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 22, 2018
A crowd approaching 100 braved the terrible weather to enjoy a pulsating match which saw Achilles leave with the 3 points after very narrowly defeating Henley 4-5 in a game that, despite the awful conditions, was a credit to SIL Senior football. The teeming rain saw the usually immaculate Henley surface transformed into a slippery nightmare for both goalkeepers and defences alike.
Some bustling play saw Achilles take the lead when Donovan fired home under Holland for 0-1 in the opening couple of minutes. Their lead was short lived though as Henley were level on 8 minutes when White's cross was smashed in at the back post by an unmarked Cowan. After 28 minutes Henley took the lead, after Bruce was crudely brought down, he stepped up and slotted home the penalty for 2-1. This began a period of Henley ascendancy, however the always dangerous Achilles came close with a long distance strike hitting the post just prior to the break, but it remained 2-1 at HT
Achilles levelled in the 1st minute of the 2nd half when a defensive slip saw Grimwood retain his footing to finish neatly. After 15 minutes Achilles took a 2-3 lead when yet another surface induced defensive fall allowed Grimwood through to score. Almost predictably after 25 minutes it was 2-4 as another slip saw Van Oene through unmarked to shoot across Holland to score. Henley were back in it as Smythe burst through to find Bruce, he held the ball up superbly to feed Tejano who turned and fired home low in the corner for 3-4. Grimwood was having a great game and twisted and turned before completing his hat-trick for 3-5. Booth came off the bench for his Henley debut, his first contribution saw him fly down the wing and cross for Field whose precision looping header gave Chaplin in the Achilles goal no chance and made it 4-5. Tejano came close to the equaliser, juggling the ball before hitting a superb volley which crashed off the bar to safety. In the last 5 minutes Henley were denied a clear penalty as Cowan burst through, but his striking foot was clipped as he entered the 6 yard box, sadly the referee was the only person in attendance, irrespective of affiliation, who thought otherwise and the appeal was waved away for Achilles to hold on for victory.
What a game this was! Fantastic attacking play from both sides saw some great goals, its fair to say that it wasn't a great day for defenders with turning on the slippery surface proving difficult. The game was also played with the right spirit from both sides, I can't recall a nasty challenge or any bad attitudes throughout the 90 minutes. The game was expertly officiated by Mr Tebbutt, yes, he didn't award the penalty which would probably have seen the game finish in what would've been a deserved draw, but he made far less errors than anybody else on the pitch, a top referee. Make no mistake, Achilles are a top side and must surely now be favourites for the Senior title, going forward they are incredibly dangerous, Grimwood was on fire and Hillyard's hold up play, pace and strength is always a pleasure for a real football fan to watch. Henley's passing play, despite the surface was a joy, with MOTM Tejano enjoying a great run of form, Duzgun showed his class throughout as did Bevis. Smythe has been terrific of late, as has White, whilst Bruce is a nightmare for any defence to handle. Tactical changes saw Field come off the bench and make an immediate impact with a beautiful goal and young Booth looks like he'll fit it at Henley as well as the excellent Cowan has.
Henley Ressies left Mendlesham with big smiles on their faces after a vital away win, it was Diet Cokes all round at the Kings Head post match! In weather conditions which were definitely more suited to playing than watching, Henley got off to a positive start and dominated the early exchanges. Dan Richardson poached two early goals, followed by two spectacular long range efforts by Hynard and Mallon which saw Henley 0-4 up at HT.
Henley continued to create chances in the second half, but against the run of play, Mendlesham were awarded a penalty for a very dubious foul awarded against a bemused Haynes, which was converted to make the score 1-4. Despite this setback, the lads continued to enjoy the majority of the play and Ling surely would have scored after a mazy run , but was cynically taken out by the Mendlesham centre-half before he could fire a shot at goal. The defender was already on a yellow, but the referee decided not to produce a second on this occasion. However, a few minutes later Mendlesham did indeed go down to ten men after a second bookable offence by their striker. With ten minutes left, club stalwart Mallick came off the bench and was very soon on the scoresheet as he finished very nicely for Henley's fifth goal of the afternoon to make the final score 1-5. Hopefully, this win will provide the team with a much needed confidence boost for the remaining games of the season.
Next Saturday the 1st team welcome Trimley Red Devils for a Bob Coleman Cup game which kicks off at 1.30. The ressies have a short trip across town to face Coplestonians K.O 2.00
Saturday saw the 1st team come home with the points after a hard-fought game at Wenhaston Utd, Henley running out 2-3 winners after a last minute penalty.
Wenhaston is always a difficult place to visit with a partisan crowd and a smallish, lumpy pitch which the home team have perfectly adapted their style of play to. The opening minutes immediately demonstrated the contrast in playing styles, with Wenhaston's direct approach better suiting the challenging surface, however Henley 's passing began to take effect and we took the lead after 15 minutes. Good interplay out wide right between Jackson and White saw a low cross into Tejano, both his 1st and 2nd efforts were well saved at point blank range but his third went under the keeper for 0-1.Wenhaston's busy front pair looked dangerous throughout and they gained a rather fortunate equaliser on 35 minutes when Goodwin's freekick took a huge looping deflection off the wall and bounced into the opposite corner for 1-1 at HT
Wenhaston took a 2-1 lead 20 minutes into the 2nd half, Goodwin controlling a long ball well and turning superbly before curling an excellent finish into the top corner. Within a minute of the restart they had a gilt edged opportunity to put the game to bed but somehow managed to screw a shot wide from a yard out in front of an open goal, an error they would most certainly rue later. Almost immediately Henley went up the other end and equalised as Storey ghosted in at the back post to head home White's pin point cross for 2-2.
Both sides had further chances, with Holland making a great near post save, it looked like the game was going to finish a draw, but there was still time for some late drama. In the final minute Field drove into the box and was rather clumsily brought down which saw Mr Biss correctly point to the spot. The home keeper, somewhat unsportingly, tried a full range of tricks and comments to try and put Clark off and was quite rightly booked for his trouble. It was all to no avail though as Clark stepped up to smash home the winner and the keeper had to suffer the ignominy of having pretty much the entire Henley team celebrate directly in front of him.
So a hard fought victory against a tough team in difficult conditions, Wenhaston have a fine defence and a couple of excellent forwards and I'm sure they'll cause a lot of sides issues, especially on their home surface. Henley MOTM was Artun who gave a very controlled and effective display, Storey was as immense as always and Bruce worked his socks off throughout, it was good to see Cowan back after illness as well.
Meanwhile back at the Community Centre Henley reserves welcomed Sporting 87 on a dull and misty Saturday afternoon. The pitch looked in fine condition after so much rain of late, with the pantomime enforced rest looking to have done it some good. Henley took time to settle into the game after their 3 week break and found themselves 4 down after 65minutes. We pulled 2 goals back from Laughlin, who is in an incredible vein of form currently, but Sporting 87 killed the game off with a fine solo effort with 10 minutes remaining to win 2-5. We move on and look forward to the next game,
This coming Saturday Achilles FC are the visitors to the Community Centre whilst the ressies travel up the A140 to Mendlesham FC, both K.O at 2 p.m
January 8, 2018
With panto season in full effect at the Community Centre our initially at home fixture against Ipswich Athletic FC was switched to an away one at Bourne Vale sports club. Despite the cold and rain I think there were probably more travelling supporters than home ones to witness us progress to the next round with an 8-1 victory
Straight from the off Henley were in charge, Tejano hitting the bar within 5 minutes and only the first of many horrific bobbles denying him a certain goal 2 minutes later. The winter weather has obviously been unkind to the Bourne Vale playing surface with Duzgun suffering with a very uncharacteristic air kick as the ball suddenly flicked upwards as he lined up a finish. It wasn't until 13 minutes that Henley's dominance was rewarded with a goal when Bruce was felled in the box and stepped up to smash home from the spot for 1-0. After 22 minutes it was 2-0 with a lovely team goal, Tejano and Bruce combining quick passes to precisely feed White who side footed home from 15 yards. A phenomenal double save by home keeper Ruse first denied Field's 20 yard rocket and then Bruce's follow up, however Bruce reacted sharply and smashed home the 2nd rebound for 3-0. Bruce completed his hat trick on 40 minutes as he finished White's low driven cross from close range for 4-0 at HT.
Within 5 minutes of the 2nd half it was 5-0 when a well struck Bevis free kick was headed down by Storey and struck home by White. This margin gave Henley the freedom to make some changes bringing on debutant Smith from the bench and then Caraccio and Laughlin as well. White also completed a hat trick when his deflected, albeit on target, header nestled in the net for 6-0. Pushing forward in numbers a rare Henley defensive error saw Hall pull back a consolation goal with a well taken effort leaving Holland no chance for 6-1. A fine ball in from Jackson from out wide saw a deft flicked header from Caraccio make it 7-1 and there was still time for Laughlin to hit the bar with a header and be the quickest to react, prodding home the rebound for a final score of 8-1.
All in all a competent team performance resulting in a comprehensive victory, both sides found the surface frustrating and I wonder what the score may have been on a more reliable surface. Henley MOTM was White, who is in a rich vein of form at the moment, but truthfully everyone played well and did their job on the day.
A word or two for our opponents Ipswich Athletic, they're clearly going through a period of transition following relegation, but were much changed from our matches against them last season. Then they seemed intent on having a tear up, now however they have a lot of youngsters, I assume from their enviable youth set up, full of enthusiasm and talent and who, with the exception of one nasty challenge, wanted to play football. Ruse in goal made numerous blocks and must surely have been their MOTM and Hall up front worked hard and took his goal well. As always Wright looks a class above and their young sub at number 15 was quite possibly the most enthusiastic young player I've seen in a long time.
Next week it's back to league action with a trip to Wenhaston Utd for the 1st team whilst at the community centre the ressies welcome Sporting 87, both KO at 2.p.m.
December 28, 2017
A slightly warmer day than recent weeks, saw a good sized crowd of 73 enjoy some entertaining football, as Henley Athletic defeated East Bergholt Utd 5-1 at the community centre. Work commitments once again deprived us of the services of Holland in goal which saw Karl Knights roll back the years to make his second appearance of the season. With Shep deciding to return to the travelling of the TN league, Cowan stepped in at centre back and Duzgun made his first start after recovering from injury.
With Hammond making an astonishing point blank save early on, it wasn't until the 15th minute when Henley took the lead their pressure deserved. Smythe brought the ball forward out of defence and after exchanging passes with Tejano and White, he continued his run to receive the return ball and slot home neatly for 1-0. Within 5 minutes it was 2-0, Tejano holding the ball up well with his back to goal, before feeding Bruce to fire home from 8 yards. A rather soft free kick saw Bergholt back in the game, stand in keeper Knights tipped onto his bar, the 1st follow up was well blocked but Chinnery was the quickest to react and scored from 6 yards out for 2-1.
Bergholt's best period of the game ensued as they looked for the equaliser but failed to create a real opening, despite some good approach play. Their hope was swiftly extinguished though when Henley added a 3rd after 40 minutes, White's driven cross caused mayhem in the Bergholt box and was bundled home after a goalmouth melee by Tejano for 3-1. On the stroke of halftime the game was effectively over when White rose to head home a Duzgun cross at the back post to make it 4-1 at HT
The second half saw efforts from Bruce, Field, McGlone and Bevis come close with Knights having to be smartly off his line to snuff out the Bergholt attack a couple of times. In the 75th minute Henleymade it 5-1 with Cowan twisting and turning through the visitors defence to find space, before finishing from 8 yards. The score line saw us have the opportunity to utilise our subs with Freund and the impressive young Steel doing well off the bench.
A deserved win and a strong team performance against a good Bergholt side. MOTM went to White with votes for Storey and Cowan running him close. Bergholt looked good but had the Christmas stuffing knocked out of them by the two quick goals before HT.
A pleasure to have a catch up with Griefy post game, we hope him and his side enjoyed the hospitality, many thanks go to one of our Ultras, Big Steve, who produced a terrific chilli and jacket potato for all.
Henley Ressies ended the year with a real Christmas cracker of a game. We gained our 1st point for a few weeks away at Gandish Rdagainst East Bergholt Utd Ressies, in a 14 goal thriller. We started well and went one up after 15 mins with a Laughlin free kick. Then Bergholt clicked into gear and played some lovely football moving the ball around well and with good forward movement. This saw them quickly 4-1 up and looking good for the win.
Henley's new found fighting spirit then sprang into action, miraculously going into HT 4-4! With goals from Hynard and 2 more from Laughlin to complete his 1st half hat trick. The 2nd half saw more of the same, Bergholt went 6-4 and then 7-6 up with just 10 mins to go. With 4 mins left of Laughlin got his double hat-trick to level it up at 7-7. Manager Jordi was over the moon with the point, but more so with the performance and work rate shown by the lads.
This coming Saturday sees the 1st team head up the A140 to face AFC Hoxne KO 2.00, whilst the ressies are without a fixture.
