went to Club Captain Storey, who in addition to his 2 goals had a terrific, all round game. Jackson, Bruce and Tejano also drew fulsome praise for their all action efforts, but the overall team performance was so exceptional it’s almost wrong to single out individuals amongst the 14. To Capel’s credit, apart from a couple of lads who let their frustration get the better of them, they kept going and playing football in the right way for a full 90 minutes. Their organisation and the way they kept their shape was evident to all watching, it’s easy to see why they’re doing well. Many thanks to Bob for the welcome and for his match report, with so few teams bothering to produce one now it was nice to have an evening off! Thanks also to the Capel Manager, Nathan and their Captain, Shaun for their kind comments about our club and style of play, on social media following the game.
The Ressies again had a number of players unavailable for the difficult fixture away at Coplestonians.
Two late call offs on the morning of the match meant that Managers Ling (Senior) and Jordy had to bravely start the game, leaving Chairman Leggett to run the line! These guys are a real credit to our club and epitomise the spirit of local football, well done lads!
Despite all of the problems, the team did a superb job in the first half. Cops had a few chances well dealt with by keeper Knights, but we managed to go in at half-time with the score at 0-0. It was all to play for in the second half.
Unfortunately, Cops soon scored with a looping header and got a second goal shortly afterwards.We pulled a goal back to make the score 2-1 after Brandon (The Butcher) Burton finished smartly from a corner. At this stage we were back in the game and striving for the equaliser. A few near misses from half chances and free kicks followed, but a goal didn’t come our way. With virtually the last kick of the game, ex Henley player Sandilands scored from a counter attack to make the final score 3-1. We held our own for long periods of the game against the League leaders, so we can approach our next game in a couple of weeks with renewed confidence.
Next Saturday the first team are on the road once again, visiting Benhall St Mary in the Bob Coleman Cup, KO 1.30. No games for either the ressies or vets next week so please come along and support the 1st team.
November 19, 2018
The squad and Ultras assembled at the Community Centre mid morning Saturday to board the coach for the club’s Senior Cup tie against Thurlow Nunn side Lakenheath FC. Settled comfortably into the journey with several of the Ultras enjoyably refreshed it was noticed by our “Kit Man” that we appeared to not have the kit onboard! Fortunately a quick phone call saw some Ultras coming by car diverted via Henley and the kit safely delivered (Thanks Dodge, Cheryl and Chalky).We received a fine welcome on arrival at Lakenheath’s excellent facilities and whilst the players walked the pitch and warmed up, us Ultras decided to further our quest for refreshment. By kick off time a crowd of 122 were there as we took our places, adjacent to a vociferous home support, to cheer the lads on.
Henley started strongly, our passing game having an immediate impact as we carved through Lakenheath to take a lead after only 5 minutes, good build up play between Tejano and George released Shore out wide right, his pinpoint back post cross was smuggled home by White for 0-1. Henley continued to dominate for the opening half hour, out passing the home side time and again, but Lakenheath’s experience saw them back in the game and they equalised on the stroke of half-time when a long ball from the back was neatly volleyed home by Hawley for 1-1 at HT
Again Henley started well and were rewarded with a goal within 2 minutes of the restart. A mesmerising combination of around 10 one touch passes between, Bruce, Duzgun, Cowan and George, found Francis cutting in from the left who slid the ball home into the far corner for 1-2. Within a minute Henley were denied a blatant penalty as George played a through ball to White who was pushed over from behind when clean through on goal. After 10 minutes a free kick was cleared from the Henley area but was brilliantly finished by the impressive Enaro for 2-2. Brave blocks and a fine save denied Bruce and Tejano and the home keeper pushed away a fierce drive from Cowan. Lakenheath piled the pressure on, especially from a multitude of long throws, but the game finished 2-2 and went to penalties.
Francis tucked the 1st Henley pen away neatly but Jackson hit the bar with our second, but Jones did well to save Lakenheath’s second to keep it at 1-1. White, Tejano, Bruce and George all hit superb pens to make it 4-5 before Jones became the hero saving yet again to see us through to the quarter finals. Needless to say this caused mayhem amongst the 30 visiting Ultras who stood as one to applaud the lads off the pitch as the home fans slipped away.
This was a very impressive team performance, MOTM went to Shore who managed the tricky Enaro well all game, as well as raiding up the wing alongside Francis. Tejano was everywhere and alongside George broke up pretty much everything Lakenheath threw at us. Our defence had a lot to deal with, Lakenheath are usually free scoring and have a dangerous front three, their long throws were a threat all game but Sheppard and Storey saw them off throughout. Duzgun and Cowan fed White and Bruce who terrorised the home defence for 90 minutes, Jackson also made a real impact when he came on. Although he failed to keep a clean sheet for the 1st time in his 5thappearance! Jones was the hero on the day, safe handling and leadership as well as his saves.
The journey home was a noisy one as the team and Ultras all returned to the Community Centre to attend Clipper’s 80th Birthday Party, I think it’s fair to say, he had a great day!
Many thanks to Lakenheath, it’s easy to see why they’re as high as they are in the league, they’re well organised, young and fit and have some real quality throughout the side. Thanks also to their officials who gave us a great welcome and to their supporters who certainly added to the experience on the day!
The Ressies were looking to build on last week’s good performance; however injuries and unavailability meant that the match day squad was reduced to only 12 again! The first half proved to be hard work against a considerably more experienced Achilles side, but we managed to hold our own until the opposition went ahead with a deflected goal to make it 0-1 at HT. The management team stressed to the players that we were still in the game and that there was all to play for in the second half. Unfortunately, we conceded an early goal and the opposition managed to score a further 3 goals to make the final score 0-5. Player injuries and a lack of subs did not help our cause, but Achilles deserved the win, although perhaps the 5 goal margin was somewhat harsh.
Sunday saw the Vets visit Bury Town FC. With eight players unavailable we managed to put together 12 which soon turned to 11 after 25 minutes through injury. Despite going 2-0 up in the first half with goals from Ian Brown & Mark Snell we struggled to impose ourselves in a game that was there for the taking and in the end held on for a 2-2 draw. With at least a couple of the eight being available I'm sure we would have gone on to get a win, but the guys battled hard & with a few walking wounded for the last 15 minutes did us proud.
Next Saturday the 1st team are back in league action with a visit to leaders Capel Plough, whilst the ressies visit Coplestonians, Both KO at 2.00.
November 12, 2018
A good size crowd of 76 watched Henley progress to round 3 of the Bob Coleman Cup with a 2-1 victory over Claydon. Henley made some changes with Storey and Smythe starting and Butcher in goal as Jones who had a minor pull was rested alongside Francis, Jackson and Caraccio.
Despite early Henley pressure in the opening minutes, it was Claydon who came closest with Parsons crashing a shot off the post after 5 minutes. Henley then dominated forcing a series of corners and another collection of brave defensive blocks and saves from Dixon and his defence to keep out Bruce, Cowan, White, Storey, Smythe and Duzgun. Home keeper Butcher did well to tip over a point blank effort from Webster whilst Dixon made a terrific, flying save to keep out a Bruce freekick to keep it 0-0 at the break. Talk at half-time was of deva vu as like the previous week Henley had chance after chance but found Dixon in fine form. However Claydon were certainly attacking more, with their front men looking far more dangerous than before.
The Claydon support thought they had a shout for a penalty early in the 2nd half when the ball hit the back of Sheppard’s arm, but nothing was awarded. Claydon ventured forward more but it was Henley still having the most of the play. Mid half the pressure finally told when a precise pass from Tejano released Bruce 1 on 1 with Dixon, he skipped past, but the keeper brought him down and Bruce smashed home the subsequent penalty for 1-0. With 25 minutes remaining Beaver and Benny made the bold decision to make a triple substitution, bringing on Caraccio, Jackson and Francis which quickly paid dividends. Henley pressure continued and good interplay between Jackson and Tejano after Caraccio had won possession, saw Francis through, unmarked at the back post and he confidently slid the ball home for 2-0.
To their credit Claydon never gave up and with 8 minutes left Knock pulled one back for the visitors with a well struck free kick for 2-1. Dixon saved superbly from Jackson, tipping over a top corner bound effort as Henley looked to increase their lead, whilst Claydon’s last chance of an equaliser went high over the bar when it looked easier to score.
A good team performance and a change of tactics by the managers saw us through with the Ultras MOTM going to Duzgun who once again gave a midfield masterclass. George ran him close though, as did Jackson, despite him only having 25 minutes on the pitch.
Many thanks to the Claydon players, management and support for their kind words post match and also for packing out the clubhouse post match, as they enjoyed the Henley hospitality. They’re a strong side who’ll give a good account of themselves in Senior football especially with the shackles off going forward.
After a stressful week trying to cobble a team together because of unavailability and injuries, the Ressies made their way to Mendlesham with a squad of 12 .The team welcomed new signing Harry Hammett and we had Vets keeper Leon Studd helping us out as Butcher was called up for 1st team duty. The pre-match preparation was somewhat rushed, as we were waiting around to get into our changing rooms, so the warm ups were fairly limited! However, despite this Manager Ling stressed in his pre-match team talk, how big a game this was for the Ressies, as it was only the second league game we had played against a team in the lower half of table, so far this season. Suffice to say, we desperately needed to get at least a point from the game.
The first half was fairly evenly contested, although to be fair Mendlesham had more clear chances, the half-time whistle blew with the score at 0-0. In the second half Henley had to build on the good football they had been playing and be more clinical with the final pass and in front of goal. The team responded superbly and within fifteen minutes we were 2-0 up thanks to a couple of goals from Mallick! Unfortunately, Hammett had to be substituted, no doubt suffering the effects of playing his first game for well over a year, this forced Manager Ling to go on standby as the only sub left!
Mendlesham started to throw everything at us and won a dubious free kick on the edge of the box, this was duly converted to make the score 1-2. With 20 minutes remaining, some of the players were struggling with knocks and regrettably Mendlesham forced an equaliser to make it 2-2.
The players were obviously disappointed in the dressing room afterwards, coming so close to that elusive win, however, we can take a lot of positives from this performance and must build on it next week.
Saturday sees the 1st team travel the Thurlow Nunn Division 1 side Lakenheath FC in the Suffolk FA Senior Cup K.O 2.00, the sort of tie we always hoped we’d get a chance at when we joined Senior football. Our generous sponsor DQ Services has provided a coach which will be leaving the Community Centre at 11 a.m for both players and supporters. There are a limited number of seats still available for supporters which are available for £10, if you’d like to book, please get in touch.