December 18, 2017
It's an easy week for this scribe, all I really have to do is to point you towards my pal and fellow scribe Big Phil's excellent and comprehensive notes for a fair and accurate description of Saturday's 1st team fixture at Westerfield. Hence I'll just give a brief insight from the Henley view of things.
We lost keeper Holland only hours before the game to urgent work demands, sadly too late to get hold of our stand in keeper. So firstly many thanks go to ressies defender Alex “Stefan” Freund for pulling on the gloves at the last minute, a long term Henley man he once again did his club proud. We are still arbitrarily deprived of the services of Williams and Artun, so started with the same line up as the previous week, with the obvious exception of between the sticks.
Phil's summation of the first half is no exaggeration, Henleydominated to such an extent that I would've fancied my chances in goal and I've got a leg in plaster. Sadly our excellent play only produced a single goal, but it was a lovely one, quick, crisp passing then terrific patience and foresight from Field to wait for the unexpected run from White and to lay the ball perfectly into his path, White's deft finish was a treat too.
What happened in the opening 25 minutes of the 2nd half is beyond me? Did we take our foot of the pedal a little or did Westerfield improve dramatically? Maybe a bit of both? A misjudged bounce saw both an opportunity to clear missed and gifted Westerfield their 1stwhilst their second was well hit through a crowded box. Both were deserved and justified by the home side's determination and efforts.
We pushed hard to get back into the game and had two penalty appeals harshly dismissed, 1st as Cowan was brought down from behind and then another when Bruce was clipped after rounding Punter. Regardless of my undoubtedly red and black tinted glasses, both would comfortably fall into the category of “seen them given”. As it was there was some small element of justice as Captain, Leader, Legend, Storey rose to head home his third goal in as many games to equalise from the subsequent corner. The impressive Cowan came perilously close to a winner with an elegant lifted effort which came back off the bar and was denied a cracking overhead kick goal by a perilously tight offside flag as the game finished 2-2.
A disappointing albeit fair result on the day in an archetypal game of two halves, Marcus Taylor impressed for the home side, whilst Duzgun changed the game when he came off the bench for Henley. MOTM went to Storey who had a faultless game, with much credit going to Bruce who received a lot of “close attention”, Field, White and Cowan also performed well. Post match socialisation was long lasting and a pleasure, it's always fun catching up with Phil and Spreads.
A brief round up by from Jordi of the ressied trip to Achilles which saw the home side run out 5-2 victors in what all involved tell me was a cracking game to watch as well as a well behaved and well refereed one. 2-2 after 10 minutes with 2 great goals from Steel and Hynard we were 4-2 down at the break. We defended much better in the 2nd half and despite losing to a very good side are showing signs of improvement. The lads are working hard on the pitch and in training for the manager and it augers well for the future.
It's a double header against East Bergholt this coming Saturday with Griefy's boys visiting the community centre whilst the ressies go in the opposite direction. Rumours abound of Ultra Big Steve making a slow cooked chilli, so I'm expecting a packed clubhouse post match! Both K.O at 2.00.
December 11, 2017
Despite the bitterly cold weather a crowd of 51 watched a great game of football at the Community Centre. The freezing conditions necessitated a lot of work in the morning to get the game playable, many thanks go to our Chairman Wayne Leggett and his helpers, also to referee Euan Goodman who not only turned up at 12 to approve the pitch but also recruited his assistants for the game. As predicted in last week's notes, the consequences of the shenanigans at Benhall cost us the services of Williams and Artun forcing managers Brown and Waspe into changes including a debut for Jamie Cowan who joined us from Bramford Utd during the week. Our visitors, old friends and rivals from division 1 days, AFC Hoxne, were also missing a handful of players.
Henley took control of the game instantly with their quick passing game denying Hoxne possession and negating them getting the ball forward to the dangerous Perry. Only a terrific tip over from Warren denied Field giving Henleyan early lead with a vicious shot from just outside the area after 5 minutes. Despite their superiority at keeping the ball, it took 41 minutes for Henley to open the scoring, Storey strode forward out of defence with the ball, finding Field out wide right, he played in Tejano who unleashed a low drive which Warren could only palm away, however centre half Storey had continued his run and slotted home the rebound from close range to make it 1-0 at HT.
Hoxne were unbowed and tried to get forward managing a scrambled effort that was comfortably cleared off the line by Smythe, otherwise pretty much leaving Holland untroubled throughout. Henley made it 2-0 with a cross from the ever energetic White from wide left which was headed home at the back post by Cowan to cap a fine debut. With ten minutes left a quick 25 yard freekick from Bevis caught Hoxne still setting their wall out, rebounding back off the bar, Tejano reacted first to volley home for 3-0. There was still time for a 4th as Smythe crossed and Warren fumbled under pressure from White who knocked the ball down for Bruce to absolutely smash home from 6 yards for a final score of 4-0.
A good team performance and a fine win against always dangerous opponents who never gave up trying to play football. MOTM went to Cowan on his debut, he slotted straight into the Henley midfield and looked like he'd been here years. Tejano and Storey, the heartbeat of Henley, ran him close though, with both in a superb vein of form at present. Field and Bruce tormented the visitors defence throughout with White ranging forward seemingly at will.
The Hoxne players and management were gracious in defeat and enjoyed the Henley hospitality post match. A good bunch of lads, we look forward to visiting them in a couple of weeks for the return game. Thanks also to referee Euan Goodman, who had an excellent game.
With the sad news of Jamie Frosdick's, family illness induced, resignation as ressies manager this week, club coach Andrew Jordan took control as the ressies visited Cockfield Utd ressies in the Goals of Ipswich Cup. I thank him for his following match report.
On a very cold day supporters of both sides warmed themselves up with an entertaining and well officiated game of football. The forwards for both teams were on top form from the start, providing chances at both ends of the pitch. After 10 minutes Henley found themselves 2-0 down, a few tactical changes were made which enabled the team to get back into the game and a goal from Richardson in the 15th minute brought the score to 2-1. Goals flew in regularly throughout the match, with Henley finding themselves one goal behind for most of the game there were plenty of missed chances as well......
At 5-4 down with 15 minutes remaining, a substitution was made, giving Henley an extra forward to push for an equaliser, unfortunately we conceded 2 more goals in this time for the a final score of 7-4. The Henley goals came from Richardson (2), Steel and Hynard, good luck to Cockfield in the next round.
A short trip for the first team next week, with a visit to Westerfield Utd, whilst the ressies have a tough fixture at Achilles. Both KO at 2.00.
December 4, 2017
The 1st team made the journey up the A12 to visit Benhall St Mary a team we last played in the semi final of the Junior Cup in the 2015/16 season. Previous visits have been tainted by controversy and this Saturday sadly proved to be the same.
As for the game itself a rampant Henley dominated Benhall St Mary and came away with a well deserved 1-6 victory after playing their best football of the season to date. Henley opened the scoring after 5 minutes, a nasty challenge on Field saw Bevis's subsequent freekick flicked on by Bruce on the edge of the area, for Artun to ghost in unmarked at the back post and slot home for 0-1. Henley added a 2nd after 20 minutes, Bruce was upended yet again, once again, seemingly straight off the training pitch, a Bevis free kick was headed home with the deftest of headers from Sheppard. Henley were totally in the ascendancy now with Williams running riot, tormenting the home right back to such an extent that the ever dangerous Miller was forced back into a defensive role to double up on him. On 31 minutes came the goal of the game, Tejano winning the ball in midfield, finding Williams out wide, he burned past his multiple markers and found Bruce who smashed home left footed from 15 yards to make it 0-3 at HT.
Only a terrific block with the home keeper well beaten prevented Bruce scoring 2 minutes into the 2nd half before Benhall had a brief moment of hope with a fine header from Pemberton making it 1-3 from a corner. This glimmer was promptly extinguished within 2 minutes when Storey powered home a header from a magnificent cross from Field for 1-4. Henley's fifth again came from a low driven Field cross, the keeper couldn't hold it and Tejano poked home from close range for 1-5. Williams was twice denied by good blocks before the controversial and very unwelcome moment of the game. Williams was brutally scythed down after winning the ball back from a the frustrated Benhall right back Gissing, a disagreement followed and in defending himself from a punch he obviously raised his arms to do so, therefore by the very rigid letter of the law both players saw red, bizarrely as did Artun who being the nearest player from either side raced in to separate them? Despite now being 9 against 10 Henley defended brilliantly against a brief flurry of attacks before scoring again when a run from his own half by White saw him jink past 5 players before finding Field who calmly slotted home for 1-6.
This was a breathtaking display of high tempo, high quality, passing football which left Benhall trailing in Henley's wake. MOTM was a topic of much discussion amongst the travelling Ultras with the general consensus being “all of them”. However it ultimately went to Tejano who was imperious in both attack and defence, Field's tenacity and link up play ran him close though. Williams' torturing of the Benhall defence may actually have been against the Geneva Convention and Bruce created panic every time he got the ball. Indeed the home side's only tactic with both seemed to be to foul them whenever they got close enough, with one Henley player noting later that evening that the only time the right back got close to Williams all game was when he was trying to punch him.
I've been pretty complimentary of officiating of late but I do feel the need to ask some questions regarding the incident on Saturday. There were a handful of late and heavy challenges in the 1st half, whilst free kicks were quickly awarded there was no sign of either bookings or verbal warnings. Indeed from the touchline the only warning heard that a card might be forthcoming was for “time wasting” after 5 minutes. Did this create an atmosphere where the awful challenge on Williams was seen as acceptable by the offender? I can't answer that I'm afraid, but if warnings or cards had appeared earlier would the foul have occurred? I somehow doubt it. Interestingly, Bevis was, quite rightly, booked 2 minutes after the major controversy for a foul of similar magnitude as those in the 1st half. Onto the “raising of the hands” issue, is a player supposed to just stand and be punched without defending himself? What is the correct procedure to avoid a red card whilst being assaulted? A&E? As for getting a red card for pulling people apart? What is a player meant to do, stand by and watch a team mate suffer whilst awaiting the arrival of officials? Finally why would an experienced referee call for the assistant from the other side and other half of the pitch for advice but not ask the assistant who was less than 5 yards away from the incident for his opinion? A question I'm pretty convinced that assistant would be interested to know the answer to as well. Ultimately though, very unfairly, as a club we're about to lose the services of two top players through no fault of their own.
I apologise for the brevity of the reserves notes this week, events at the 1stteam game have dominated this week. They met an in form Hoxne side who soundly defeated them 1-7, despite some signs of improvement in their play appearing, only Wood could find the net against the impressive visitors.
The 1st's welcome AFC Hoxne to the Community Centre next Saturday with the ressies on the road to Cockfield Utd reserves in the Goals of Ipswich cup.
On the coldest Saturday of the season to date the pre match conversation centred around who was wearing the most layers of clothing, in what transpired to be a futile attempt at keeping warm. Coplestonians were the visitors to the community centre Saturday afternoon for what was a good display of passing football and an evenly contested game. The aftermath of last week's engagement at Ransomes had left us with a few walking wounded and also missing the services of the influential pair of Duzgun and Williams.
Both sides had first half chances with Henley starting the better, getting our passing game going early on, Bruce stinging the hands of Houchill with a vicious drive. Coplestonians came into the game however having a good period of pressure before the break and creating a handful; of half chances.
The 2nd period saw Henley initially in the ascendancy as they took the lead after 58 minutes. White neatly dispossessed the Coplestonians defence wide on the right before patiently delaying his through ball until precisely the right moment to release it into the path of Field's run, through one on one with Houchill, Field made no mistake confidently lifting it over the advancing keeper for 1-0. Bruce came close to extending the lead with his shot whistling narrowly wide but on 78 minutes an error at the back saw Coplestonians equalise. Playing out from the back the ever reliable Holland mishit his pass which found Godbold out wide on the right. He still had plenty to do though, beating Sheppard before finding the far corner for 1-1, this saw a good spell for Cops, with Holland having to be at his best to tip Davies effort onto the bar and away. Henley piled the pressure on in the final minutes, Bruce, Field and the always instantly recognisable Laughlin all coming close to the winner. However it wasn't forthcoming and a draw was a fair result on the day.
A good game for the neutral with some attacking football on display from both sides, despite missing important players through injury Henley played some nice stuff. Storey is back to his best and Holland had a good game, commanding his area well, but MOTM went to Tejano who was tireless throughout in both defence and attack.
Post match it was a pleasure to have a chat with our pals from Cops, Ian, Brian and Scoop (retired, not out) are real, genuine football people who love our local game and always have something of interest to hear.
We are pleased to be able to announce that Adam Waspe is joining the club as joint 1st team Manager alongside the incumbent Sean Brown. All at the club extend him a warm welcome and look forward to him getting started.
Next Saturday the first team are on their travels yet again, this time visiting Benhall St Mary FC meanwhile at the Community Centre the reserves welcome AFC Hoxne, both games K.O at 2.00.