The ressies are at home to Achilles reserves K.O 2.00
November 5, 2018
Henley visited newly promoted Claydon FC to resume our longstanding local rivalry, after a gap of a couple of seasons. A frustrating afternoon for the large travelling Henley support saw Claydon escape with a point after a 0-0 draw, in no little part due to a terrific performance from home keeper Dixon. Henley enjoyed around 80% possession and created chance after chance with visiting keeper Jones barely troubled throughout.
Claydon had the 1st chance, forcing a push round the post from Jones giving the home side their only corner of the match within the first minute. After 15 minutes a fierce drive from George forced a save at Dixon’s near post and from the subsequent corner he once again tipped over an excellent curling effort from Duzgun. Henley utterly dominated, White, Bruce and Duzgun coming close again and Claydon were pretty much trapped in their own half.
The 2nd half, with the exception of the odd breakaway, saw Henley lay siege to the home goal (on Twitter Saturday evening, Claydon keeper Dixon used #Alamo), attack after attack, corner after corner followed. Jackson was having a great game, causing mayhem raiding down the right, whilst Francis did the same on the left. Dixon made great saves to deny White, Bruce, Duzgun, Tejano, George and Francis, Sheppard and Storey headed over as the Claydon goal lived a charmed life. With 5 minutes of normal time remaining Tejano finally headed home a White cross, only for it to be cancelled out by a tight offside decision.
Henley played some outstanding passing football in what was the most one sided 0-0 thrashing I’ve seen in years, but goals win games and we couldn’t find a way past a keeper at the top of his game on the day. I know Beaver and Benny will be working hard on this and we’ll try again next week in the cup game!
Duzgun was outstanding throughout, time and again his elegance and trickery caused confusion in the Claydon defence and purrs of delight from the Henley Ultras. Caraccio and Tejano were everywhere, pressurising throughout, winning the ball back quickly on the rare occasions Claydon had possession. Bruce and White must be still wondering how they didn’t score, against another keeper they would have both had a brace at the very least. Our defence was imperious, snuffing out any foray forward from Claydon and starting off every move out from the back. As already mentioned, our fullbacks Jackson and Francis created opportunities all through the game, whilst MOTM Cowan was as dynamic as ever.
To their credit Claydon did a terrific job, Kenny had a plan to defend in numbers and his team stuck to it and whilst we breached that defence on several occasions, keeper Dixon had a worldie of game and kept us out. I’ll also credit Claydon with a great welcome accompanied by top hospitality both before and after the game. James Tebbit and his team officiated well and with his usual good humour, despite the amount of time spent with home players needing physio attention in the 2nd half, he was quite right and I did get home in time for Strictly Come Dancing!
Saturday see the 1st team in Bob Coleman Cup action as Claydon visit the Community Centre K.O 1.30, the ressies are on the road at Mendlesham K.O 2.00.
The Henley Vets Fixture list is here.
October 29, 2018
A crowd of 56 assembled on the first bitterly cold Saturday afternoon of the season to see a comfortable 2-0 win for Henley over Leiston St Margarets. Henley fielded a much changed line up, with centre halves Storey and Sheppard and full back Shore all absent through suspension, holiday and injury respectively. Following his terrible injury last week, striker Griggs was convalescing at home following surgery which has left him with two metal plates and a handful of screws holding his leg together. These changes saw attacking midfielder Cowan drop in as centre half alongside Smythe.
To all intent and purpose the game was all over after the opening 20 minutes. Henley started off superbly, passing the ball around and maintaining possession, barely allowing Leiston a touch. They took a deserved lead after 4 minutes when a move of many passes culminated with Smythe picking out a perfect, defence splitting, ball to release Bruce who finished well, beating the keeper at his near post for 1-0. The home dominance was maintained as Henley came close time and again before Bruce added another after 20 minutes, this time curling one in direct from a corner for 2-0. Henley continued to dominate, to such an extent that Leiston didn’t have the ball in the home penalty area once in the first half.
The 2nd half continued in a similar vein, albeit that Leiston were far more committed and played much better than they had in the opening period. Despite a terrific show of character from the visitors, it was still all Henley and only some brave defending, a couple of good saves and a tendency to over play a little by Henley kept the final score a 2-0. Bruce, Francis, White, Tejano, George and Cowan all came close for the home side, whilst Jones in the Henley goal literally didn’t have a single shot on target to deal with all game.
MOTM very narrowly went to Cowan, playing way out of position at centre half he looked so comfortable alongside an imperious Smythe, it seemed he’d played there forever. Bruce will feel justifiably aggrieved to be narrowly pipped to the award, he was close to his best today, terrifying the home defence every time he got the ball. Carracio was in full “Kante” mode whilst Duzgun oozed elegance with every touch. All in all a fine team performance and deserving of the 3 points. We also enjoyed the visit of James and his wife from Deejam Productions, his video of the game and his interview with Beaver and Benny are on YouTube for all to view, just search “Deejam”.
After an unexpected week off, the Ressies returned to League action at East Bergholt. We went into the game looking for that elusive first win, but unfortunately got off to a bad start by conceding inside the first ten minutes with their centre forward allowed a free header inside the box. The opposition continued to dominate most of the possession and scored two more goals before half-time. We only managed a couple of efforts on goal in the first half, a long range volley by Ling and a shot by Mallick from inside the penalty area, neither of which forced the keeper into making a save.
With the score at half-time 3-0, Manager Ling emphasised the importance of scoring the next goal. Early in the second half Mallick duly obliged, by smashing the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle. At 3-1 we were back in the game, but unfortunately Bergholt broke away and their forward scored with a lob from thirty yards to make it 4-1. Shortly afterwards centre-half Dunham was sent-off after receiving his second yellow and we found ourselves once again down to ten men. The opposition made their extra man count and scored three further goals to make the final score 7-1. Another disappointing day for the Ressies, but we must remain positive and believe that our results will improve.
Sunday saw the Vets side entertain Black Boy from Bury in our first home league game of the season. After 4 games in 5 weeks it was nice to get to the true nature of Vets football of the promised once every 3 weeks to give our delicate bodies a chance to recover. This was a game that saw us dominate possession, much like the first team on Saturday, but struggling in the final third. This was frustrating and saw us going a goal behind from a fine goal from the visitors. This spurred us on to push for the equaliser which Ian Brown did after being moved from full back to right wing (tactical genius some say!!) with a fine finish from the edge of the box. So honours even at half time & much talk from the players of being more clinical and getting the much deserved win in the second half.
It was 2-1 after a pin point cross from Ian Currey found Mallick who expertly volleyed home, and then the goal of the game to make it 3-1 after a well worked penalty kick routine which saw Club Captain Trevor Standring stroll up after Adie Roper was hauled down in the box to play a 1-2 off the keeper for Ali Behnamnia to curl home a wonderful finish with this standing foot! Further goals from Mallick & Roper made it a deserved 5-1 and if Tel, Adie & Stevie Colwill had an ounce of composure we would have won by more, but it was a great performance with MOTM Ian Currey with two assists and “high quality aerial dominance” epitomising the attitude and spirit within the club. It certainly helped having a few subs which allowed some rotation & rest for our ageing warriors and hopefully we can continue this fine form with our next game away to Bury Town Reserves 18th November.
Many thanks to Dave Ling and Sean Brown for their ressies and vets report, Martell Mallick scoring for the ressies on Saturday and the Vets Sunday goes down in club history as being the first player to score for two club sides in one weekend. In other news the club held a very successful, fundraising race night on Saturday evening, thanks to Sean Brown for managing the event and to Tom of Fun Play Ltd for running an entertaining evening for all.
Next Saturday the 1st team visit Claydon FC K.O 2.00. The ressies and vets have a week off.
October 22, 2018
A crowd of 56, on yet another unseasonably warm Saturday, saw a controversial game, marred by poor decision making, by both players and officials alike, as Henley progressed to the second round of the CNet Suffolk FA Senior Cup with a hard fought 1-0 win over Bramford Utd.
A fine stop from Banthorpe from an absolute rocket of a half volley denied Bruce after 5 minutes, before Griggs shot wide and Cowan blazed over. Bruce came close once again, a fierce drive rippling the outside of the net, as Henley had the better of the opening play.
Sadly the game’s main talking point wasn’t football related and came after 30 minutes when following a coming together with Bruce, Urso blatantly and very clearly punched Bruce as they rose from the ground. All present, irrespective of allegiance, awaited the obvious red card, however astonishingly not even a yellow was issued. (Post match, even Bramford players were amazed it had been allowed) This incensed even the milder elements of the home support and seemed to create a temporary atmosphere of “anything goes” on the pitch. Several fouls followed, still with no cards on view until on 40 minutes when a cynical challenge from behind by Mandley on Griggs saw the former booked and Griggs in hospital. (News received later showed a broken ankle and a fractured fibula, he currently awaits surgery)
8 minutes into the 2nd half Henley took the lead their play deserved, a good exchange of passes on the edge of the Bramford area, saw Francis hit a shot which took a slight deflection that deceived the Bramford keeper for 1-0. Further Henley chances were spurned as Bruce came close several times, as did Jackson, Sheppard, White and Tejano, whilst Bramford still looked dangerous when they did get forward. With 10 minutes remaining Jones had to make a fine stop from Clarke to preserve the home advantage.
So Henley at last progress into the 2nd round draw of the Senior Cup, but sadly at the significant cost of a nasty injury to Griggs. Francis got the Ultra’s vote for MOTM, in addition to opening his goal account for the club, he was pretty much faultless all game. Running him close was keeper Jones, although he didn’t have a lot of saves to make, he exuded confidence and experience throughout and his distribution was first class.
In my opening paragraph I mentioned that poor decision making was rife, on occasion, for our players it certainly was, shooting early when they had time, or playing one pass too many and seeing the opportunity vanish. We normally excel at getting this right, so I’m sure it’s just a one off blip. I’ll say the same for Andy Eley in the middle, firmly in the upper echelons of SIL officials, he usually provides an exemplary performance. As with our players, I’m sure that Saturday was just a temporary dip for him too.
On reflection I think our response to Saturday’s issue was influenced by the fact that we had our club captain sent off and currently suspended for 3 matches for, an admittedly ill judged, push to the chest of an opponent. Hence to see a player get away with a punch, obviously stung a bit, as did seeing a challenge from behind which resulted in such a nasty injury, only receive a yellow card.
I’d like to thank all of the clubs, players and supporters who have taken the time to send Tim Griggs their best wishes on social media over the last couple of days, all of us at the club are obviously thinking of him and I will update on his recovery as soon as I hear any news via Twitter.
Next Saturday Leiston St Margarets are the visitors to the Community Centre, with the game being filmed by YouTube Vlogger James from DeeJam Productions. K.O is at 2.30. The ressies are on the road again with a short trip to East Bergholt FC, K.O also at 2.30. On Sunday our Vets side are at home to Black Boy Vets FC K.O at 2.00.
October 15, 2018
Bolstered by Non-League Day a crowd of 106 gathered to watch as Henley welcomed rivals Achilles to the Community Centre on an unseasonably hot October afternoon. Both sides were missing important players, but both were eagerly awaiting this test.
As it transpired the early, cautious exchanges faded into irrelevance after 30 minutes, the highlights being fine saves by Chaplin from Griggs and by Jones from Field.
Sadly an awful, high impact collision between Achilles forwards Lee Grimwood and Connor Field saw the game quite correctly abandoned. Both sustained head injuries, Lee Grimwood coming off worse and having to remain, prone, on the pitch under medical advice, until an ambulance arrived. The Achilles bench acted promptly and were ably supported from the sidelines as they provided an admirable level of care for their players. Whilst our two clubs may be on pitch rivals, there are many friendships and a lot of mutual respect too; this was evident throughout the afternoon. All at Henley wish Lee and Connor a swift recovery and hope to see them back playing soon.
The Ressies made the trip to Benhall St Mary looking to forget their league form and get a welcome win in the Travel Tours Cup. Unfortunately, as has been the case all season, the bench was looking particularly empty with only one sub due to the unavailability of 6 players.
The first half an hour was fairly even, but the deadlock was broken when Dunham was adjudged to have fouled his opponent in the penalty area and the ref duly pointed to the spot. The Benhall striker made no mistake and we found ourselves 1-0 down. Managers Jordy and Ling mentioned on the touchline that it was important that we didn’t concede again before half-time, but a few minutes later a long ball was not dealt with by our defence and their striker slotted the ball home to make it 2-0 to Benhall at HT.
Early in the second-half, centre half Dunham pulled up with an injury, most probably caused by one of the many potholes in the pitch, Mallick came on as sub as Manager Ling changed the formation. However a few moments later, a lapse in concentration allowed Benhall to break away and score their third goal. At this stage we started to get back in the game and Crocker scored from a speculative long range shot, after some good hold up play by R Ling. At 3-1 we were back in the contest, but again Benhall broke away a few minutes later and made it 4-1 .With virtually the last kick of the game, Birt scored a spectacular free – kick which gave the keeper no chance making the final score 4-2.
Good luck to Benhall in the next round. Another frustrating afternoon for the Ressies, but if we keep positive and continue to work hard, improvement is inevitable.
Next week its Suffolk FA Senior Cup action for the 1st team, with Bramford Utd the visitors to the Community Centre. The Ressies make the trip in the opposite direction to face Bramford Utd reserves in the league. Both K.O at 2.30.
September 30, 2018
A frustrating afternoon saw Henley once again dominate possession, but fail to find the net in a 0-0 draw at East Bergholt Utd.
Henley attacked from the off, their passing game flowing and with Shore finding plenty of space down the right on his starting debut. Chance after chance were created but all went high or wide as Bruce, Tejano, White, Duzgun and Cowan were all profligate in front of goal. So many balls ended in the hedge and tennis courts behind the home goal we began to wonder if there would be enough remaining to continue the game. Home keeper Rande-Hall tipped over from Tejano and Storey’s header was deflected off the cross bar. Bergholt were defending deep, bravely and in numbers and doing a good job of it.
The 2nd half was more of the same, albeit with Bruce forcing two reflex saves from Rande-Hall early on. The pressure continued throughout, but Henley couldn’t find a route through and were guilty of overplaying at times. Bergholt talisman Bibby went off mid-half with what seems to be a quite nasty knee injury; we all wish him a speedy recovery. With 10 minutes remaining Henley were rather harshly reduced to ten as Storey was adjudged to have raised his hands in retaliation after being tugged back on the break. Silly to react and give the referee a decision to make, but for most present it looked far more like a bout of pushing and shoving rather than a lash out. But, even with a man short Henley still kept pressing, but to no avail, indeed were it not for a fine save from Burton, Bergholt could’ve stolen the points with their 1st real effort on goal in the 92nd minute.
A disappointing afternoon for the large contingent of travelling Ultras, as despite some lovely passing play, the lads appeared to have left their shooting boots in the changing room. Terrific hospitality from Griefy as always post match, producing a vat of curry which went down very well indeed with players and supporters alike (Scoop will be sad there was no eyesight enhancing pork and oysters for the Hat), he’s always a gent and a pleasure to talk football with. A word too for today’s referee James Tebbit, we may not have agreed on all points, but he’s always happy and willing, post match, to sit a have a friendly chat as to how and why he makes his decisions. In my humble opinion, he’s the best Suffolk FA have.
After a challenging start to their league season, the Ressies made the journey to Cornard Utd for their Suffolk FA Senior Reserves Cup match. A late call off reduced our numbers to 12, so Manager Ling had to name himself on the bench at the ripe old age of 53! We welcomed back old players Jawa Tacey and Jared Birt to the club and also had Henley Vet Micky Haddoch appearing at the back, as well as Ollie Sharman making his first appearance for a number of weeks.
Unfortunately, we conceded an early goal and despite creating a few chances we managed to find ourselves 4-0 down after only half an hour. We pulled a goal back before half-time with a slick move, some good play down the left by R Ling and Sharman culminated in a fine cross by Birt which was converted by Mallick. HT 4-1.
We started the second half by pressing higher up the pitch, this resulted in us having the better of the next 25 minutes. Haddoch rolled back the years with a surging run out of defence, topped with a thunderous shot from 30 yards which nestled in the top corner of the net for 4-2 and we were back in the game. However, tired legs and a number of players suffering cramp, combined with a lack of subs resulted in us conceding 4 late goals which made the final score a somewhat harsh 8-2. With a larger squad available for next week’s game, we’re optimistic we can get our first league win of the season.
Sunday afternoon saw the Vets in action in only their 2nd ever league match. They went down 1-0 at BROB to a penalty decision, despite creating chances of their own. MOTM went to midfield General Bill Elliot on his debut.
The 1st team travel to Wenhaston next Saturday, whilst the ressies welcome Mendlesham to the Community Centre. Sunday the Vets welcome Barham in the County cup, all K.O at 2.30.
September 23, 2018
A crowd of 61 saw Henley tumble to their 1st defeat since January, losing 1-2 to an invigorated Coplestonians. Once again we were forced in changes with Sheppard, George and Hindley all missing. Henley still however fielded a strong starting line up, whose passing game dominated the early stages of the match. Indeed after 25 minutes White skipped past his marker to fire home, however an accidental clash of heads, momentarily before, between King and Griggs, may have distracted the assistant and he raised his flag for offside. Griggs came off worse and bandaged like Terry Butcher, had to visit hospital for stitches in a nasty head wound and was replaced by Cowan in the subsequent reshuffle. Despite Henley having the lion’s share of the possession and passing play they failed to test Houchill further whilst the Cops front pairing of Duka and Eaton-Collins looked dangerous on the break.
The 2nd half continued in a similar vein of Henley attack against Cops defence with Cowan forcing a good stop from Houchill. As Henley applied the pressure they were caught out in the 61st minute when a clearance fell to Duka, he fed Eaton-Collins who even under pressure from Francis found the composure to lob a fine 35 yard finish over Burton for 0-1. Henley increased their efforts but couldn’t find a way through the committed Cops defence, restricted to shots from the edge of the area which all seemed magnetically attracted to Houchill’s midriff. The Ultras appealed for a penalty as Tejano and Cowan raced through only to go down 6 yards out, however it appeared to only be a tangle of legs in a congested area. With 15 minutes remaining Cops again struck on the break, Burton saved well from Duka but could only deflect the ball to Eaton-Collins who rifled home for 0-2. Henley didn’t quit though, and White bundled home from close range in the 88thminute, but alas it proved to be only a consolation goal as the game finished 1-2.
Cops celebrated like they’d won a trophy, but after their start to the season, who can blame them. They had a plan and stuck to it brilliantly, defending deep and using their dangerous front pairing on the break, their defence worked their socks off and bravely blocked everything we threw at them. Duka looked good, but Eaton-Collins really stood out, I’ll be surprised if a lot of sides aren’t already having a good look at him.
As for Henley, our passing play was at its best, Duzgun, Tejano and Caraccio linking up superbly and MOTM Cowan utterly dynamic throughout. “Magic Man” Gussy White once again found the net and Bruce never stopped trying, good to see a cameo from new signing David Shore coming of the bench too. But we couldn’t find our way past the parked bus of Cops and for once our finishing wasn’t up to scratch, to take advantage of the few chances we did create. On occasion we seemed to take too long to get the ball forward, giving the Cops defence time to get into position. All lessons learned though and I’m confident Beaver and Benny will be working on it this week.
As always Cops enjoyed the Henley hospitality and I enjoyed a catch up with my pals Scoop and Ian, some of local footballs good guys. Some controversy in the clubhouse though, with the officials eating the Ultras post match grub!
Both sides are on the road next Saturday, the 1sts visiting East Bergholt Utd, and the ressies in Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup action at Gt Cornard. Both K.O at 2.30.
September 18, 2018
Henley made the short trip across town to Bourne Vale, to face the geographically challenged Felixstowe Harpers, always a difficult match against a tough, committed side, on a lumpy pitch which is not conducive to our passing game. With 4 players missing, including the harshly suspended keeper Hindley, managers Beaver and Benny had their work cut out assembling a side for the challenge. Ressies keeper Burton took up the gloves whilst Griggs came in to partner Bruce up front
As it was, we started well and had the better of a terrific 1st half, albeit that both keepers were called into action as Harpers remained dangerous. Time and again Henley’s passing and movement found a way through the home defence but the finish was lacking. Harper’s got the ball forward quickly and caused problems with their dangerous wide men creating chances of their own.
The 2nd half saw an explosive start, pressure from Griggs on keeper Walden saw him make an error and bring down Bruce in the box after 50 minutes. The usually infallible Bruce stepped up but uncharacteristically blazed the penalty high and wide. A goal came 4 minutes later, with Cowan off the pitch receiving treatment, Henley were temporarily down to 10, but a throw in from Jackson was headed on by Sheppard and deftly flicked in at the back post by “Magic Man” White for 0-1.