Nov 20, 2017
A much better performance saw Henley get back to winning ways with a 1-2 victory at a vastly improved from our earlier meeting this season, Ransomes Sports. Our recent visits to Sidegate Lane have been full of incident, was Saturday the same? Well, do Ursidae defecate in heavily forested areas? Henley were pleased to welcome Club Captain Storey back into the starting line up after he had missed 5 weeks through injury, however Field was missing from the squad as he enriches Vegas casino owners.
Henley's quick passing game cut through Ransomes from early in the game with home keeper Goldie called into prompt action to first push away a bullet header from Storey and then to make a great reflex save from Tejano. Henleytook the lead their play deserved on 28 minutes, a neat interchange between Bevis and Behnamnia saw a fine cross which White met with a deft header, flicking home at the near post for 0-1. Within 10 minutes it was 0-2, Bruce showed incredible skill pulling a driven Bevis pass down from waist height out wide on the touchline, he turned and fired in a low cross on the half volley which was swept home at close range by Williams. Again Goldie came to Ransomes rescue making a simply terrific stop to deny Bruce a certain goal whilst Holland had to be sharp at the other end to get a hand to a deflected shot to keep it 0-2 at HT
The impressive home striker Crowe showed his quality with an individual effort hitting the bar just after the break, but almost immediately Goldie again saved Ransomes, first blocking Smythe's long range drive and then somehow getting a touch to deny Tejano on the follow up. Williams had to be replaced by Laughlin after suffering from a knock in the first half and once again Goldie had to be at his best to race of his line and head a through ball clear then miraculously also manage to head away Bruce's long range follow up. Henleycontinued to dominate, but with 10 minutes remaining Ransomes got a foothold back in the game with a fine finish from Oxborrow. Henley lost Duzgun to an errant elbow, and having used our subs, battled hard to see out a difficult last period with 10 men to come away with the 3 points.
There were many signs of the beginning of a return to form from Henley, all across the field, MOTM was Tejano, back to his slippery best, twisting, spinning and deceiving his way past tackles all game. Duzgun and Bevis ran the game, whilst Bruce and Williams caused constant problems up front. Storey looked like he'd never been away with his usual Rolls Royce performance whilst in the words of our Club Secretary Simon “Robbie Smythe is channelling Franco Baresi today”
For Ransomes, they are a much different proposition now than the shadow of a side we thrashed 11-2 earlier in the season. With a Major Reisman-like mentality they've put a side together with a very strong spine of Goldie, Merrick, Froud, Oxborrow and Crowe, all quality players who'll give a lot of teams a really tough time for the remainder of the season, despite their on pitch combativeness, they were gents post match too, with some kind words about our style of play.
Henley reserves visited Westerfield Utd this weekend and with recent demands on the side, being able to name the same goalkeeper and back four was a welcome surprise. We started brightly once again with some good football and making a few chances, Richardson and Hynard both went close but the first half ended 0-0. The 2nd period was more of the same and quickly Hynard got in behind to fire in a low cross which was turned in by an unfortunate home defender for an own goal. We were looking likely to get a 2nd but once again silly defensive errors let Westerfield back into the game and they made the most of it, going on the win the game 2-1. Despite the result the team is starting to come together now and the players are working hard to put things right, with no game this forthcoming weekend there is time to work on our collective shortcomings and look to improve further.
This coming Saturday we welcome Coplestonians to the Community Centre, always a good footballing contest with the added benefit of a pint with my old mate Scoop. KO 2.00 p.m.
Nov 13, 2017
Henley's difficult period extended to three weeks Saturday, going down 2-1 at Haughley Utd.
Henley started brightly, albeit that a misplaced pass out of defence saw Holland have to make a sharp stop early on in the 2nd minute. Haughley worked hard but Henley dominated possession with the tall Haughley custodian forced into saves from half chances from Williams, Bruce and Field. Unlike in recent weeks Haughley did actually come forward and attack but MOTM Smythe and Sheppard dealt well with any forward incursions towards the Henley goal. Despite the visitors dominance it was Haughley who took the lead after 42 minutes somewhat against the run of play. Jackson's slide tackle took the ball of the toe of the Haughley wide man, sending it into the Henley box, distrusting of the bumpy surface, Holland chose to scoop the ball up but it was incorrectly adjudged to have been a back pass. Redolent of our recent fortunes the subsequent free kick from Smith found its way into the net via both uprights for 1-0.
The 2nd period saw an improved Henley but the challenging surface did little to assist our passing game, nonetheless we pushed hard to find a route back in to the game. 15 minutes in we were 2-0 down when an inconsistent bounce deceived Sheppard and saw Smith clean through to score with a neat finish. Henley changed things around with Artun making his debut off the bench, his calmness making an immediate impact. He was rewarded with a debut headed goal 5 minutes from time to make it 2-1. The final minutes saw the home goal under siege as Henley pile on the pressure, but sadly to no avail.
The travelling Ultras indulged in some light hearted mickey taking with the lads post match, saying that shortly our wives would be having words with them, blaming them for our collective bad tempers on recent Saturday evenings. We also jokingly awarded ourselves the MOTM award for faith and endurance under duress. But let's be truthful here, last season these same lads gave us the dream, exceeding all our expectations. They've not become bad players and we all truly believe that they're all good enough to walk into the vast majority of senior sides. Yes things haven't gone our way at all lately, we've not had the slightest modicum of good fortune and everything that could've gone against us has. However we all totally and utterly believe in these lads and know that collectively they'll come through it even stronger than they were before. So lads, when it gets tough, take a look at the sidelines, because we'll still all be there supporting you home and away, form is temporary, class is permanent.
Bruce worked his backside off, decrying the myth that he's a “luxury” player, Duzgun remains the silkiest thing you'll see outside of an Ann Summers shop and debutant Artun dropped into the team like he'd been here months. MOTM went to Robbie Smythe who did all the unglamorous stuff that defenders do, but did it with barely a foot wrong all game, great stuff. A comment also for referee Stephen Macken who, except for the back pass decision, had a strong game, his communication throughout demonstrating his enthusiasm for the game and his empathy for the players, once again it's nice to see an ego free referee.
Meanwhile back at the community centre Henley Reserves welcomed Steel and Carracio back into the fold as well as debutant Haynes at the back, as they took on a young looking Wenhaston Utd side. We started brightly, knocking the ball around and took the lead with a great goal from Wood that started with a cheeky back heel from Richardson to Steel, his low cross was met by Wood to make it 1-0. However try and we might we couldn't fins another finish and went in 1-0 up at the break. The 2nd half started brightly but yet again we gave away two soft goals from corners, something that had plagued us all season. This saw all our effort and hard work go to waste as we went down to a final score of 1-2.
Next week the 1st team have a short hop across town to visit Ransomes Sports FC, the ressies are also on the road as they travel to Westerfield Utd both games KO at 2.00.
Nov 6, 2017
A cold and damp Saturday saw Henley fall to a second consecutive loss as we failed to break down the massed ranks of a well organised Capel Plough with a wonderful freekick from Morrison seeing the visitors leave with 3 points after a 0-1 win.
Back to close to full strength Henley started brightly with the home defence managing the visitor's dangerous looking attack well. The home crowd bayed unsuccessfully for a penalty when Bruce was crudely barged over early on when bearing down on goal. After 20 minutes and a little against the run of play the visitors took the lead when Sheppard was adjudged to have fouled Alderson 25 yards out, up stepped Morrison to strike home an inch perfect curling freekick which left Holland helpless.
Shortly afterwards it appeared that Henley should've had another penalty, when Williams looked to have been brought down from behind in the six yard box, when clean through on the keeper. It transpired later however, after discussing it with those with a better view, that it was an absolute wonder tackle, with the defender's leg wrapping around Williams from behind to take the ball. Only a brave block denied Bruce's vicious drive and Williams raced in to force a save at his near post from Beal.
The 2nd half was almost entirely Henley attacking, with the visitors happy to try and preserve their advantage and hit on the break, however try as we might we couldn't find a way through. Capel showed real commitment, they'd obviously come with a plan to defend and try and nick anything they could and to their credit it worked perfectly for them. They defended from the front with Alderson holding the ball up well and Jackson disrupting Henley playing out from the back throughout. They looked sharp on the rare occasions they did attempt a foray forward with their young wide men impressing. A better performance from Henley than the previous week, we never gave up trying to find a route back into the game, but it wasn't our day. We have got to get used to the fact that as champions every side will see playing us as their cup final, they are going to “park the bus” and to be disruptive rather than creative. We need to see it as a compliment!
Henley MOTM went to Bruce who despite being pushed, pulled and fouled pretty much every time he got the ball, never once hid and kept looking for a goal for the whole game. A word too for our referee Mr Kitson, he got a bit of a barracking from the home support during the match (especially from me!) but still came into the bar with his team, had a couple of goes on the pub card and stood chatting about the game and his decisions with good humour. You don't have to agree with someone's decisions to respect their honesty and viewpoint, if only all officials were so knowledgeable, transparent and sociable, yet another example of why he is so highly thought of locally. It was good to see so many of the opposition and their support on the bar afterwards too, we hope they enjoyed the hospitality.
The ressies had a nice little trip to Leiston St Margarets in the Suffolk FA Senior Reserves cup, the weather wasn't the greatest but the conditions were a dream to play in. We were looking for a massive improvement from last week and we started off very well keeping the ball and creating chances. Gradually the chances stopped coming as Leiston grew into the game and we reverted to the long ball again, which isn't how we should be playing. But we stood strong at the back, rode our luck and kept Leiston out until a shot from outside of the box crept into the bottom corner. Leiston keet coming forward and creating chances and we were slowly going out of the game but we stood strong at back with some big tackles going in, one from our captain the smallest player on the pitch on the biggest player on the pitch, which shocked the home captain as he was up ended. Second half came after a few words and we got back into the game rattling Leiston in the first 10 minutes of second half with Ling grabbing a goal. Sadly a lack of communication at the back saw Bugg head one into his own goal with a finish any striker would be proud. After that things went from bad to worse with a handling mistake from our goal keeper gifting them the third goal. We pressed and pressed but left ourselves open at the back for Leiston to grab another and we went down 4-1. All at Henley wish Leiston good fortune in the next round.
Next week sees the 1st team on the road to Haughley whilst the ressies welcome Wenhaston to the Community Centre.
Oct 30, 2017
Chalk and cheese, black and white, light and shade, night and day, music and the X Factor, all pale into insignificance in attempting to describe the difference between last week's spectacular performance and this Saturday's disappointing one which saw us lose 1-0 at East Bergholt.
Who'd be a football manager nowadays? Your team produces the performance of the season only to discover that due to weddings, holidays and weekends away you are suddenly short of a handful of players and have to totally reorganise. Many thanks to Brownie this week who had to reshuffle the side yet again and also thanks to Karl Knights for signing on to cover between the sticks on Saturday. Despite the changes we still fielded a strong side, welcoming prodigal son Chris Williams back to the club and into the starting line up.
I'll leave my pal Griefy to provide a more in depth match report and just briefly cover the highlights. We started brightly and kept the ball well, but Bergholt sat deep and denied us space and time whilst looking threatening when they went forward. We had a few efforts on goal but really failed to trouble Flapper in the Bergholt goal. Indeed Bergholt should have taken the lead when Knights was rounded but their goal bound effort was weakly struck and McGlone was comfortably able to clear off the line. The Bergholt goal came after 38 minutes when the ball was cleared to the edge of the Henley area where Moughton was on hand to fire in a worldie of a shot which was in the back of the net before anyone present was even aware of him hitting it.
Obviously buoyed by a half time “chat” Henley raced out of the blocks with Bruce coming very close and Williams only denied by a desperate last ditch block from 6 yards. At the other end Bergholt had what looked like a cast iron penalty turned down and missed yet another sitter with the goal gaping. Henley pushed hard for an equaliser and White forced a flying save from Flapper but try as we might we couldn't find a route back into the game.
Bergholt undeniably deserved their win, they worked hard and had they taken their chances their victory may have even been more comprehensive. There were no complaints from Henley's players or the travelling Ultras who enjoyed the ever generous Griefy's post match hospitality. As for Henley, everybody worked hard, nobody gave up and we did play some nice football at times, MOTM Duzgun was as superb as always and Bruce tried his socks off. The enforced changes to personnel and shape didn't help us and we lacked directness and dynamism pushing forward, the sooner we get to a settled starting line up the better. Everybody will expect a much, much better showing next week.
Henley reserves hosted East Bergholt at the community centre, despite a change in team shape and with some players missing we started well with some nice football but no cutting edge. After 15 minutes Bergholt took the lead with a deflected shot, 4 minutes later they were 0-2 up with a great shot. Henley's heads went a bit and the previous good football was replaced by long balls, this did little to aid the back 4 with little successful hold up play seeing the ball coming straight back at them. Despite the best efforts of MOTM Wood in the middle we were over run and found ourselves 0-4 down at HT.