Storey came close to doubling the lead, bursting out from defence and running the full length of the pitch, exchanging a one two with Griggs before firing narrowly over, missing out on what would’ve been a goal of the season contender. A vicious 25 yard drive from Tejano also forced a fine save from Walden. On 73 minutes some exquisite play by Duzgun saw Bruce hammer a half-volley from 6 yards which was superbly tipped over by Walden. Shortly after referee Haynes went down injured, with a spectator observing that it may have been Rigor Mortis setting in, thanks go to the Harper’s official that took up the flag as the referee was replaced by one of his assistants.
Reserve keeper Burton made a breathtaking double save to deny Allen on 75 minutes and another point blank stop on 90 minutes to deny Webb and earn his MOTM, as the visitors saw out the surfeit of nearly 10 minutes added on time to come away with a deserved 3 points.
This was a strong, team performance against a gritty home side with some especially worthy of mention, Storey and Sheppard dealt with everything thrown at them, Jackson and White were constantly raiding, Bruce worked endlessly and Cowan had a superb, dynamic game. MOTM was keeper Burton who, yet again, proved his mettle at a Senior level. New management team Bevis and Behnamnia are really getting the lads playing how they want now, whilst their tactical nous is showing in the flexibility of the formations, both of which bode well for the future. Most evident however is the team spirit, the lads putting everything on the line both for the club and their team mates.
It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the ressies this week, already down to the bare bones through injury, the management saw players drafted to the 1st team as well. Despite a good display of character they went down 9-0 away at Trimley Red Devils, a very special mention goes to club legend and “Director of Football” Jordi who pulled on the gloves and by all accounts had a great game, despite the score. Injury and availability are hitting the ressies hard at present but it’s a temporary blip that they’ll soon rise above.
A sunny Sunday afternoon saw our new Vets side play only their 2ndever game in the league cup away to Achilles FC. Despite the gulf in divisions the lads gave a fine account of themselves, having the better of the opening half and leading 0-1 at the break via a goal from Colwill. Two terrific finishes early in the 2nd half gave the established home side the advantage, whilst a minimalist squad and forced substitutions saw Achilles run out deserved 4-1 victors. We wish them luck in the next round. Another fine display of commitment from Club Sec Simon Butler, who despite running a half marathon in the morning turned up to run the line in the afternoon.
Next Saturday we welcome my old mate Scoop and his Coplestonians to the Community Centre, meanwhile the Ressies are on the road to Bury St Edmunds to visit Sporting 87 FC.
September 10, 2018
With no 1st team game this week “my” notes this week consist of Carl Page’s reserves match report and Brownie’s update on our newly formed Vets side’s inaugural fixture.
The Reserves travelled to Framlingham with the novelty of having a squad of 13 to choose from for the 1st time this campaign, looking to pick up their first points of the season, but came away sadly empty handed. This was always a tight affair with the first goal always going to be crucial and so it turned out.
Early exchanges were fairly even, with both sides unable to break down two solid defences. An early scuffle saw Garwood having the shirt ripped off his back, but surprisingly the referee kept his cards in his pocket. Chances were few and far between, but Henley grew into the match and for the final 15 minutes of the half were knocking the ball around with confidence. However the shooting boots were left at home and a number of chances were scuffed and failed to trouble the home keeper. HT 0.0
The second half started in a similar vein, but as in previous weeks Henley conceded a goal a few minutes in, the Fram forward escaped from a ball over the top and slid the ball past Burton and in off the post to open the scoring. Fram went 2.0 up shortly after, a flowing move down their right ending in a great finish at the back post . Henley made their final substitution; sadly as in previous weeks an injury followed and Henley were on the back foot with 10 men. However we pulled one back when a rare error by the Fram defence allowed Ling in on goal and he made no mistake. A comeback was on the cards, but inexplicably with the Henley defence believing the ball to be out of play, time seemed to stand still, as the Fram forward found himself free in the area to tap beyond Burton and into the net. Storey and Mulligan continued to try and drive Henley forward but it was Fram’s day. FT 3.1
Thanks to Fram management team for use of their medical supplies and for playing the game in the right spirit. Ref Midwinter had what would be best described as a mixed afternoon, frustrating both management teams.
The new Henley Vets team made their eagerly anticipated inaugural debut on Sunday and came away with a tough but enjoyable 6-3 victory away at Ipswich Phoenix.
The players showed great courage to get through the 90 minutes as a squad of 14 at 11:45, duly went down to 12 at 11:55 & then we lost a player to injury in the warm up leaving us with a bare 11. Three changes of keeper to rest pulled muscles resulted in gifting our opponents two goals, with the first coming from Gibbo who assumed that as we were “rolling back the years” we would go as far back as 1991 where you could pick up a back-pass!! Needless to say the in-direct free kick was duly smashed home from 10 yards! Gibbo was clearly enjoying the break in goal & was caught day-dreaming against the post & failed to deal with a ball over the top on three occasions!! Thankfully a tight hamstring for centre back Kev Pooley meant Gibbo was dragged back out on pitch to stem the tide.
However a perfect hat-trick from Stevie Colwill and goals from Ian Brown, Nick Colwill & Snelly saw us run out deserved winners. Special mention must go to Club Secretary Simon Butler who showed his commitment to the club by playing 90 minutes on the right wing at the ripe old age of 52.
Next week sees us travel to Achilles in the League Cup so a week of ice baths is probably needed. Well done lads.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team take a trip to Bourne Vale to face Felixstowe Harpers, the ressies are also on the road as they visit Trimley Red Devils and as already mentioned the Vets visit Achilles on Sunday. All K.O at 2.30.
September 4, 2018
A crowd of 57 saw Henley secure a 3-2 victory over a much improved Haughley Utd, with an under-par but committed and characterful performance, despite being having keeper Hindley harshly dismissed with 25 minutes remaining.
Haughley started brightly with Hindley making a great save to deny Smith early on, before Bruce made it 1-0 from the penalty spot on 25 minutes following a handball, scoring his 100th club goal. On 38 minutes Haughley equalised with a bizarre goal from Anderson which somehow found it’s way, almost in slow motion, through a forest of legs to find the corner for 1-1. On 40 minutes a fine double save, at point blank range, from visiting keeper Crompton denied White, but on the stroke of halftime it was 2-1, Bruce striking a perfect dipping freekick over the wall from 20 yards which left Crompton helpless.
On 55 minutes it was 3-1 as Storey got himself on the end of Bruce’s cross to slot home at the far post, minutes later Captain Storey was once again called into action, his goal-line clearance maintaining the scoreline. On 65minutes came the game’s controversial moment, keeper Hindley bringing down Smith for what was an obvious penalty, however the triple punishment law wasn’t applied by Mr Goodman and Hindley was subsequently dismissed. White bravely pulled on the gloves but couldn’t stop Upson’s penalty for 3-2. Despite being down to 10 men, which further invigorated the visitors, Henley held firm with White being barely troubled in goal and indeed the home side came closest to scoring, as Williams narrowly missed connecting with Bruce’s driven cross.
For whatever reason Henley really didn’t click on the day and only a surfeit of quality and a massive display of character came to their rescue. White epitomises this ethic, with the exception of centre half, pulling on the gloves has seen him play in every position for Henleynow. But the sheer commitment of all the lads shone through, playing 25 minutes without a recognised keeper and with only 10 men we still dominated possession and kept the visitors at bay.But the star of the show was MOTM Bruce, occupying 2-3 defenders throughout and, as in every match he’s played, constantly fouled, but still 2 fine finishes were enough to see us through. His stats tell the real story, 3 seasons, 98 games and 101 goals for Henley.
As for Haughley, they’ve clearly made huge changes following their Senior resurrection and fielded some strong players, especially some very promising youngsters, the striker Smith particularly catching the eye with his pace.
The reserves were quite literally down to the bare bones, with even members of our vets team called up to fill the gaps left by holidays, family occasions etc, with August over hopefully we’ll be able to field more than the bare 11 in future. Sadly once again a 1st half injury left us with 10 men and saw us on the wrong end of a 7-0 loss to a good Old Newton side.
In other news, the old kit we donated to charity has arrived at KaregaBible College in Tanzania, for those of you with access to our Twitter feed, may I recommend taking a look at the joyous photos we have received from them.
No game for the 1sts next week whilst the ressies continue their run of away games with a tricky visit to Framlingham Town Ressies.
August 27, 2018
A large contingent of travelling Ultras watched Henley come away from Greshams with all 3 points, after a 0-3 victory over Cranes Sports. A lacklustre 1st half saw a committed but under-par performance from both sides, the only highlight coming from Henley keeper Hindley. Cranes were awarded a soft penalty for what appeared a tangle of legs at best, Woollard struck it low to his left but Hindley dived full length to save and collect. Cranes had the better of the chances and Hindley was called into action late in the half to tip round his post.
Henley responded best after the break, gradually adjusting to their new formation. 10 minutes in, a Bruce freekick was blocked by a raised hand in the wall, which went unnoticed. Justice was quickly served however from the resulting corner, as Tejano smuggled the ball out to Bruce who beat Holland at his near post with a low drive for 0-1.
Cranes pushed hard for the equaliser but the Henley defence held firm and the visitors increased their lead after 28 minutes. A defence splitting ball from Caraccio released Cowan, his cross found White 10 yards out, his shot was initially blocked by Holland, who, was helpless to stop White heading home the rebound from 6 yards to make it 0-2.
With 10 minutes remaining, came the goal of the game, the ball out of defence went to Bruce, he found Caraccio out wide left, surrounded by 3 Cranes defenders he held the ball up and beat them all, running past another 2, before feeding the ball into White’s run. He skipped past the despairing Holland, to slot into the empty net for 0-3. Cranes never gave up, and Hindley once again had to make a brilliant point blank save to keep his clean sheet.
Once adjusted to the new formation, this was a fine team performance. With everyone playing their part, the post match Ultra’s MOTM votes were split between the J’s, Jacko, Jamo and Jay being just pipped to the win by Josh Caraccio, although any would have been deserving. With Bruce on 4 goals in 2 games and a club total of 99 in 97 he’s in fine form so early in the season and the defence is looking firm across the back line.
As always seeing the Earl, Rads and John Nunn was a pleasure, it’s always good to spend time with genuine football people and enjoy the fine facilities at Greshams. Speaking of which, you could tell it was a fine result, as when I returned to Greshams later that evening for a wedding reception, I found our Chairman and our main sponsor both still enjoying that very hospitality!
A new look Henley Reserves welcomed Cops to the community centre on a glorious afternoon, with the pitch a credit to the Henley staff. With many youngsters on show it took both teams a while to settle. Cops had the first real chance of the game but keeper Burton made a superb point blank save from a goalbound header. Cops were gradually getting on top and kept the ball well, too many times Henley were guilty of giving up possession far too easily. Ref Moore turned down a Cops appeal for a penalty, before a good piece of counter attacking from Henley saw Griggs finish well, only to be ruled offside. Cops also had a goal ruled out by the eagle eyed Jordy on the line, for a handball. The last chance of the half fell to Crocker after he was put through by Mulligan, but his shot was well saved. Henley were mainly on the back foot but had defended well to keep out a dangerous Cops forward line for 0.0 at HT.
The 2nd half began with Cops once again on top and from a free-kick on the edge of the area they went in front with a header from close range. Henley then made their only available substitution, as often happens, shortly after that were down to 10 men when Dunham fell awkwardly and turned his ankle. Unable to continue Henley struggled to deal with Cops numerical advantage and conceded four more to a now rampant Cops attack to see the game finish 0-5. There was no lack of effort from every player and some very encouraging performances from many of the young players, particularly Garnham and from Nicholls who was MOTM. Referee Moore had a competent game and got little if anything wrong.
Next Saturday we welcome Haughley Utd to the community centre whilst the ressies are on the road at Old Newton.
August 23, 2018
The season opened with a crowd of 76 enjoying a close contest as we welcomed, newly promoted, Trimley Red Devils to the community centre.
We knew Trimley would be at us from the off in their 1st Senior game and so it proved, with Hindley making a smart save early on. Henleyweathered the storm and pressed forward, on 17 minutes Cowan broke through only to be crudely brought down in the box. With regular penalty taker Bruce away, White stepped up but fired over. 6 minutes later Tejano held the ball up well in midfield before picking a pinpoint pass to find Martin out on the right, he played in Cowan who slotted home neatly for 1-0. The Trimley number 7 did little to ingratiate himself with the Henley Ultras, his two kicks at Smyth and Martin off the ball, both sadly missed by the officials. 4 minutes before the break, Henley gave away a soft free kick which Phillips expertly curled into the top corner to make it 1-1 at HT.
An under-hit back pass forced Hindley into action to deny Sayers after 8 minutes of the 2nd half, but a failure to clear our lines saw Sayers give the visitors the lead after 20 minutes. Trimley were doing all they can to disturb the flow of Henley’s passing game, utilising persistent fouling throughout the game, Mr Kitson found his cards after 70 minutes, producing a timely flurry of yellows. The introduction of Duzgun and Jackson mid-half saw Henley gain the ascendancy and with 15 minutes remaining Tejano was felled in the box and Martin fired home the penalty for the equaliser and his debut goal. In the final minutes Henley looked the more likely to score, Ray having to tip over a top corner bound shot from Jackson. However the game finished a 2-2 draw, a fair result for both team’s efforts, Henley MOTM was George who was superb throughout.
A below par Henley performance, with Bruce’s absence notable, however Trimley are a competent side and were well worth their point, they’ll have more than enough to stay up this year.
Wednesday evening saw a visit to Westerfield Utd, as always with midweek games, this led to enforced squad changes and whilst we welcomed the return of Bruce, we were missing Cowan and Duzgun.
The game started badly for us, a waist high back pass from Shep saw Hindley unable to clear effectively and Keinzley was able to poke the ball home into an unguarded goal. However Henley heads didn’t drop and it didn’t take long for the equaliser to arrive courtesy of a Tejano header from a Jackson free-kick after 15 minutes. Henley dominated from here on, George having an effort saved, Martin and Bruce also going close before they made it 1-2 on 30 minutes. A good run down the right and a cross from Martin saw Bruce sweep home from 9 yards.
The second half continued in a similar vein, Henley pressing forward with Westerfield still dangerous on the break, indeed an early goal line clearance from Storey was the only thing preventing an equaliser. As it was it was Henley who increased their lead to 1-3, Bruce dispossessing a defender before lobbing the keeper from 25 yards out. Henley’s passing game was flowing now, with Jackson raiding seemingly at will, Westerfield were disruptive but luckily for them spread the fouls around as the cards remained pocketed. Henley attacks continued, but we were profligate with our chances, Martin should have had at least a brace, with George and White also threatening.
With 5 minutes to go, Westerfield appeared frustrated and George was fortunate to escape uninjured from a nasty challenge which once again went unpunished. With the 90 minutes played Wade pulled one back with a 40 yard lob, which, if intentional, was an early goal of the season contender to make it 2-3. But up popped Bruce who slid past his marker and slid the ball home to complete his hat trick and make the final score 2-4 with what was the last kick of the game.
A much better Henley team performance, against a difficult to play and always combative home side. Bruce shone throughout, taking his club tally to 98 goals in 96 games, Storey was a rock in his 350th Henley appearance, Jackson had probably his best game for the club, skipping through the opposition at will. Young prospect Mulligan excited the Ultras with his brief cameo, the confident teenager showing real signs of future promise. However MOTM had to go to Caraccio, who quite simply ran the game, often appearing to be in more than one place at a time, such was his fitness and endeavour.
As always it was good to catch up with Spreads and Big Phil post match as the team and Ultras enjoyed the excellent hospitality.
Saturday sees us make the trip across town to face our old friends and rivals Cranes, always a great game and inevitably popular with the neutrals. Meanwhile back at the community centre the ressies start their season against Cops. Both games K.O at 2.30.
May 7, 2018
The season drew to a close with a hard fought, but deserved 0-1 victory over Capel Plough, where a crowd of 80 plus enjoyed both the sunshine and a competitive game.
Bob the Ploughman provided an excellent and accurate match report so I’ll only very briefly cover the game itself. Henley had the better of the opening exchanges, Bruce had a shot saved and Field fired over from close in, as both sides struggled to control the ball on the hard surface. Knights saved well from a Gunn freekick and the 1st half finished with Henley firmly in the ascendancy.
The 1st chance of the 2nd half fell to Alderson for the home side but what looked like a bobble saw him balloon his effort high and wide. The majority of the 2nd half was wave after wave of Henley attacks with any attempted Capel breaks being well marshalled by Storey, Sheppard and MOTM Smythe. Cowan, Field, Bevis and Bruce all came close, before White was denied by a shirt pull when clean through which went unseen by the officials.
Stand in keeper Knights was called into play to make a simply superb close range double save to deny Lawler, before Henley finally got the goal their pressure deserved. Bruce the creator, beating his man twice on the byline before firing in a low cross for substitute Laughlin to smash home from close range past ex Henley gloves man Beal for 0-1.
A good solid performance which saw us make it 9 consecutive wins to take us from a lowly 9th place in early February, to finish our second Senior season in 3rd spot in the table. Our many injuries and suspensions this season, which we were unencumbered with in our championship winning year, meant we were unable to retain our trophy, with Achilles running away with it this season, proving themselves to be deserved champions. With the lads already signed on for next season and additions afoot, I’m confident we’ll be firmly back in the mix next time around. The ressies will also be pushing hard to make their mark under new manager Carl Page and his management team.
Aside from next Saturday’s awards evening at Fynn Valley Golf Club it’s time for a break from local football, albeit not for long as the new season seems to come around sooner every year! Best wishes to all my fellow scribes as we sit back and enjoy the world cup without having to make notes and remember goalscorers!
April 29, 2018
With no 1st team fixture the ressies final match of the season at home to Westerfield was the centre of attention this week. It’s been a challenging season for the ressies, with management and player changes but they’ve pulled through and retained their Inter A status for next season. This game was new manager Carl Page’s first chance to take charge of the side, with assistance from club treasurer Dave Ling who has done so much to keep the side up, since he took temporary charge along with Club Coach Andrew Jordan. Despite not having a 1st team match the decision was made to not fill the side with Senior players, with Tejano the only one present on the bench.
Some sloppy defending and the referee missing a rather obvious handball saw us 0-3 down at the break, to an experienced Westerfield side. The second half saw the introduction of Tejano and a much improved Henley performance though. Laughlin pulled one back from close range for 1-3 and Ling scuffed a chance to further narrow the gap before Westerfield made it 1-4. Some commendable honesty from the Westerfield club lino saw him bring the referee’s attention to a handball on the goal line which saw the visiting defender sent off and a penalty awarded. Hynard smashed the spot kick home as Henley started an all too brief period of domination, curtailed by another Westerfield goal for 2-5. The highlight of the game came in the final minutes as Tejano picked up the ball on the half way line before dancing past 5 defenders and crashing a rocket of a shot in off the underside of the bar for a final score of 3-5. Some decent showings saw Carl Page optimistic for the task ahead of preparing the side for next season.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team visit Capel Plough for the final match of the season, K.O is at 2.30. Rumours abound of a team/ultras night out afterwards, so I’ll take this opportunity to apologise to my wife in advance.
The following Saturday 12th May sees the club awards evening and dinner dance at Fynn Valley G.C. Contact any manager or committee member for tickets.
April 25, 2018
Two matches to report on in this week’s notes and despite a remarkable contrast between them, Henley came away with two victories and 6 points to make it 8 consecutive wins,
On Saturday a faithful band of Henley Ultras followed their team up the A140 intent on enjoying a sunny afternoon of football against AFC Hoxne. Outnumbering the home support, even including the headless rabbit on the touchline, they were rewarded with a patient performance that saw a hard earned 0-2 win.
Hoxne were short of players and chose a very defensive formation to frustrate the in form visitors, parking more buses than you’re likely to see at the Electric House. Their only threat being the impressively dangerous Leszcynski, all alone up front, indeed, it was him who had the 1st chance of the game, Sharplin having to pull off a fine stop to deny his back post header. Apart from breakaways the 1st half was Henley attack versus Hoxne defence. Time and again the brave home defence denied the visiting attack, their organisation and commitment nullifying Henley’s passing football, which was further hampered by the uneven surface. Our best chance was a terrific shot from Bruce which Warren did superbly to push round the post for a corner, but HT came with it still 0-0
The 2nd half was more of the same, but Henley were creating more and better quality chances, Field, Tejano and Bruce all coming close, with MOTM Bevis pulling the strings in the middle of the park. White’s arrival as substitute in the 70th minute proved game changing, his trickery and pace instantly causing Hoxne a different set of problems. He was brought down out wide left and Bevis pinged in an inch perfect free kick which White himself headed home from 6 yards out for 0-1. Within five minutes it was 0-2, Bevis once again the architect, bringing the ball forward and finding Captain Storey 12 yards out, who elegantly stroked the ball into the bottom corner for 0-2.