Credit to the lads they did much better in the 2nd half which more pleasant to watch with decent football but again no cutting edge in front of goal. Bergholt benefited from not one but two very questionable penalties, one seeing Hynard harshly receiving a 2nd yellow card. The 2nd penalty was initially saved brilliantly by Williams but he couldn't prevent the rebound being poked home for a final score of 0-6. Signs of better play are starting to show especially some quality from Wood and Mallon who despite the result both did well. There was still time for a moment of comedy at end of the game with the unfortunate Bugg hitting one of the worst free kicks any of us had seen in some time!
Nest Saturday sees Capel Plough visit the Community Centre with the reserves on their travels to Leiston St Margarets in the Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup. KO's now earlier at 2.00.
Oct 22, 2017
With their best performance of the season so far Henley swept aside league leaders Wenhaston Utd to win 5-0, comprehensively eviscerating the visitors with a fine display of slick passing football.
Henley had to soak up some early wind assisted pressure from a lively Wenhaston before taking the lead after 8 minutes. Bevis' diagonal ball switched the play and picked out Smythe wide right, he sent in an absolutely inch perfect cross for White to rise and head home at the back post for 1-0. Immediately the visitors had a chance to equalise when a defensive error saw the ball given away in our area, but they could only hit the bar. Only a last second slip by Field saw him fail to properly connect with Bruce's low cross and the ball rolled just wide, Bruce himself saw a drive go just wide, whilst at the other end Holland had to be off his line quickly to deny Clark. Henley were flowing now, with Duzgun, Bevis and Tejano totally dominant in midfield, Duzgun's trickery drawing purrs of approval from the Henley Ultras. It was 2-0 on 40 minutes when Field played a pin point pass, bisecting the Wenhaston defence, finding White out wide on the right, his ball was straight into the run of Bevis who calmly took a touch and slotted home from 6 yards.
Within a minute of the restart a quick break and precise interchange of passes by Smythe, Duzgun, Field and White saw the ball reach Jackson out wide on the left. His cross was deflected and ballooned high into the air, as it dropped Bruce watched it all the way and volleyed it into the bottom corner for 3-0. After 15 minutes a piece of pure magic from Duzgun saw him leave 3 visitors for dead (I've asked someone to pop by the community centre this morning to see if they're still there trying to find him) before finding Field, he timed his ball perfectly into the path of Bruce's run, who rifled home for 4-0. On 75 minutes the ball reached White who beat his man and crossed in to meet Field's lung busting run to neatly finish for 5-0. In stoppage time Duzgun's superlative performance was almost rewarded with a goal, but his 30 yard effort hit the bar and rebounded to safety.
Much credit must go to Wenhaston, they kept playing football throughout and didn't let their heads drop, they were gracious in defeat and all came into the clubhouse to enjoy the hospitality. A mention too for the man in the middle, Mr Kitson, he and his assistants had a terrific game. Communicative, decisive and up with play throughout, they seemed to enjoy the game as much as the players, more of the same please.
As for Henley, despite having to reshuffle with four players unavailable this was our best performance of the season by a considerable margin. This is best illustrated by the first Ultra I asked for his MOTM vote who simply stated “All of them”, I agreed, but our Club Secretary Simon informed me that FA Fulltime would probably explode if he tried to enter that on the system. Gussy White eventually won the vote by the narrowest of margins for probably his best game ever in a Henley shirt with a goal and two assists to his name. Duzgun was sublime, his guile and experience quickly making him a fans favourite, Bevis was in full magician mode, finding time and space throughout the game, Tejano was unplayable at times and gave the visitors no time at all. Jackson and Behnamnia raided from full back for 90 minutes whilst maintaining their defensive responsibilities. Sheppard and Smythe barely gave the visitors a chance throughout, defending superbly and alongside keeper Holland coped admirably with the windy conditions. Up front Field is growing into a Senior player more with every game, getting used to the “Henley way” of playing, and Bruce? Well what is there to say, back to his imperious best and a total defenders nightmare with the work rate to match. Subs Caraccio and Steel (sounds like a 70's Detective series) kept up the pace and pressure when they came on. Thanks to all of them from the Ultras for a magnificently entertaining afternoon.
The ressies had the opposite long journey to a very windy Wenhaston and gave a debut to Frost in the middle of the park. We started brightly, passing and moving well but couldn't find a cutting edge in front of goal with our hosts coming closest hitting the post and forcing a great save from Martin in the Henley goal to keep it 0-0 at the break.
Despite starting well again it was Wenhaston that took the lead with the unfortunate Fruend heading a long ball into his own net for 1-0. Manager Frosdick rang the changes and brought Smith on who made an immediate difference scoring with only his 2nd touch, a well hit left foot shot to make it 1-1. Sadly minutes later a wind assisted goal kick deceived everybody and found its way into the Henley net for 2-1. Once again Smith came to the rescue his fine ball finding Hynard who headed home for 2-2. There was till time for some late drama with Driver giving away a penalty which was well saved by Martin to secure a valuable away point. The squad is starting to get to know each other now and look better game by game, well done.
Next week the 1st team travel to face Griefy's East Bergholt with the ressies welcome Bergholt to the Community Centre. K.O's 2.30.
Oct 15, 2017
The CNet Suffolk Senior Cup saw Leiston FC Reserves visit the community centre where a crowd of 88 enjoyed a feast of quality, passing football from both sides.
Despite an early scare for the visitors where keeper Beckwith had to beat away a vicious drive from George the visitors had the better of the opening 30 minutes with their young wide men Groom and Cheetham causing problems with their pace and trickery. However there was little in the way of end product, with only a deflected shot just wide causing Holland to make a precautionary dive to his right to cover, although Bloom should have done better but chipped over and Behnamnia had to clear off the line from a corner. Henley weathered the storm and finished the half the stronger side with yet another fierce George drive saved and Bruce unlucky not to score when his cross shot rebounded back off the post across the face of goal to safety.
Henley shifted gears at the start of the 2nd half and forced an early scare for Leiston as a low cross from Bruce was helplessly deflected onto his own post and clear by a Leiston defender. Henley were rewarded with a goal 10 minutes in when Field deftly flicked on Behnamnia's throw in for Bruce to rifle home from 8 yards for 1-0. Henley had chances to increase their lead but saw Sheppard's towering header cleared off the line and his follow up shot blocked. Leiston keeper Beckwith was forced to desperately scramble back and clear an errant back pass, mere millimetres before it crossed the line. Leiston equalised with 6 minutes remaining after a goalmouth scramble saw Schaar's shot take several deflections before finally crossing the line for 1-1. Although the goal itself was somewhat fortuitous, nobody could argue that a draw wasn't a fair result after 90 minutes of attractive passing football.
Sadly the new rule of no extra time denied the crowd the entertainment of an additional 30 minutes of quality and the game went to penalties. With one save each out of the initial 5 it was Leiston who took the win 4-5 in the first round of sudden death. Expanding on the daft rule theme the penalties were taken using the new ABBA system (no me neither) named because the Winner takes it all I assume? With the exception of the two assistant referees nobody had a clue what was happening and much credit must go to the young Leiston player who walked up to take his penalty and was sent back to the centre circle only to be called back to take it after all! If he had missed it then Leiston would've had just cause to be very displeased.
Congratulations to Leiston, all at Henley wish them luck as they go forward in the competition. They are a classic reserve side with a smattering of experienced players and some really exciting young prospects who will doubtless be pushing for a place in their league leading 1st team, Groom especially catching the eye with his guile and speed. It was a pleasure to finally have a team come and play football here this season. Dugzun, George, Bruce and Tejano shone for Henley but it was Sheppard that won the Ultra's vote for MOTM dominating in defence. With the exception of the penalties confusion the officiating team also played their part in the afternoon's entertainment with a good performance.
Next week sees league leaders Wenhaston visit the community centre whilst the ressies take that long trip up the A12 to face their ressies. Both KO at 2.30
Oct 10, 2017
It was a short trip to see our good friends at Grundisburgh for the 1st team Saturday, there are many ties between the club, none stronger than our Chairman Wayne Leggett and his sadly deceased father John who as manager and chairman both played significant roles in Grundisburgh history. This connection has been celebrated with a Memorial Shield competition between us which is now in it's 7th season, and which our 1-2 victory on Saturday saw us secure for the 5th season running. There are other connections too with Grundisburgh having 9 ex Henley lads signed on, with 6 starting, 1 coming off the bench and the other 2 watching we knew Saturday would be a tough game as they would, and did, all give their all against their old club.
Once again we were forced into a reshuffle with Bevis, Storey and Behnamnia out injured and George away on holiday. From the off it was clear that Grundisburgh were as up for the game as we knew they would be, working hard across the pitch to shut us down. Despite this we still managed to create a handful of 1st half chances with Bruce, McGlone, Jackson and Field all coming close. However it wasn't until the stroke of HT that we took a lead as Field's drive was turned into his own net by Seaman under close pressure from Bruce. Whilst the assembled Henley Ultras were pleased to see the ball in the net, we all felt some sympathy for the former Henley hero scoring his 1st ever own goal for his old club.
The 2nd half was generally of higher quality with Dugzun getting Henley moving and MOTM Tejano seemingly everywhere at once. Ex Henley man Pearson looked dangerous every time he went forward and Wardley worked his socks off in defence for the home side. It was a combination of 2 ex Henley lads that saw the creation of the Grundisburgh equaliser, Griggs and Hamiltonexchanging passes before the formers shot came back off the foot of the post to be prodded home at close range by Churchyard for 1-1.
With the game developing into a midfield battle it looked like it would finish a draw, but in the final minutes an accurate ball out of defence from Smythe found Bruce out wide left. Despite the close attentions of his markers he looked up and precisely lobbed custodian Deacon from fully 30 yards to secure the points. Indeed only a fine stop from Deacon stopped Bruce from increasing the margin with a fierce 25 yard drive within a minute later.
The Grundisburgh lads were justifiably dejected to lose so late in the game and will feel that their effort and commitment deserved a point, but when you have a striker of Bruce's quality they are always likely to pull something spectacular out of the bag to win matches. Both sides put in a lot of hard work in what was always destined to be a real battle and proved to be just that.
Post game it was good to have a catch up with Micky and all the ex Henleylads, also good to have a chat and a laugh with referee James Tebbit and his team. James had a faultless game with clear decision making and great player communication throughout, zero ego and a real facilitator of the game every time we've been lucky enough to have him.
The reserves were back in league action as they took on Old Newton at the Community Centre. The visitors came out of blocks very well, creating loads of chances but not luckily for Henley not finding the net more than once. Underperforming Henley were not at the races at all and where lucky to only be 0-1 down at half time
After some very strong words from the manager Henley woke up for 10 mins and a lung busting run from Wood saw him cross to the back stick where Richardson was on hand to head in to equalise. Hope was short lived however and old Newton ran out 4-1 winners on a day which Henley would like to quickly forget. Fair play to Old Newton, easily the best team we have faced this season, they deserved their victory.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team host Leiston FC Reserves in the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup. With the visitors sitting mid table in Thurlow Nunn League One, this is sure to be a good test for the lads, no game for the ressies so we will be expecting them to swell the crowd on the day KO 2.30
Oct 3, 2017
A large crowd of 106 gathered to see Cranes deservedly leave the community centre with all 3 points today after a gritty battle. For the first time this season Henley were able to assemble close to a full squad with Bevis, Behnamnia and White starting and Storey and Trevivian able to take their places on the bench.
Cranes got stuck in from the start and had the better of the opening play taking the lead after only 15 minutes when Holland parried Blades' original effort but the Cranes striker was first to the rebound to cross for Fike to head home unmarked from close range. This jolted Henley into action and both Field and Bruce fired narrowly wide before an uncharacteristic defensive slip up allowed Cranes to increase their lead on 38 minutes as Blades raced on to a long ball to calmly slot home.
Henley looked a bit better after the break but couldn't find the killer ball to create the chances needed. Fike had another effort cleared off the line by Sheppard and Blades was a constant threat. However it was Henley who found a route back into the game with a terrific 30 yard effort from Field after 70 minutes which flew past Rigger before he could set his feet. This saw Henleypile on the pressure for the last 20 minutes and they were denied an opportunity to equalise from the spot when a saving hand ball on the line in the final minute was somehow missed by the officials. A lacklustre performance from Henley but congratulations to Cranes who came with a plan and stuck to it successfully, proving its goals, not possession that win games. Few Henleyplayers were at their best today with one exception being Duzgun who was awarded MOTM by the Ultras.
Chatting to the fine football men Rads and John Nunn post game took the edge of the result, as did the reaction of the Cranes players. Unlike some other sides they are gracious in victory and in defeat, with the mutual respect between the two clubs evidently on display.
Henley Reserves visited the impressive facilities on Sidegate Lane to take on Ransomes Sports FC in the Suffolk Senior Reserves Cup. With 3 new signings Hinds, Ivey and Driver in the squad and a return for Steel who'd been on first team duty.