A lot of credit goes to Hoxne, who had a plan and stuck to it, they gave their all for their club and their commitment was a credit to their manager. For Henley it was a patient performance, trusting that quality would eventually tell.
Tuesday evening was 4th v 5th with Felixstowe Harpers Utd the visitors to the Community Centre, a very different game to Saturday’s as a very physical Utd came at us looking to take the points back to the seaside. This made for an entertaining and exciting game for the 57 braving the showers to attend.
Obviously instructed to “get stuck into them” pre-game they took this rather too literally with Moore lucky to stay on the pitch after a nasty two footed challenge in the opening minutes. Fortunately for him we had a very forgiving referee who amazingly only deemed it worthy of a talking to. After some early pressure it was Henley who took the lead, Munson and Field combining to chase down a long goal kick from Gilbert which Field neatly slotted home for 1-0. Within ten minutes the visitors drew level, Elliston’s 20 yard free kick coming back off the wall, only for him to crack the rebound in the corner of the net on the half volley, for a fine equaliser, 1-1. This led to a period of pressure from Felixstowe and they actually had the ball in the net again, but it was disallowed for an offside.
Drama came minutes before halftime when Allen intercepted a back pass and got his shot away before being felled by Gilbert as he raced out from his goal, his initial effort was athletically cleared off the line by Storey but a penalty was awarded. The Harpers support bayed for a red card but Gilbert could hardly have been the last man as Storey had swept behind him to clear the ball, so only a yellow was issued. Webb struck the penalty firmly towards the bottom left corner but Gilbert at full stretch dived to save and even collect it leaving the score 1-1 at H.T
The second half was just as exciting as the first, both teams constantly on the attack and going all out for the win. Finally a couple of yellow cards were produced in an attempt to curb the repeated fouling that was becoming a feature of the visitors play, ironically Munson also received a yellow for his first and only foul of the game. Mid half it was Henley who took a deserved lead, Moore unluckily heading Field’s cross past his own keeper Walden under very close attention from Tejano for 2-1.
With fifteen minutes remaining Bruce fired over from a Field cross before Field himself hit the foot of the post with an effort smuggled through the crowded penalty box. Henley somewhat harshly had what looked a legitimate effort ruled out for offside, when Walden’s mishit clearance cannoned off the back of an unaware Field and fell to Bruce who rolled it home. However it failed to matter as Henley kept possession and saw the game out to win 2-1, aided by a masterclass from Jackson in throw-in bootlace management.
The Ultra’s MOTM went to Jamo Cowan who was simply everywhere and never stopped running or competing for 90 minutes. For me the Harpers MOTM had to be Moore, who despite his unlucky O.G oozed class and quality as he always does.
No 1st team game this Saturday, so all eyes will be on the ressies last match of the season as they welcome our neighbours Westerfield to the Community Centre, K.O 2.30.
April 15, 2018
The 1st warm football day of 2018 saw a crowd of 46 enjoy the sun on their faces as Henley defeated Benhall 3-0. With Booth injured and White away for the weekend, Smythe rejoined the defence and Munson made his first start in a Henley shirt.
Henley initially struggled to get their passing game going and relied on keeper Sharplin to make a couple of smart stops early on. Quick off his line and a fine shot stopper, the young keeper looks to be a great find. Gradually a stuttering Henley began to create chances and after 25 minutes Bruce crashed a freekick off the bar, Sheppard saw a header go narrowly wide of the post and Field fired over. There was some concern about the number of fouls going unnoticed or being waved away, but the remainder of the half passed without major incident.
After the break Henley attacked immediately from the restart, on 50 minutes Cowan flicked the ball between two defenders only for it to be blatantly batted down by a shoulder height hand, despite the howls of protest the penalty appeal was curtly dismissed. Penning Benhall in their own half, Henley restricted the visitors to attempts on the break and piled on the pressure. The crowd were further inflamed after 70 minutes when Munson’s shot was pushed away by, to all extent and purpose a full length diving save on the penalty spot by a Benhall defender. As everybody stopped and awaited the obvious penalty, the referee turned away and completely ignored it.
The game turned with Bevis’s arrival as sub, his decisiveness instantly getting Henley forward more quickly. After 75 minutes Bruce knocked down a header to Munson, whose fine pass found Field, he controlled well before finishing for 1-0. Tejano came close on 80 minutes but his drive was superbly saved by visiting keeper Warner. The goal of the game came after 85 minutes when Jacksonwon possession and broke from deep, finding Tejano out wide right before continuing his run. Tejano squared, Munson dummied and Jackson slotted home into the bottom corner from 18 yards out for 2-0. Benhall hadn’t given up though, with Sharplin having to be alert to turn a terrific long range shot onto the cross bar with his fingertips. In the last minutes Henley finished the game off as Bruce unselfishly crossed for sub Laughlin to bundle home with an undetermined part of his lower anatomy for a final score of 3-0.
Not our best performance of late, but still enough to completely deserve our victory, Tejano earned MOTM with Sharplin running him perilously close in the voting, Jackson had a great game as well. Benhall were much changed from our encounter earlier in the season and played some good football throughout the 90 minutes. Good to see them enjoying the hospitality in the club house after the game as well.
All at Henley send their best wishes for a swift recovery to Daryl Butcher who suffered a hamstring injury during the 1st half whilst running the line, thanks to the Benhall manager who replaced him and who did an excellent job.
No match this week, or indeed next for the the ressies, so the next match for the club will be next Saturday, when the ressies visit AFC Hoxne, K.O 2.30.
April 9, 2018
56 people gathered to watch Henley defeat struggling Haughley Utd 6-3 on Saturday afternoon. Holidays and work saw Smythe and Bevis missing from last week’s team, but we welcomed back Cowan and Booth from suspension and injury respectively to take their place in the starting 11.
Henley led after a mere three minutes, Field was fouled on the edge of the area and Bruce fired the freekick past the wall and into the bottom corner for 1-0. Henley were caught out after 20 minutes when a foul to dispossess Bruce from behind went unnoticed and a quick break saw a floating cross which Smith headed home at the back post for 1-1.
Henley continued to dominate, with Field and Bruce firing over and deservedly took a lead again on 27 minutes when Bruce was felled in the box and stepped up to fire the penalty under Siggers for 2-1. Miscommunication at the back and a mishit clearance fell to Lawrence on the edge of the box who rifled home a fine effort past Sharplin for 2-2 at HT.
3 minutes into the 2nd half it was 3-2 as Sheppard’s 45 yard freekick looped over everyone and nestled in the corner of the Haughley net. Haughley couldn’t get out of their half now, being pinned back by Henley pressure. Duzgun and Cowan combined to win possession deep in the visitors half, finding Field down the right who unselfishly squared the ball for Duzgun to make it 4-2 from just 15 yards. On 20 minutes it was 5-2, one of many fierce Booth challenges won the ball back, he laid it to Bruce out wide left, his precision cross bisected the Haughley defence to find Storey who flicked home from 6 yards.
With 15 minutes remaining substitute Munson came close to scoring, turning inside and curling his shot towards the top corner but Siggers tipped it wide. His appearance had an instant impact as he bullied the visiting defence time and again. Despite the pressure Haughley broke and were awarded a penalty which Lawrencesqueezed under Sharplin for 5-3. Instantly Henley went up the other end, Bruce completing his hat trick with a freekick round the wall into the bottom corner for 6-3.
All in all a good team performance with Bruce winning the Ultra’s MOTM award for his hat trick and all round performance, how Field and Munson didn’t get on the score sheet is beyond belief! Great to see Cowan back with his energy and Booth once again had the Ultras cheering his every challenge, it’s fair to say, the lad enjoys a tackle.
Haughley deserve credit too, they have some good players who are prepared to give their all for the club and never once gave up, not for a moment.
The Ressies came away from Bury St Edmunds with a well earned 2-2 draw at Sporting 87. The dressing room was a bit sombre after the game because we felt that we had let all the points slip away after being 2 - 1 up. However, the mood soon improved after learning that results elsewhere, meant that the point had secured Inter A football for next season!
Henley started the game well and took an early lead courtesy of a sweet left foot strike by Jared Birt, who was making his first appearance for the club since October. Sporting then started to get back into the game and equalised after we were caught out by a long diagonal pass. We went in at half time with a 2-1 lead after Josh Hynard beat their keeper after being put through by a defence splitting pass.
The second half was more of a struggle and it felt like we were hanging on for the win until Sporting made it 2-2 late on. Thank you to our new Ressies Manager Carl Page, who stepped in at the last minute to referee the game.
Saturday sees the visit of Benhall St Mary for what will hopefully be a less controversial game than our 1-6 victory at their place back in December K.O 2.30. The ressies have to wait until the 28th now to complete their season.
April 2, 2018
A crowd of 78 yet again braved the torrential rain, to watch a fine display of passing football as Henley dominated a committed and determined Grundisburgh to triumph 4-0.
Grundisburgh were clearly up for it from the off, especially the ex Henley lads, determined to deny Henley space and winning a couple of free kicks around the edge of the Henley area. However the Henley backline soaked up the pressure, while our midfield kept the ball and created chances. Deacon in the Grundisburgh goal was motionless as Field first crashed a 30 yard strike off the bar, before the same player then saw his lob go narrowly wide and then his close range effort, following a pinpoint cross from White, was superbly saved by Deacon. He wasn’t to be denied for long though as after 17 minutes Bevis cleverly chipped a quick free kick over Pearson’s head where Field simply rifled home a half volley, into the top corner from a narrow angle for 1-0 and another addition to his worldie collection for the season.
Tejano, White and Bruce all came close to increasing the scoreline before a spate of Grundisburgh free kicks by dead ball specialist Pearson put the pressure on Henley, they rode it well and a neat pass interception by Jackson saw him race the length of the pitch and fire in a low cross, with Bruce waiting unmarked at the back post Davis and Seaman slid in to clear and in the confusion Davis put past his own keeper for an O.G and 2-0. Only another couple of fine saves from Deacon, especially tipping over a vicious drive from Jackson saw it 2-0 at HT with a shot deflected wide from Swann the visitor’s only real threat of the half.