Henley started the game poorly and were not at the races at all initially, until a ball wide from Hynard set Steel away down the right, his good low cross found Ling who tapped home for 0-1. Henley went 2 up when Hynard beat two defenders before hitting home a great strike. Just before have time a Laughlin volley went between the home keepers legs to make it 0-3 at half time.
Henley made some changes at half time with Laughlin, Ling and Birt making way for Curran, Hinds and Driver. This disturbed the flow somewhat and the new formation took some time to settle down, Ivey also made his debut when he came on for Hillman later in the game. Ransomes got a consolation goal back to see the game finish 1-3, we look forward to the draw now to see who we'll face in the next round.
Next week the first team visit a plethora of old friends at Grundisburgh, whilst the reserves welcome Old Newton to the Community Centre, KO's at 2.30.
I find myself finishing on a sad note with the news that Chris Rogers is stepping down from the management team to take a sabbatical for family reasons. Whilst he'll be hugely missed we all know, that for all of us, family always comes first. Chris has played a huge part in our recent success and is and always will be a Henley legend, he leaves us carrying with him the best wishes of every player, official and supporter of the club. He has many friends at Henley and will always be welcome whenever he can get to us, he'll be missed as much, if not more, as a friend than a manager. All the best mate.
Sept 24, 2017
A still depleted Henley visited Trimley for what is always a tough game against current league leaders Felixstowe Harpers and despite having the lions share of the chances profligacy in front of goal saw us having to settle for a point following a hard fought 1-1 draw. Once again absences and injuries saw a rather unusual Henley line up, Storey, White and Jackson out with knocks, Bevis unavailable and Behnamnia suspended so striker McGlone lined up at centre half and Horner at full back.
Henley opened the scoring within 2 minutes when Horner's cross was fumbled by Walden in the home goal and Tejano was on hand to poke it home for 0-1. Chance after chance followed for Henley with Bruce coming close on several occasions including hitting the bar, George saw a point blank header saved and Field fired over with the goal at his mercy. Henley also appeared to have had a good appeal for a penalty turned down when Nickless brought Tejano down. As is so often the case when you don't take your chances you get caught out with a sucker punch, this proved true today when Harpers equalised with a fine header from a rather dubious corner with their first serious attempt on goal minutes before HT to make it 1-1
Harpers were much better after the break as the game developed into an intriguing midfield battle with some serious talent on display from both sides. Opportunities were rarer in the 2nd half with Walden's goal line stop from a McGlone header the best Henley chance and the home side blazing over the bar late on from close range. A really competitive match but Henley must view it as 2 points dropped, if we had taken our chances the result would have been beyond doubt by HT. There were some good performances though, Dugzun continues to impress, Tejano was everywhere and Horner played well at full back. MOTM went to McGlone who despite being a striker was dominant at centre back and communicated superbly throughout.
Back at Henley Community Centre, the reserve home fixture with Ipswich athletic was in doubt due to the appointed official suffering a sickness bug Saturday morning, so it was agreed with referees secretary Daryl Butcher to wait as long as possible in case of a postponement elsewhere and therefore a spare referee. By 11.30 am nothing had transpired so decisions were taken to reduce wasted costs on bar staff and after match catering. Sod's law then kicked in as news came through that Athletic had found an official willing and capable of refereeing the game. More frantic calls were successfully made to resurrect the match but not in time for the bar etc. Therefore all we can say is well done to Athletic for their efforts in making it happen and apologies to them and indeed our own players for the lack of after match hospitality.
Henley Reserves took on Ipswich Athletic Reserves Welcome and were able to welcome the return of Laughlin and Freund who both missed last week's match. We started the game on the back foot as the visitors started well, going close a few times. But then a little run from Richardson and a shot which the keeper couldn't deal with ended up in the back of the net for Henley to take the lead. Wood made it 2-0 when he was put through on goal and chipped the keeper, minutes later Laughlin beat 3 then finished well to put a shot past the keeper making it 3-0 up at half time.
After the break the good football continued the 4th goal came with Richardsonputting in a low cross for Laughlin to finish with a fancy back heel. Henley kept pushing and playing good football which was rewarded 10 minutes from time when some great work from Hynard saw him pull the ball back for Richardson to turn and hit his second goal of the game giving Henley a 5-0 win.
A great overall team performance, a clean sheet for Hillman, good performances from Westlake and Bugg at the back and also from Wood and Hynard in the middle.
Next week the first team welcome our friends from Cranes whilst the reserves have a Suffolk Senior Reserve Cup game against Ransomes Sports, both KO 2.30.
Sept 18, 2017
A crowd of 58 gathered at the Community Centre as we welcomed our old friends Ransomes Sports for what has historically, always been a tough and at times controversial game. Henley had 7 of the 1st team squad absent, injury taking Storey, Trevivian and White, holidays depriving us of Gilbert and Caraccio, work and a wedding saw us also missing McGlone and Holland. So with just the bare 11 and 2 ressies on the bench it was a very different looking Henley that faced Ransomes with midfielder Horner in goal, a full back at centre back and a midfielder at full back, we were however able to give a starring debut to new signing Seth Duzgun.
Henley tore into the visitors from the off, Bruce setting his stall out early hitting the bar with a lob within the 1st minute, but it was 20 minutes before Field drove in a low cross for Bruce to finally open the scoring with a 1st time effort for 1-0. A minute or so later Henley were down to 10 men with Behnamnia dismissed for handball on the line after a communication error at the back, Crowe for Ransomes firing in the subsequent penalty for 1-1. This briefly raised the visitor's spirits before Field scored after a quick throw in for 2-0 and Sheppard headed a Bevis corner home to make it 3-1 at HT.
With the exception of 30 seconds the 2nd half wholly belonged to Henley, who despite being down to ten men played some lovely passing football to utterly dominate the visitors. 3 minutes into the 2nd half Jackson and George combined to find Field who had the presence of mind to cut the ball back for Bruce to finish for 4-1. 5 minutes later it was 5-1, again Field's cross finding George whose initial shot was well saved but Bruce fired home the rebound from close range for his hat trick. Ransomes pulled one back with a super individual goal from the impressive Crowe for 5-2, but minutes later George deftly flicked home a Bevis freekick at the near post for 6-2. The goal of the game followed, a move of over 25 passes and seemingly endless moving triangles culminated with a low finish from Field for 7-2. The rout continued as Bruce picked out Field with a great cross field ball, his initial effort was saved but Tejano poked the rebound home for 8-2. Field at last completed his well earned hat trick to make it 9-2 after a good ball from substitute Steel. Bruce made it 10- 2 with a great individual turn and shot before adding his 5th to take the final score to 11-2.
Although our visitors are obviously going through the painful rebuilding process that we also had to some 3-4 years ago they still have some quality youngsters in their squad that caught the eye of several of the Henley ultras. They also never gave in, playing football in the correct manner right until the final whistle. For Henley, despite the player deficit, this was a fine performance with some superb passing play, to quote Henley Ultra, Scouse Will it was “Death by football”. Picking MOTM was hard with so many excellent showings, debutant Dugzun oozed class, dominated midfield and drew purrs of pleasure from the touchline with his range of passing. As always the metronomic Bevis was at the heart of every move whilst Jackson further improves game by game. Bruce scored five and had a similar number disallowed for offside, George single handedly took it upon himself to do the work of two men after the dismissal and Tejano thoroughly enjoyed the unusual experience of playing at fullback for 70 minutes. Many thanks also go to Horner for reverting to his junior position and donning the gloves. However by the narrowest of margins it was the dynamism and goals of young Field that saw him grab the award.
With the ressies also decimated by injury and holiday plus the 1st team taking a couple, they only had ten men to take to AFC Hoxne including debutant Williams, meaning Manager Frosdick had to pull on his boots for the first time in ten years to make up the numbers. This left us ill equipped on the day to cope with the power and directness of Hoxne's play as we were caught out by a couple of balls over the top and a tap in following a great save from Williams after a corner which saw the home side go 3-0 up. Henley got a goal back when Frosdick played, what in his own words was a “Pirlo like” ball to Richardson who chested it down turned and finished it very well to bring it back to 3-1 at the break. Hoxne's strength and fitness told in the 2nd half with Hoxne adding 3 more from set pieces, 2 from corners and a penalty to run out 6-1 winners. Great credit to the boys who played well in patches but with so many out and stand in players lacking in fitness we hope the return game will be somewhat closer. Still we're proud of the lads who stood up and took their places and also many thanks to the travelling support on a difficult day.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team visit current leaders Felixstowe Harpers Utd whilst the ressies anticipate the visit of Ipswich Athletic. Both KO at 2.30
Sept 11, 2017
An always difficult visit to, an as strong as ever Achilles, was made even harder by a few players being unavailable. Keeper Holland and midfield man Horner away on holiday, Trevivian still sidelined by a nasty challenge last week and then to cap it all McGlone was called into work an hour before KO. Gilbert made his competitive debut between the sticks and Field his 1st start in midfield with Brownie and Rogers forced into shuffling their pack to fill positions.
Despite this we started well and probably had the better of the early chances albeit that Achilles and especially Hillyard looked dangerous throughout. Storey was injured after 10 minutes in a collision, one that could have been avoided had play been stopped when the assistant had raised his flag several seconds previously. He bravely tried to play on but had to be replaced, with Smyth stepping inside from left back and a still returning from fitness White coming off the bench. We came close to taking a lead on 22 mins when Holland saw home keeper Chaplin off his line and hit a 45 yard effort which the back pedalling Chaplin superbly tipped over. Sadly for him his achievement went unrecognised as the referee awarded a goal kick! Shortly after Chaplin earned his MOTM again, making a terrific double save to deny Bruce and then also blocking the follow up from George.
At the other end Gilbert was out quickly to deny Hillyard before making a solid block at his near post to keep the Achilles hitman at bay once more. Minutes before the break as Bruce pressurised a long kick from Gilbert, forcing a corner, he went down having caught a swinging arm in the face, in the box. Appeals were waved away, however moments later he was asked to leave the field of play as he was bleeding and had blood on his shirt? After a pulsating and even1st half the score remained 0-0
The game changing moment came very early in the 2nd half with Grimwood doing a fantastic (and self confessed) Tom Daly impression somewhere within the same postcode as Sheppard that bought giggles from both sets of fans. Unfortunately the referee was the only person present to buy it and awarded a penalty, Gilbert did well to block Hillyard's fierce spot kick but couldn't stop Van Oene stooping to head home the rebound for 1-0. Henley piled on the pressure to find an equaliser but found Chaplin in outstanding form blocking everything we threw at him, bizarrely including tipping over another long range effort which once again the award of a goal kick failed to acknowledge his effort. Meanwhile as we surged forward we found ourselves caught short at the back and Achilles scored twice more through Grimwood and Hanley who both tucked away rebounds after Gilbert had made initial saves for a final score of 3-0.
A bad day and far from our best performance, despite our frustrations with the “penalty” decision we did ourselves no favours in a short period in the 2nd half and should have made more of our early chances. Achilles look strong and much improved from last season and on the day deserved their victory. Going forward they are powerful and direct and have some truly excellent players, whilst also now looking solid at the back, none more than Chaplin who had an excellent game.
Bruce and George worked hard for Henley and gave the Achilles defence a real workout, Bevis pulled the strings in midfield and Jackson had one of his best games in a Henley shirt. MOTM was a close call between Gilbert and Field with the midfield man taking it by the odd vote for a tireless performance. We'll do much better this coming week I'm sure.
The reserves welcomed Achilles to the Community Centre and started very brightly with good movement and passing play but failed to take the chances that fell to Richardson, Merry and Hynard. Minutes later Achilles took the lead with a good free kick and the then went 0-2 up after some sloppy home defending. Further errors saw it 0-3 at HT and sharp words were dished out during the break. But two minutes in we were 0-4 down, despite working hard we couldn't find a route back into the game with the visitors adding another to make the final score 0-5
Next Saturday the 1st team welcome Ransomes Sports to the Community Centre whilst the ressies head North to Hoxne. Both KO 2.30.
Sept 4, 2017
A combative Bramford side were fortunate to escape from Henley with a point Saturday after a 2-2 draw. Always a difficult match and today was no exception, suspension denied us the services of McGlone however Field was now available to make his competitive debut from the bench.
Henley started sharply when a 25yd rocket from Jackson was turned round the post by the fingertips of Bramford keeper Butterworth after only 3 minutes. Bruce looked to have broken free on the left but was cynically tugged back just inside the visitors half, an early indicator of what became a recurring theme throughout the game. Home dominance continued with a 30yd effort on 15 minutes by Tejano which cannoned off the post and was cleared to safety but George was on hand to head home the resulting Bevis corner to make it 1-0. Bramford levelled on 22 minutes with a fine 25yd drive from Cowans which was past Holland before he could react. Butterworth produced an outstanding reflex save to prevent an own goal from a driven Bruce cross after 30 minutes. 5 minutes later came the game's main talking point, Carracio was clear through in the centre of goal when Butterworth raced over 30yds out from his goal to cynically scythe him down with the ball already past him. Both sets of supporters awaited the inevitable red card but astonishingly he only saw yellow. 2 minutes from the break Sheppard smashed a header off the Bramford crossbar and a visitors attack came to nothing through indecision.