Henley turned up the pressure and dominated from the start of the 2nd half, restricting Grundisburgh to trying to get forward on the break. Deacon again denied Field with a great stop and Tejano hit the post in a goalmouth scramble that saw Gibson land awkwardly and break his collar bone whilst bravely attempting an overhead kick clearance.
15 minutes in Tejano made it 3-0 after a terrific passing move, firing home a fine effort from 25 yards. Henley were in total control now and only some brave keeping from Deacon kept the score down, Grundisburgh did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside before Field added a 4th with a deflected shot from 18 yards. Home keeper Sharplin made a great point blank stop in the final minutes to keep a clean sheet on only his 2nd ever Senior appearance.
In all honesty Henley just had too much for Grundisburgh on the day, our defence held firm throughout, our midfield kept the ball and our front men were a torment. Field got the Ultra’s MOTM with probably his best display for the club so far, Bevis pulled the strings and Tejano was as dynamic as always. Duzgun was mesmerising, his twists and turns leaving the opposition trailing in his wake. Shep and Bushy renewed their partnership, but for me Smythe was the defensive star, one sequence of 3 totally committed 50/50 sliding tackles, one after the other, drew cheers of appreciation from the Ultras.
Grundisburgh were a credit to their club, they never gave up for a minute and kept playing the game in the right manner. Seaman and Davis were as dogged as ever, Pearson is always a danger and until his unfortunate injury Gibson was at his best, hurling himself into challenges and blocks. But my choice for their MOTM was a straight split between Deacon in goal who kept the score fairly respectable and the exciting young Prime, whose speed and running with the ball show signs of real promise as a future star player. As a team their commitment and pride in the shirt shone through.
The clubhouse was packed full post match, with both sides staying to enjoy the atmosphere, we sold all our programmes and 2 pub cards so many thanks to the Grundisburgh contingent.
We’ve been in touch with Grant Gibson and are pleased to hear he’s being well taken care of, as a postscript to my earlier praise of Smythe’s sliding tackles, it’s also transpired today that one of the recipients, ex Henley man, Matt Carley also had to attend A&E post match. It appears he required 6 stitches in a somewhat personal area and may struggle to sit comfortably for a day or two. To Robbie’s credit he was mortified and got in touch with Matt as soon as he found out, Matt, knowing it was accidental took it well and much online hilarity has occurred since! All at Henley wish Grant and Matt speedy recoveries.
Many thanks too go to Ivan and the volunteers who got the game on, with the pitch looking incredible an hour before the game, I’m sure they’ll have plenty to do this week in preparation for the visit of Haughley next Saturday. KO 2.30. Next Saturday also sees Carl Page make his first appearance as manager of the ressies as they visit Sporting 87, also a 2.30 KO.
March 26, 2018
No 1st team match this week, but a good number of them added to the crowd watching the Ressies welcome Framlingham on Saturday. Framlingham were gifted an early lead when the Henley defence didn’t clear the ball effectively and they made it 0-2 with a well struck free kick later in the half.
A neatly taken goal made it 0-3 early in the 2nd half and another free kick increased the visitor’s lead to 0-4 before a late consolation goal for Henley, as substitute Jackson’s free kick deceived the Framlingham keeper and found the corner of the net for a final score of 1-4.
Thankfully results elsewhere went our way, but it was no disgrace to be bettered by this fine young Framlingham side who were a credit to their club.
Mid week I attended the SIL representative game at Brantham against the Essex Border League, where we were proud to be represented by Mark Storey and Byron Tejano who both excelled during the match. Rads put a strong side out and they comprehensively outplayed the Essex lads winning 2-0 with goals from Jordan Godbold and Teon Leggett. Lots of good fun and football chat both in the stand and post match too, a good evening, enjoyed by all.
You often see the phrase “this week we welcome our old friends”, indeed I’ve used it myself on more than one occasion. But this coming Saturday it’s entirely true with Grundisburgh the visitors to the community centre. We have a lot of shared history especially with the Leggett family and have played each other in a pre season friendly shield competition, which honours that connection, for a good few years now. In addition to which both teams feature players who have played for both sides, especially currently, with Grundisburgh having 10 ex Henley lads on their books and featured 8 in their last match day squad.
Always a competitive game, I’m sure this one will be no exception K.O at the Community Centre at 2.30 this Easter Saturday. No ressies match this week.
March 12, 2018
A good sized crowd in excess of 80 people were treated to a fine display of attacking football as Henley visited Cranes, in a match which was a credit to the SIL, Henley came from behind twice to win 2-3.
After the rotten weather there was some considerable doubt as to if the game would take place, in all honesty with a combination of suspension, injuries, illness, work and weekends away depriving us of 8 of the 1st team squad, there were a few of us at Henley who were rather hoping for postponement! As it was it was a credit to Cranes, Greshams and our referee Paul Kitson that they got the game on. Henley’s player shortages saw a 1st team debut for young keeper Sharplin and recalls for long term absentees Trevivian and Haddoch.
The home side had the better of the opening minutes and took the lead when an 18 yard effort from Blades crashed home off the inside of the post after 20 minutes. This instantly spurred the visitors into action and with their passing game in full flow only some desperate Cranes defending kept Henley out. As succession of repeated fouls down the left side of Henley’s attack saw the visitors rain a series of free kicks into the Cranes box Smythe having a header cleared off the line, Bevis shooting narrowly wide and Holland having to collect sharply to deny both Bruce and Tejano. Cranes thought they’d increased their lead but their effort was disallowed for an offence, handball I believe, earlier in the play. Henley levelled the score on the stroke of HT, the assistant flagged for a foul on Tejano out wide right, but he skipped over the challenge and whilst the Cranes defence froze he slotted home low past a wrong footed Holland. A good advantage played by Mr Kitson and an indictor or his excellent game management.
Cranes made it 2-1 within a minute of the restart as Leggett used his pace to race into the area and fire home a fine low shot across Sharplin. After 10 minutes Henley equalised as Field cut in from the right and smashed home yet another worldie of a finish into the top corner from fully 25 yards for 2-2. Henley were on top now and 7 minutes later made it 2-3, Tejano won back possession in midfield and released Bruce with a pinpoint pass. Bruce looked up and saw ex team mate Holland off his line and gleefully lobbed him from 30 yards to take the lead. Whilst Cranes continued to always look dangerous it was the visitors who spurned a handful of chances to further increase their lead. Holland saved well from Bruce and Duzgun but overplaying in front of goal saw us waste a couple more chances which would have increased the winning margin.
Tejano’s dynamic and committed display saw him come away with the Ultras MOTM vote, but in all honesty it could’ve been awarded to any of the starting 11 in what was a terrific team performance. Smythe had a magnificent game in defence, alongside Storey, as he has done all season. Trevivian looked like he’d never been away and along with Bevis and Duzgun controlled the game from midfield whilst Bruce and Field’s interplay improves with every game. Jackson and White ran their legs off and young Sharplin in goal showed a lot of promise, in what was a baptism of fire. Cranes were resolute, strong and committed with Leggett the star for me, one of the biggest and best teams in local football, they’re always a challenge to face.
A word of praise for our referee Paul Kitson who controlled the game superbly, his man management skills are second to none. The Henley Ultras (myself included) were screaming for a card for a series of repeated fouls by the same player, but he chose a quiet, non dramatic final word instead which instantly had the desired effect. Indeed despite a fiercely competitive game on a slippery surface, with no quarter given by either side, not a single card was shown throughout. Proof, if it were needed, that good man management is vastly preferable to randomly brandishing cards.
A word too for our hosts, although we always have intense games on the pitch, off the pitch there is a lot of mutual respect and friendship. Post match everyone was in the bar where some great banter ensued, especially when Moley came round with the pubcard as the “Cranes Clipper”, I’m sure you can all imagine the hammering he took. It’s always a treat to have a chat with Rads and his lads and we all wish them luck in their semi-final next week.
As a result of the multiple absences the Ressies went into their home game against Bramford with just the bare 11 players. However, they came away at the end of a hard fought match with a 3-2 win which was a real credit to the lads who played. The first half was fairly even with both sides having chances, but it was the visitors who took the lead from a corner just before the break.
The second half began with Henley pressing hard for the equaliser and they were rewarded when a long range shot by Laughlin was only pushed away by the Bramford keeper and Mallick slotted home the rebound to make it 1-1. We then started to create more chances and had a goal disallowed before Laughlin made it 2-1 to Henley with a diving header. Bramford then stepped up a gear and scored with a well taken header from a corner to make it 2-2. With the match looking like it was going to end in a draw, a good passing move involving Ling and Laughlin saw Mallick get a chance in the box which he absolutely smashed into the top corner for 3-2 to Henley who then managed to safely negotiate the last few minutes to secure a vital win.
Next week we welcome Felixstowe Harpers to the Community Centre, K.O 2.30, the ressies have a free week.
February 26, 2018
Henley visited Greshams on a bitterly cold but mercifully dry and sunny Saturday afternoon, where a decent sized crowd, swollen by the ever faithful Henley Ultras watched an entertaining game against Coplestonians.
Henley had a couple of early chances from Bruce and Field, whilst at the other end Gilbert saved comfortably from Davies and the ever tricky Soanes prodded wide after wriggling clear. Henley’s midfield were pinning Coplestonians back now, but against the run of play a mishit clearance from keeper Gilbert fell kindly to Davies who gratefully took the opportunity to put the home side 1-0 up. Cops were defending bravely and hitting out on the break with Gilbert forced into a neat save from Soanes, Houchill was kept busy between the Cops sticks and Field came closest to an equaliser for Henley, hitting the post just before the break.
Cops had a chance early in the second half but Davies ballooned his effort high and wide as Henley started a period of dominance from midfield. This was frustrated by some fine defending in addition to some time wasting from the home side, who at this point in the game only appeared to have a single match ball? Thankfully they found a spare, albeit shortly after a superb equaliser from Duzgun on 75 minutes, who fired home into the roof of the net to open his Henley account and make it 1-1. This forced Cops forward and they had their best period of the game with 3 or 4 chances which all came to naught. A frank exchange of views with an assistant saw Henley’s Cowans receive a red card, however we’re not the soft touch we were a few years ago and if anything this seemed to inspire us and even with only 10 men we dominated from this point on.
With 5 minutes left Henley had a solid claim for a penalty denied, for what was a clear hand ball, but 2 minutes later Bruce burst into the area and was blatantly brought down by Velzian. Bruce kept his composure and fired home the spot kick low under Houchill’s despairing dive to make it 1-2. Within a minute Bruce almost had another, smashing a 25 yard effort off the bar with Houchill motionless. Deep into stoppage time Storey showed what being a club captain is all about. He picked the ball up on the edge of his own box and drove forward on a lung busting 70 yard run before picking out Bruce wide right. His cross to the back post was superbly headed down by Munson with the deftest of touches into the path of Field who smashed it home from 6 yards for a final score of 3-1. This sparked wild celebrations from the Henley bench and Ultras and saw Cops wide man Soanes sent off for something he’d said to the referee.
Every match against Cops’ talented and well coached side is always a close one and this one was no exception. Both sides played some lovely football but I feel Henley deserved our win, with our midfield having an exceptional game. Field won the Ultra’s MOTM again, his dynamism and quality growing weekly, but it was a close run thing, with the effortlessly silky Duzgun and the resurgent Smythe picking up votes too. Bruce was a constant thorn in the side of the Cops defence and as already mentioned Storey was his usual magnificent self, a word or two for Munson as well, who is already giving us a glimpse of his quality with another impressive cameo off the bench. For Cops Davies and Soanes impressed, but Ferniz has long been the Ultras favourite Cops player and once again was today.
Post match, as always it was a pleasure to chat to my friends Scoop, Brian and Iain, we may always have a battle royale on the pitch but there is a lot of mutual respect and friendship between our two clubs. Long may it be so.
A brief word on today’s dismissals, I can’t and won’t defend swearing at officials, but I must question Cowan’s red card. The assistant on our side of the pitch and the referee were sworn at by members of both teams throughout with no action, however when the assistant the other side was sworn at, it was a straight red card. This obviously makes me question consistency? Even when Soanes for Cops was dismissed in the closing seconds for words with the referee it looked like two yellows were awarded not a straight red? I think consistency is important, some refs laugh it off, others are stricter and will warn 1st, some have zero tolerance. Please make your mind up so everybody knows where they stand.
A much improved performance from the Ressies saw them slip to a narrow defeat
against high flying Cops Reserves. On a very cold, but thankfully dry day at Club HQ, we took an early lead when Laughlin bent a free kick into the top corner of the net from 35 yards. The first half continued to be a tight affair until a misplaced pass in our half to Cops forward gave him the opportunity to guide the ball past debutant keeper
Sharplin for 1-1 at HT
Cops started the second half with more attacking intent and took the lead when we
seemed to switch off for a split second and allowed them space at the far post which they took full advantage of for 1-2. We then got back into the game and thought
we had scored from a corner. However, the referee ruled that the ball had gone out of play and back in from the corner kick! Therefore, the goal was disallowed and from
the resulting goal kick for Cops they managed to break away and score a third! Leaving a final score of 1-3 , but a good effort from the lads.
Next Saturday we welcome Grundisburgh FC to the community centre K.O 2.30 whilst the reserves are fixture free.
February 18, 2018
A beautiful bright and sunny afternoon saw a fresh looking Henley welcome Leiston St Margarets to the community centre. Several changes saw a revised line up as we welcomed back Gilbert in goal, Behnamnia and Jackson from injury, with new signings Munson and Sharplin on the bench.
Leiston are in a precarious position and had understandably set out in a disciplined and defensive manner, their commitment and Henley adjusting to a new set up, saw an uneventful 1st half as Henley had the possession but crashed into a blue wall of defenders.
The 2nd half was far better to watch, Leiston, still in defensive mode but looking to break, were pegged back in their own half. Cowan looked to have opened the scoring for Henley, racing onto a through ball and smashing his shot off the underside of the bar and cannoning down. Sadly the low sun and distance meant that the officials missed the ball crossing the line, to supporters with the benefit of hats and sunglasses it certainly appeared a goal, but it wasn’t given. Shortly after Field rose to head home at the back post, but it was quite correctly disallowed for offside.
Henley rang the changes introducing Jackson and Munson off the bench and to an almost immediate impact. A neat passing move down the right saw Munson cushion a ball down off his chest which sat up perfectly for Field to smash home a curling, dipping wonder goal from 25 yards to make it 1-0. After successfully defending a spate of free kicks, Henley broke again and Munson was brought down by the visiting keeper, Bruce stepping up to smash home the penalty low in the corner for a final score of 2-0.
The Leiston lads were a credit to their club, competing for every ball for 90 minutes and showing some real flashes of quality, especially in their wide play. If they perform to this level every week I can see them getting out of trouble.
Lots of changes for Henley today saw some good performances, Duzgun was as elegant and silky as always and combined well with Tejano and Bevis, Cowan was dynamic and Bruce worked his socks off despite the close attention he received. Munson made an impressive 15 minute cameo and looked like he’d been at Henley for years, instantly fitting into the club’s ethos. It was good to have Gilbert back between the sticks and young Booth gave another strong performance, even out of his usual position. MOTM went to Field, this lad has consistently improved throughout the season and showed it today with an absolute worldie of a goal (chatting to Leiston defender Will Ridgard post match, he said he almost felt like applauding it) All in all a positive improvement throughout.
The game was well refereed by the as always good natured Mr Tebbutt, even though we joked post match that he did have a small spate of yellow cards in an inpromptu effort to fund his own commemorative wing at Suffolk FA HQ.
The ressies had a less pleasant afternoon losing heavily at high flying Old Newton,
pre-match preparations were hampered by late call offs which left us with just a bare starting 11. We conceded an early goal but soon got back to 1-1 with a stunning free kick from Laughlin.
However, 2 goals from counter attacks for Old Newton ensured that they went into half -time with a 3-1 lead. The second half saw a further 6 goals conceded meaning a final score of 9-1 to the home side.
Thank you to the 11 players who did turn up and worked hard for the team.
Next week the 1st team travel to my pal Scoop’s Coplestonians with the ressies welcoming the Cops free scoring ressies to the Community Centre. Both K.O at 2.30 (That’s 2.30 Pigeon Bob!)
February 12, 2018
With the 1st team not having a game this weekend I took the opportunity to take in our ressies game at Ipswich Athletic FC, with both of the 1st teams free, both sides were reinforced. Athletic had a handful of players who had faced our 1st team in the cup back in January, whilst we fielded Storey, Tejano and Behnamnia to support the lads.
After a disjointed start, where Athletic could and probably should’ve taken a lead, Henley’s passing game started to click and they began to control the game. However it was 30 minutes before Henley took the lead their play deserved. A neat interchange between Mallon and Laughlin saw Tejano through on goal, his 1st effort was well saved but he was the quickest to react and poked home the rebound for 0-1. Just before the break Laughlin won the ball back and fired a cross low across the area where the lively Hynard was on had to finish from close range to make it 0-2 at HT.
Several early chances went begging before Henley extended their lead to 0-3 with 20 minutes left, good hold up play by Hynard, with his back to goal, saw him lay the ball off to Laughlin, his strike was well saved but Hynard was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Henley made substitutions and took their foot of the pedal a little too much and temporarily allowed Athletic back into the game as they pulled the score back to 2-3. However with five minutes left the game was put to bed as a good interchange between Ling and Behnamnia saw Benny rifle the ball into the roof of the net for his first ever Henley goal and a 2-4 win.
I was quite impressed with some of the lads on display, Fruend, Laughlin and Westlake rolled back the years playing with their mates Storey and Tejano. Woods showed some nice touches but my MOTM went to Hynard, despite being the recipient of a harsh challenge early on, he ran his socks off and showed some real flashes of skill alongside a brace of goals.
The first team are back in action this coming Saturday as they welcome Leiston St Margarets to the community centre, the ressies travel to face Old Newton Utd. Both games K.O at 2.00.
February 5, 2018
Henley’s topsy turvy season continued as a disastrous 30 minutes in the 1st half contrived to see us tumble to a 4-1 defeat at Bramford Utd.
Our misfortune started pre match when Artun twisted his knee after catching his foot in a hole in the training area, he bravely chose to play, but could only struggle through until the break. Henley were on top in the opening 20 minutes creating 2 or 3 decent chances before Bramford took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, as a fortuitous bounce saw the ball land at the feet of Lytess who made no mistake with a fine finish from the edge of the box for 1-0.
Within 5 minutes it was 2-0 as Lytess was unaccountably left unmarked at a corner and made no mistake firmly heading home from 6 yards for 2-0. On 30 minutes it was 3-0 with the goal of the game from Mandley who battled hard to win the ball before curling home a fine effort from 30 yards. Bramford were gifted their fourth as the ball was needlessly given away in midfield, although Knights did well to block the initial effort he could do nothing as Cole stroked home the rebound for a HT lead of 4-0.
Henley made 3 HT substitutions and posed a threat instantly with Storey’s header going narrowly over the bar in the 1st minute. This game of two halves saw Henley have the better of the 2nd half, however despite creating more than a few chances, profligate finishing meant it wasn’t until the 80th minute until we pulled a goal back with a precision finish from Bruce bringing the final score to 4-1 and a deserved home win.
A lack of concentration? Players out of position? Over playing at times? All were theories espoused on the touchline, but what was evident was the spirit and effort shown until the final whistle and afterwards in the bar. Make no mistake, these lads are a TEAM. To lighten proceedings MOTM was awarded to the travelling Henley Ultras, who unlike the supporters of a few teams we’ve beaten this season, stayed until the end and went in for a post match drink.
The ressies entertained Mendlesham in a bottom of table clash on a cold but nice day for football. It was a game of two halves we controlled the first, but came for the break level at 1-1. A long range effort from the always hard to recognise Laughlin on his 250th appearance for the club was tipped onto the bar but Hynard was on hand to head the rebound home to put us one up. A long ball down the middle caught our defenders out and was well finished by the Mendlesham forward for the equaliser.
Inexplicably we failed to get our game going in the 2nd half and Mendlesham scored what was to be the winning goal mid half, we huffed and puffed but failed to find our way back in to the game and lost 1-2.
Not a good week for the club, but as always we’ll go again next Saturday, the 1st team have a free week whilst the ressies have what is now a vital game at Ipswich Athletic K.O 2.00.
Finishing off this week with a plea for clubs to step up and at least provide a match report on their home games, if not club notes. In a Senior division of 16 clubs only 8 take the time to do match reports, whilst the others sit back and let the visiting scribe do their job for them. Interestingly they also tend to be the clubs that criticise the reports afterwards! Although possibly even worse are the clubs who only pop up and write something when they win, also a common phenomenon on social media too I’ve noticed. Come on, it’s easy enough, contact the Green Un and set up an account, show some class and character and report win, lose or draw.
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.
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.
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.
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.