The 2nd half saw Tejano and Bruce come close with the game being played almost entirely in the visitors half. Mid half Bramford took the lead with their first attack of the half, an inch perfect cross well headed home by Cowans for 1-2. Within minutes Henley were level as substitute Field scored his debut goal for the club with a low 25yd shot which simply flew past Butterworth. Henleypiled on the pressure but we couldn't find the winner, Trevivian breaking free and being pulled back curtailing yet another attempt and the game finished 2-2.
We played well today against a Bramford side which has some quality players throughout and always looked dangerous. Cowans is in fine form and was a handful and Munson is always a challenge. We defended well though and created plenty of opportunities with Bevis winning the Ultra's vote for MOTM. We played the more attractive football but Bramford's decision to defend in numbers and break up our play by whatever means was necessary was ultimately successful. We knew that as champions we would have to learn to deal with teams “getting stuck in” and “parking the bus” but a consistent application of the laws of the game would level the playing field somewhat. The distribution of cards today again showed, that as per last week, it is seemingly easier to get a booking for querying a decision than it is for repeated foul play?
Bramford's partisan and vocal support contributed well to a great atmosphere and a decent crowd of 74. We always have some great banter on the touchlines but rather sadly they chose not to join the Henley Ultras post match in the club house.
The reserves also faced Bramford Utd, so a nice short trip for all involved. A few changes saw Curran and Westlake in the starting 11. We looked bright from the start with good passing and movement and took the lead though Dan Richardson who tapped home from a Merry corner. It should have been two when a ball from Birt was headed home again by Richardson but a flag went up to rule it out. Bramford came into the game and got a goal back to make it 1-1 at the break.
The 2nd half started OK and we kept passing the ball well before a mistake at the back gifted Bramford a goal. However we rallied well and got ourselves level with a tidy finish from Ling. We pressed hard for a winner with Birt going close but the game ended 2-2. A much improved performance with a great 1st half and a good fight back.
Another tough fixture awaits next week as we visit the much fancied Achilles who are having a great start to their campaign to date. Once again it's the reverse fixture for the ressies. Both games KO 2.30.
August 28, 2017
Our title defence got off to a slightly odd start with our opening match being on a Tuesday evening, bringing with it all the usual post work rushing around. As it was a lot of local football people made the effort and a crowd of 104 watched Henley work hard to earn the points against a battling Westerfield side.
Westerfield were well organised and determined, having started their season on the previous Saturday they looked sharper too. They worked hard all over the pitch and made life difficult, getting their challenges in early and repeatedly breaking up our passing game across the pitch. It was a game of few chances at either end, with neither keeper having to make a significantly difficult stop in the 1st half.
Henley switched things up with the introduction of Tejano and Caraccio midway through the second half, which led to more drive and pace going forward. Eventually after 78 minutes Henley's patience was rewarded as Caraccio knocked down to Bruce who turned his marker and got off a shot which deflected into the corner to put us 1-0 up. With 3 minutes remaining a real moment of quality sealed the game when George spotted Bone just outside his 6 yard box and chipped home a worldie of a 35 yard effort in off the underside of the bar to make the final score 2-0.
As champions we know that every team we face will treat it like a cup final and do their best to ruffle us and disturb our game. Westerfield certainly did that and look much improved from last seasons struggling side. For Henley everybody worked hard but Shep earned the MOTM award.
Saturday saw a trip up the A12 to face Leiston St Margarets where we frustratingly had to settle for a point following a 1-1 draw. Henley dominated the opening 20 minutes against a, much improved from last season, home side. However after 20 minutes it was Leiston who took the lead, Sheppard gave away a free kick on the edge of the area which was superbly curled home with almost mathematical precision into the very top corner by Knights leaving Hollandhelpless to stop it. Within 5 minutes the scores were level when home keeper Lambert brought Caraccio down in the box and Bruce slammed home the subsequent penalty. Time and again Henley came close but either lacked the final finish or were denied by brave defending.
The second half continued in a similar vein with the majority of the game taking place in the home half. Bruce, George, Storey and Caraccio all came close with sub McGlone also breaking clean through only to find Lambert on top form yet again. With just under 20 minutes left Henley were reduced to 10 men when McGlone received 2 yellow cards in under a minute. If anything this inspired the visitors to even greater efforts but they found Lambert and his defence impassable on the day.
Holland finally had to make a save with a couple of minutes remaining before a final goalmouth scramble saw the home defence throw their bodies in the way to keep the visitors out. Despite the result this was a good team performance with strong performances throughout the side with MOTM going to George who never stopped trying and worked so hard throughout the 90 minutes. We created so many opportunities that on another day we could've run up a cricket score but in Lambert Leiston have probably the best pure shot stopper in local football and he always seems to reserve his best for when they play Henley.
Under the new management of Jamie Frosdick and with 8 young debutants on display, Henley Reserves started their life in Inter A with a tricky away fixture at Framlingham Town. The home side start brightly and were one up early on through a defensive mix up. However 5 minutes later Henley where level with Richardson with picking up his 1st goal for club. We went 2-1 down when our back four were caught once again and Framlingham nicked in to score. But credit to Henley who kept their heads up and were back in it through Laughlin who's 40 yard shot took the home keeper by total surprise and made it 2-2. Framlingham took the lead again just before half time when a ball wasn't effectively cleared and we went in 3-2 down at the break
We were caught on the break again after HT as the home side took a 4-2 lead, but a few good saves from Hillman in goal and another piece of magic from Laughlin brought us back to 4-3. Hynard with a point blank header was denied superbly by the home keeper, before a penalty for Framlingham made it 5-3 and ended our fight back. For our 1st game and with only 4 players left from last season's promoted team we did very well indeed, especially against a very strong Framlingham side. A positive start albeit not the desired result.
Next week sees the 1st team welcome Bramford Utd to the community centre with the ressies making the opposite trip to Bramford.
Sohal Healthcare Group
May 15, 2017 - Our season drew to a close with a terrific club awards evening at Fynn Valley Golf Club on Saturday evening, with a large "Champions" banner and the trophy on display celebrations went on until the early hours. And what a season it was for the club! Senior league champions in our first ever season in the top flight and the ressies achieving promotion to Inter A.
We were all chatting about our personal season's highlights and I'd like to indulgently take this opportunity to share a handful of mine. Our opening day 9-1 win over Ipswich Athletic had us all taking a screen grab of the league table with us top, thinking it probably wouldn't be happening again this season. The away win at my pal Scoop's Cops with young ressies keeper Brandon Burton saving a last gasp penalty in the same game as a wonder goal from Danny George, Chris William's electrifying hat trick in the return home fixture. The wins against Achilles and Cranes either side of Christmas that saw us go top at the turn of the year. A stunning team goal at Stanton celebrated by every single player, Bruce taking upon himself to bring us back from 2-0 down at Capel. An 18 match, club record winning run, a level of consistency which saw us see off the big boys chasing us.
For the ressies, to come back from losing a large chunk of their starting line up to Grundisburgh 1st team to then go on a winning run and finish the season promoted was a testament to their manager and his commitment, more of which later.
Award winners on Saturday were as follows Joint Ultras players of the year: the unstoppable Clark Bruce and the little magician Liam Bevis. Clubman went deservedly to the heartbeat of the club, coach Andrew Jordan. Reserves top scorer went to Aaron Laughlin with 20 goals, Young player went to the fine prospect that is Jordan Ripper. Long serving club stalwart Alex "Stefan" Freund picked up both ressies player's player and manager's player of the year.
1st team top scorer, and the Senior leagues, was of course Clark Bruce with 32 goals. 1st team manager's player of the year went to Mr versatile Gussy White who has played in pretty much every position this season. 1st team's players player goes to captain fantastic himself Mark "Bushy" Storey who has been with the club for 12 years now and played in almost every division in the SIL.
A very special award went to Mark Dunham who is stepping down as ressies manager after 14 years at the club. I was privileged to be his assistant in youth football which was the root of the young lads like Bushy coming to Henley. He has served as coach, ressies and 1st team manager and overseen many promotions which have been the foundation of where we are now. His standing ovation on Saturday showed how much he means to the lads and the committee at Henley, I'm sure he won't be able to stay away for long!
Time for some thanks now, firstly to our main sponsors Dave and Sam at DQ Services, Steve White Industrial Roofing, Morrison Freight and All Manor of Events. Their generosity and support has seen the lads looking immaculate and well equipped throughout the season.
We've also had many kind match sponsors this season including, Capellis Hair, IP12 Letting, Morrison Consulting, Commercial Contract Tyres, Autovalet Supplies, Alan and Jenny Farnish, Ivan Page and Richard Self. All of whom have helped with the additional cost of 3 officials.
We've had a full colour programme at each 1st team home game this year, expertly produced by Mutual Media, our thanks go to Peter and Jamie for their support. Programme sponsors in addition to our main sponsors include LRS Engineering, Hazeldell Residential Home, Damerons Farm Cottages and Allfix.
I would like to thank all my colleagues on the committee for all their hard work, Chairman Wayne, Secretary Simon, Treasurer Dave, Commercial Manager Lee, Hospitality Queen Wendy and minister without portfolio George.
And finally, to the Ultras who've followed the lads everywhere, often outnumbering the home support, I know how much it means to the lads with you guys cheering them on from the side lines. So thanks to Si, Clipper, Wayne, DQ, Chalky, Big Steve, Groundskeeper Ivan, Private Frazer, The Timelord, George, Cheryl and Eddie, Jenny and Alan, Dave C, Paul B, Will, Lingy and Pigeon Bob.
Lastly thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read my increasingly rose tinted ramblings this season and a mention to my fellow scribes including the king of them all Scoop.
See you all next season.
May 8, 2017 - Henley Athletic FC Senior League Champions 2016/17, words that 9 months ago I would never have even dared to dream that I would be typing. But on Saturday a 2-0 victory over last season's champions Cranes Sports FC saw us finish our 1st season in Senior football in the top slot.
I won't go into much detail regarding the game as Will Ridgard's excellent match report is available elsewhere on this site and in the Star. Gifted an early lead with a fortunate own goal we rode our luck at times, none more so than when Cranes should've had a clear penalty and all of the Henley Ultras collectively held their breath and simultaneously released it with a gasp of relief when the referee waved the appeals away.
We held out against Cranes pressure and were happy to still be one up at the break. We performed much better in the 2nd half, never more so than our 2nd goal. Bruce finally broke through the incredibly organised Cranes offside trap and raced down the left. His low driven cross was deftly dummied at the near post by Williams allowing George the luxury of a touch before picking his spot and cooly finishing for 2-0, producing huge cheers from the Henley faithful amongst the 250 plus crowd.
The tension multiplied throughout the half with held breath and pacing the most popular touchline activity. The seemingly endless wait for the final whistle finally came to an end to huge celebration both on and off the pitch.
The trophy was awarded, held up, passed around, posed with and photographed. Players, managers, committee members and Ultras hugged and shook hands amid planning the evenings celebrations. Those celebrations went on long into the night with several elderly Ultras finding themselves in Revs in the early hours of Sunday morning!
What a season! We targeted Brownie and Rogers with keeping us in the Senior Division, having worked so hard and for so long to get there. Two big wins either side of Christmas against Achilles and Cranes started to make us begin to believe in the previously impossible. A club record run of eighteen consecutive wins only curtailed by last week's loss against Bramford made the dream a reality. Brownie and Rogers have not only built a terrific side on the pitch but have changed the philosophy of the club as a whole. Everybody comes into the clubhouse home and away, everybody is part of the team including coaches, managers, committee and supporters.
Cranes and Achilles pushed us hard the whole way as we always knew they would. They are both superb clubs and the real halo clubs in local football. Saturday Cranes worked us until the final minute and then showed their class by staying and applauding the trophy presentation. I've personally known Steve Roper for 50 years and being the gentleman he is he was the first to congratulate me post game. Rads and Matt and all their players showed what makes Cranes the great club that they are. I thanked some of their lads for their sportsmanship and was met repeatedly with the same answer "we're Cranes it's what we do, but we'll be come back stronger". A proper club and along with Achilles and the rest of the division we know they'll be after us next season.
We were informed by the SIL that winning the Senior Division in the 1st season following promotion had never been achieved before and some of the press quotes this. I've since discovered that Old Newton achieved this feat back in 2010 so fulsome apologies to them for any unintentional slight.
So, a great season not just for the 1st team but also for the ressies who finished off their promotion winning campaign with a 2-2 draw at Benhall St Mary. Getting these lads into Inter A is a fitting swansong for Manager Mark Dunham who is stepping down to take a break from football. Mark has been an amazing asset to Henley over the last 15 years and we wouldn't be where we are today without his earlier input to the 1st team.
All at Henley would like to congratulate Benhall St Mary and Hoxne on achieving promotion to the Senior league, we look forward to renewing our battles with you next season.
We have our club presentation night this coming Saturday and I will submit a season review set of notes following that with all the deserved thank yous.
As it is I'll close these notes with a thank you to all those clubs and individuals who've taken the time to send us congratulations over the last couple of days. The kindness of responses has been overwhelming.
May 1, 2017 - A club record crowd of 159 gathered in the sunshine for Henley's first home game since early February as we welcomed Bramford Utd in our penultimate match of the season. Denied the services of Williams once again by holiday and with a couple of walking wounded it was still nonetheless a strong Henley side that took the field.
It was a bit of a week off for me as there was a professional reporter in attendance whose very accurate match report is elsewhere on this site, so I'll just reflect on a few points.
Henley Athletic upset by Bramford United to put brakes on SIL title charge
By john campany
SIL Senior DivisionHenley Athletic 1Bramford United 2Henley Athletic needed three points to create some history ...
Despite the superbly prepared surface we really struggled to get our passing game going against a highly motivated Bramford who clearly came to spoil the party and were up for the game from the off. A fine 1st half goal from Munson, the only other Country music fan in local football, apart from me, saw the score 0-1 at HT. Shortly after we forced an equaliser when Storey poked home after Algar failed to hold a Bevis free kick. This set up a period of Henley pressure where we looked like we would go on to record our 19th consecutive win, however this was swiftly curtailed by that man Munson again. I actually think the match report does him a disservice it looked a lot further out than 22 yards to me when he hit a worldie of a finish to make it 1-2.
We forced several chances with Storey and Bevis hitting the woodwork and Storey having an effort cleared of the line, but today wasn't to be our day and although a draw would have probably been a fairer reflection of the play, Bramford ran out deserved winners.
I think most Henley supporters have thought it would all go to the final day since around the turn of the year and so it has. I'm sure next Saturday's home game against Cranes Sports FC (KO 2.30) will be the climax to the season that all neutrals were hoping for.
With a touch of irony Bramford reserves defeat of Bacton Utd to secure the Inter B championship meant that our ressies cap a successful season with promotion to Inter A. Well done lads. They conclude their season with a trip out to Benhall St Mary on Saturday.
April 24, 2017 - A warm welcome awaited Henley when we made our first ever visit to Capel Plough on Saturday, warmly greeted by the Ploughman and his lovely lady and full of tea I took my place amongst a large band of travelling Henley Ultras for what was sure to be a tight contest. With some irony when Capel visited us they were short of a few players, this time it was our turn with Trevivian and Jackson out with injuries and Williams away on holiday we had to draft in a few ressies to fill our squad. Capel were looking much changed since our last meeting too, with reinforcements from Border league double winners Little Oakley FC swelling their numbers.
Capel looked a different prospect from the off, trying to get the ball forward from the back as quickly as possible to their dangerous looking front men, who were as quick to attempt to get shots off with a couple of efforts going high and wide and a header comfortably saved. For Henley the highlights of the first half were a shot over on the turn from Bruce and header just wide from Storey, Taylor came closest when his shot cannoned off the bar. Both sides were finding the hard, bumpy pitch difficult to cope with, with Henley's passing game suffering as was Tejano who had to go off after landing heavily on his chest. Fortunately after a trip to hospital the feared rib break turned out to be heavy bruising, Smyth came off the bench and we were forced into a reshuffle. Just before the break Capel took the lead when a long throw glanced off an unknown head and looped over Holland into the net for 1-0 at HT. Despite the score line I thoroughly enjoyed the interval with a generous slice of Mrs Ploughman's superb Victoria sponge, I've told Mrs Hat to look out for her on the next series of Bake Off.
It was 2-0 within minutes of the restart when a cross found the precise spot between Storey and Sheppard and was well finished by Collins. This seemed to galvanise Henley with Bruce pulling a goal back within a couple of minutes and what a goal it was. He picked the ball up wide on the left and ghosted past two markers before calmly picking his spot to smash the ball into the far corner for 2-1. A silly post challenge over reaction saw Capel down to 10 men as a 2nd yellow followed a first half one for a cynical trip and Easton saw red. Henley were rampant now and streaming forward when Bruce was pulled down whilst shaping to shoot in the six yard box. Despite the Capel protests Bruce kept his calm and slotted home the equaliser from the spot past ex Henley custodian Beal for 2-2. On 65 minutes the comeback was complete as Taylor flicked on a Bevis corner for White to smash it in at the far post.
There was still time for plenty more action with both sides still attacking and despite Holland not having to make an actual save he certainly had to be on his toes to punch clear several crosses. Capel were looking especially dangerous from set pieces with fine deliveries from Morrison and some big lads looking to get on the end of them. However Henley held firm and saw the game out to record an important 2-3 victory.
With the sun baked surface making our usual passing game difficult we had to dig deep to come back from 2-0 down and get this win. The lads demonstrated real commitment and character right throughout the side with Bevis and George marshalling and controlling the middle of the park. Although there were many examples of this character and commitment I'd like to highlight a couple, with 5 minutes left Smythe raced into a challenge which saw him unable to stop, colliding with the pitch side barrier and ending up with some nasty rope burns across his chest and arms. Then MOTM Bruce, who seemed to take it as a personal affront that a side had scored against us, in the 8th minute of added time shutting down a Capel move and preventing a cross right by our corner flag. True grit lads, true grit. Post match even the Capel lads were lifted by scores elsewhere and as the Ploughman quite rightly said they gave us one hell of a scare. All at Henley wish them luck in their remaining fixtures, a great club run by lovely people.
The reserves meanwhile welcomed 2nd place Coplestonians ‘A's and were on the receiving end of a 0-7 thumping. Weakened by multiple call ups to the 1st team squad they were forced in multiple changes and were soundly beaten on the day although should still have done enough to finish the season in 3rd position, a terrific achievement in a season when so many ressies lads have sought 1st team football elsewhere.
Next Saturday sees the 1st team finally at home again after an astonishing 11 weeks since our last home fixture as we welcome our old friends Bramford Utd to the community centre with a 2.30 KO. No match for the ressies this week so all are anticipating a large crowd for this significant fixture.
The date has been set for the Henley FC awards evening and dinner dance on Saturday 13th May at Fynn Valley Golf Club, tickets are available for a subsidised £20 pp.
April 16, 2017 - It was a bright, sunny albeit chilly band of Henley Ultras that made the trip down to Trimley Saturday afternoon. Henley visited Felixstowe Harpers to fulfil the fixture the home side had to postpone a couple of weeks ago due to a lack of available players. This is always a difficult place to go, as our cup defeat there in January showed and the 1st
half today proved little different as Harpers battled hard for everything and defended stoutly whilst always looking dangerous going forward, especially from set pieces. They clearly had a plan to try and stop us playing football and to disrupt our play at every opportunity. Henley were forced into an early change when Tom Trevivian was caught rashly from behind and had to go off injured, Ben Taylor came on with Danny George dropping into midfield in replacement. Kev Holland had to make a decent stop from a header after a corner and a couple of home efforts went high and wide. Henley were looking to get forward at every opportunity and worked hard to keep the ball. Just before the break the Henley pressure finally told when some serious hustle from Ben Taylor and Chris Williams on the right, saw Danny George get the final touch to force the ball home for a 0-1 lead at the break.
Henley got their passing game going on a bobbly, difficult surface in the 2nd half and increased their lead to 0-2 on 56 minutes with a superb flowing move. Ben Taylor and Chris Williams linked to find Clark Bruce, he laid the ball to Danny George who returned the favour crossing it back into Clark Bruce to smash home from 10 yards. Only a fine save denied Arran Sheppard from a certain goal with a bullet header from a corner with his defensive partner Mark Storey unable to keep the follow up down. On 70 minutes it was all over when Danny George released Ben Taylor down the right whose cross was turned it for an OG by an unfortunate Elliston to make it 0-3. Henley were rampant now and on 78 minutes Ben Taylor worked hard on the right to find Clark Bruce who played a cross field ball to Chris Williams who stepped inside his marker to finish well for 0-4. Williams, Bruce and White all came close but couldn't add another before the final whistle.
A good team performance on the day, especially in the second half against a team with many good players and a very dangerous striker, Danny George was wholly deserving of his MOTM award being at the centre of everything. Gussy White ran his socks off throughout and Mark Storey and Arran Sheppard were rock solid at the back and Clark Bruce was lethal as always going forward but also worked hard to win the ball back.
Our run of 1st team away games continues next Saturday with a visit to Capel Plough FC whilst our third placed ressies are back in action as they welcome second placed Coplestonians “A” to the community Centre, both games K.O at 2.30.
The date has been set for the Henley FC awards evening and dinner dance on Saturday 13th May at Fynn Valley Golf Club, tickets are £20 pp.
April 2, 2017 - Friday afternoon saw the sad news that Felixstowe Harpers Utd were unable to raise a side, a very rare occurrence in Senior football but as it transpired it did us a bit of a favour as we had a few influential players nursing injuries who will now have plenty of time to recover before the rearranged fixture.
Therefor the reserves home game against Stowupland Falcons took pride of place and the lads put on a fine display for a good sized crowd. Henley were 2-0 up in the opening 15 minutes, first Laughlin out muscled and out paced his marker to go through one on one to lob the advancing keeper. Shortly after Cooper slid home a measured low finish, passing the ball into the corner for 2-0. Just before the HT break Laughlin was picked out with a fine pass from Ripper and went on to score a carbon copy of his first goal to make it 3-0.
Five minutes into the second half and it was 4-0 as MOTM Laughlin fired home a left footed drive to complete his hat trick. There was still time to add another as Fruend headed home a Burridge corner to make it 5-0.
A good all round team performance with Laughlin and Cooper proving a real handful up front. Westren drove the lads forward and Ripper picked out some cracking passes in the quarterback role. Seaman was his usual calm and effective self and Newman impressed with his speed and commitment when he came on as well, never giving up on anything. Stow Falcons deserve a lot of credit as well, despite the score line they never once stopped trying to play proper football throughout.
Saturday evening saw the club April Fools quiz night which was very popular, these events are the life blood of every club so a big thank you to all that attended.
March 28, 2017 - After a two week period without a game it was a rather ring rusty Henley that visiting bottom side Ipswich Athletic Saturday. On a lovely day for football a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch a contest where the points were vital at either end of the table. We knew Ipswich Athletic had undergone a transition in recent weeks and hence we would most certainly be in for a battle,
Henley struggled to get our passing game going in the wind and on the bumpy and slow surface but applied the pressure straight from the 1st whistle. The visitors took a deserved lead after 12 minutes when a fine interchange between George and Jackson released Williams who flew down the right outpacing his marker. Bruce was doing the same down the left and calling loudly for the ball, he was precisely picked out with a low cross which he slammed home at the back post for 0-1.
The visitors had the ball in the net again minutes later as Williams ghosted in to poke home but George was adjudged to have handled in the build up. Henley, rather frustratingly, had the 1st of what was to be a handful of fairly obvious penalty appeals denied, when Tejano was crudely barged over in the box. With the home side physically committing fully to their challenges Smythe had to come on to replace Jackson who was caught very late with a nasty tackle. Sadly this is the second time this season that Jacko has had to go off injured by a poor challenge that went unpunished by even a free kick or a talking to. Henley had a few more chances but so to did Athletic who with better finishing could have found a route back into the game.
The second half saw the Henley pressure continue with Bruce, Williams and Tejano all coming close to extending the lead with Williams felled twice in the box during a ten minute period, both of which were strangely denied. Athletic stuck to their task and kept trying to catch us on the break, on a rare foray forward Holland had to make his only real save of the game to keep out a neat overhead effort. On 74 minutes Henley finally put the game to bed as MOTM George threaded a fine pass through to Bruce who showed all his class with a simply superb turn and shot from the edge of the box to make it 0-2. Williams burst through 4 home defenders and rounded the keeper before being brought down just as he was about to slide the ball home, but yet again the penalty was waved away and the game finished 0-2.
A tough game, in tough conditions, against a tough team, that simply refused to lie down and roll over. Athletic have probably left it too late this season but have some good players around which to build a team to challenge for an early return to senior football. Ex Henley man Lytess is always a handful and can be a match winner on his day but most impressive to the assembled Henley Ultras was young Ryan Wardley (No not THAT Ryan Wardley) who showed some real promise and skill. As for Henley, we started slowly and looked off the pace, but the sharpness came back progressively through the game and towards the end we showed a bit more of what we are really capable of. As always we had a warm welcome at Bourne Vale and fully enjoyed the hospitality, thanks to all involved. Over to Mark Dunham now for this week's ressies report.
Another home game for the reserves this week, as we entertained Claydon in our local Derby. The pitch was much firmer this week and the wind was blowing diagonally across the pitch from the community centre, this caused problems for both teams in terms of controlling the ball and getting it down on the deck. However Henley controlled much of the game throughout while allowing Claydon the odd breakthrough but we found it difficult to finish in the blustery conditions.
The second half continued in the same vein and it was always going to be a mistake or a slice of good fortune that would win the game, this fell to Laughlin who prodded a home a loose ball from a corner 10 minutes from time giving us a 1-0 victory. So for the third week in a row we won by an odd goal and a third consecutive clean sheet.
MOTM this week went to Freund who's solid display in the centre of defence was epitomised by a brilliant last ditch tackle.
I see in other notes that the interest in Henley continues and also, from what I hear, with questioning of other teams supporters when they visit the Suffolk/Essex borders. You would think people would be more interested in own their forthcoming big games? My spectacles will continue to remain as rose tinted as ever the same as the majority of club scribes.
Next week sees the first team visiting Felixstowe Harpers Utd whilst the Ressies welcome Stowupland Falcons, both KO at 2.30. Also on the Saturday evening we have the club quiz night at the community centre at 7.30.
March 20, 2017 - With yet again no 1st
team game for Henley this week attention was on the reserve's home fixture against table toppers Bramford Utd.
Bramford are a neat passing side but failed to find a footing in this game not really creating any chances until late on. Henley had the advantage in possession and saw a couple of 1st half chances blazed over and wide until Westren appeared to have given the home side the lead with a low finish from the edge of the area. Frustratingly this fine effort was rightly disallowed for an errant call of “my ball” or similar. Seaman and Pearson were ranging forward as was Behnamnia, whilst Merry and Carracio were busy supporting George up front. Burridge and Westren were also getting plenty of the ball too.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Henley dominant and pressing Bramford back, restricting the visitors to attacks on the break. However despite some good passing Henley struggled to find a finish and Laughlin and Cooper made an appearance off the bench to try their luck at changing the game. It was a bursting run from Laughlin that forced a corner that brought the winning goal. Pearson drove in a low curling corner which Smythe ran onto at full pace to volley home unchallenged for 1-0. Bramford should have equalised late on but a last ditch tackle from Dunham and some poor finishing cost them when the opportunity presented itself.
Despite a lot of changes this was a decent team performance with the usual committed showing from MOTM Westren who showed his quality and leadership throughout.
This coming Saturday sees the 1st team back in action with a visit to Ipswich Athletic FC, meanwhile the ressies have a local derby with the visit of Claydon to the community centre. Both KO 2.30.
March 12, 2017 - With no 1st
team game for Henley all eyes were on the reserve's home fixture against Capel Plough FC. It was good to see the 1st
team management team in attendance in addition to a good contingent of the 1st
team cheering the lads on from the sidelines.
A couple of 1st teamers were looking for minutes so George, Smythe and Jackson started along with Seaman who is well on the path to recovery from his injury now.
Henley were in charge throughout with a large proportion of the game taking part in our visitors half of the pitch throughout the 90 minutes. Despite the domination Henleycouldn't find a path to goal, indeed in the 1st half the two full backs, Seaman and Smythe came the closest, both producing good saves from the Capel keeper.
Frustratingly we lacked the final level of cohesion and decision making with some players lacking positional awareness despite a lot of vocational encouragement from the more experienced lads.
The second half continued in a similar vein with chances coming but not being taken or the wrong ball being chosen against a tough to break down and very organised Capel defence. Freund was as solid as always at the back, Westren was busy and Jackson was trying to create wherever he could, whilst Ripper showed flashes of promise. However it took the arrival of old stager Mallick from the bench to finally get the breakthrough with a lovely turn and finish from 8 yards to get the winner.
Not the best team performance but a 1-0 win regardless and a MOTM showing from Seaman who ranged forward as well as being at his defensive best and apart from the goal and a stunningly old school tackle from Westren, his swerving shot in the first half was my highlight of the match. Thanks also to Jamie Walden as stand in stand in keeper! Despite not having a real save to make.
Once again the 1st team have next weekend off so it's the ressies at the forefront as they welcome Bramford Utd to the community centre, KO 2.30.
March 6, 2017 - Henley set a new club record of 15 consecutive league victories with a 0-4 away win at Grundisburgh on Saturday. Nobody at Henley ever thought for a moment that this would be an easy game, despite Grundisburgh's current predicament, with a good number of ex Henley lads having plenty to prove.
I won't go into too much detail as Micky Squirrell's excellent and very fair match report covers all the detail well, instead I'll just try and pick up on a few details. In all honesty Henley dominated pretty much the entire game, pinning the hosts firmly in their half of the pitch except for the odd break which were well marshalled by Sheppard and Storey. Time and again we pushed for an opener but were thwarted by some hurried finishing and some issues with the delivery of the final ball. Ex Henley stalwarts Gibson and Davis were hurling themselves into every challenge with the same degree of commitment and bravery they always displayed in their long spells at Henley and along with the impressive Fulcher kept us at bay until the break.
At HT the large contingent of travelling Ultras were still calm and confident of a result and were proven right with four 2nd half goals. Bruce opened the scoring around five minutes in with a poacher's special, sweeping home after Behnamnia's cross shot was spilled for 0-1. George, Sheppard and Williams all came close before Trevivian's cross shot was pushed out and Tejano was first on the scene to slot it for 0-2.
The goal of the game and a strong contender for goal of the season came on 70 minutes, Williams was running diagonally across the box at full speed and closely marked when without even breaking stride it suddenly smashed the ball back across his body and into the opposite top corner past a bewildered Lloyd for 0-3. Henley wrapped up the scoring when Jackson's cross was deftly headed down for White to finish from close range for a final score of 0-4. There was still time for George to hit the post and Williams to come close yet again but it wasn't to be.
A tough game and a deserved win with an all round good team performance, Bruce in particular worked hard, Sheppard and Storey were as solid as always combining with Holland for another clean sheet. White and Tejano continued their current goal scoring runs whilst Williams was a nightmare for the hosts defence in addition to his wonder goal. However MOTM was Trevivian who's calmness, control and trickery had the assembled Ultras purring with delight throughout, class personified. The only very slight negative was two yellow cards for querying some questionable decisions, always frustrating when repeated and persistent fouling didn't even warrant a word, yet alone a card.
As for Grundisburgh, despite missing a few influential players, they battled hard and efficiently with Gibson fully deserving of the home sides MOTM award. If they show that level of commitment when at full strength they'll stand a good chance of staying up. Over now to Mark Dunham for the ressies report.
This week Henley entertained Haughley reserves to the community centre and ran out 2-0 winners on a thankfully dry afternoon. A much improved performance this week with Carracio coming into midfield and Merry moving out to the left, new signing Lewis Newman made his first start on the right hand side and his incessant work rate was causing Haughley problems from the first whistle, tirelessly closing the opposition down throughout.
Two typical goals from MOTM Laughlin, one a cracking header, was enough to give us the win. The difference this week, from the previous two, was a great focus on our tactical awareness and our hard work and ability to get back behind the ball when we lost possession. A fine display from our back four with stand in keeper Tacey once again coping well with the little he had to do in goal, a great first start from Newman and good work from Birt with a first start at left back. The score line could have been more had subs Mallick and Walden taken their chances too.
A very disciplined performance both individually and as a team and with better communication was exactly what I asked for before the game and that's exactly what I got, superb lads, thank you.
No 1st team match for a couple of weeks now so all eyes next Saturday will be on the ressies as they welcome Capel Plough to the community centre.
February 28, 2017 - Henley had to pull out all the stops today to find a route past a resolute and well organised Leiston St Margarets to continue their winning run with a 2-0 victory.
Henley started smartly dominating the game from the off and indeed for the entire 90 minutes. Only a couple of fine saves denied the home side an early lead as first Danny George and then Chris Williams saw their chances well stopped. The visitor's goal was under siege now, with Mark Storey heading wide and then Ross White seeing his effort go narrowly over. To their credit the visitors obviously came with a defensive plan and stuck firmly to it, parking enough buses to fill the Electric House. Time and again they threw themselves into blocks and frustrated Henley throughout the opening half with a well disciplined and robust approach.
After the break Henley were forced into changes with Williams having to go off and being replaced with Smythe. The same pattern of play continued with the game almost entirely played in the Leiston half. Eventually the overwhelming pressure finally told when on 60 minutes a Liam Bevis free kick was tipped onto the bar but Byron Tejano was sharp and quick enough to put away the rebound for the opening goal. The tension was maintained until the 82nd minute when a delightful cross field pass from Clark Bruce found Ross White who accelerated through the Leiston defence, rounded the keeper and just as everybody thought he'd taken the ball too far, slid the ball home from an impossibly narrow angle and in off the inside of the far post to secure the points.
Leiston deserve credit for a disciplined performance and for sticking to their plan throughout the game. For Henley the MOTM was Tejano who was at his mercurial best, not only getting the crucial opener but influential across the pitch creatively and defensively. At the back the Storey Sheppard partnership continues to blossom, they were superb Saturday getting to everything first and stifling and Leiston attack before it even had a chance to develop. In fact it wasn't until the 90th minute that Leiston had an effort on target with a 40 yard free kick which Holland comfortably collected. As a team we continue to play some lovely football, the quality of which had the Ultras purring with delight in the clubhouse post match.
After last week's poor performance the reserves were looking to get back to winning ways at Stowupland Falcons. On a windy and slightly sloping pitch Henley started brightly and a through ball to Laughlin after 15 minutes saw him hammer home into the far corner for 0-1. However Stowupland were working well and putting us under pressure from free kicks and corners. Ironically from one of these corners a clearance found Laughlin again and he ran through and scored from much the same angle as before to make it 0-2. Stowupland maintained their pressure and a well worked goal 5 minutes before half-time was a just reward for their efforts and made it 1-2 at the break.
The second half was always going to be about who scored next and while Stowupland maintained the quality of their football Henley, although working hard were lacking in composure and connection and it wasn't long before Stowupland equalised. This sparked Henley into life and a strike from just inside the box from Walden was parried by the keeper only for Mallick to force over the line for 2-3. A frantic last 10 ensued, Henley were working hard to see out the game however Stowupland managed to score with only 3 minutes left and the game ended 3-3.
Not as bad as last week but we could be a lot better and we'll need to be against Haughley next Saturday. On the plus side Seaman completed 90 minutes and Pearson 65 after coming back from a very lengthy injury. MOTM was Tacey who had a terrific game in goal.
Next week sees the first in a run of four consecutive away matches for the 1st team with a visit to Grundisburgh KO 2.30. Meanwhile the ressies host Haughley Utd at the Community centre, KO also at 2.30.
In other news the club will be holding an April Fools quiz night on Saturday April 1st, teams of between 4 and 6 are welcome at £2.50 pp.
February 20, 2017 - A rather truncated set of notes from me this week with only the ressies in action. They visited the school to face Coplestonians A's and came away on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat.
With what was described by manager Mark Dunham as our worst performance of the season there was little positive to take away from the game other than a MOTM performance from the exciting young prospect Jordan Ripper and club stalwart Aaron Seaman completing 70 minutes in his 1st appearance back following injury. Both the Cops goals came early and despite the home side being reduced to ten men in the 1st half when their keeper was dismissed for bringing down Laughlin we rarely created anything or threatened the home goal. In fact Cops played better with ten men than they did with eleven and deserved their victory.
To further compound the misery young Henley keeper Brandon Burton suffered a broken wrist whilst making a brilliant double save in the 75th minute. This lad had been at the club for two seasons now and not only continues to steadily improve, as he has demonstrated in some heroic displays for the 1st team, but is also a real club man. All at the club wish him a speedy recovery.
Next week sees the 1st team welcome Leiston St Margarets FC to the community centre K.O 2.30 whilst the ressies visit Stowupland Falcons FC K.O also 2.30.
In other news the club would like to thank sponsors DQ Services for providing the 1st team's new away kit, with 4 consecutive away games following next week's game it'll get a good airing! So many thanks Dave and Sam.
February 13, 2017 - It was a short trip across town for Henley on Saturday to visit Ransomes Sports FC. Over the last couple of seasons these fixtures have seen more than their fair share of controversial incidents, a theme yet again evident today. Henley were resplendent in our new away kit which had its first outing (Thanks Simon!)
Henley had the better of the opening play with only a superb goalkeeping display keeping Ransomes in it, first tipping Chris Williams' effort onto the post then making a point blank double save to deny Clark Bruce. However Ransomes were a constant threat and within minutes it was Kevin Holland making a fine stop to deny the home side the lead following a goalmouth scramble
Controversy reigned mid half when Chris William's clever, quick free kick was finished by Clark Bruce to put Henley ahead with a fine finish. With both sides back and ready for the restart the goal was disallowed as apparently Ransomes were trying to make a substitution which the referee was unaware of. An unusual decision to say the very least, but mercifully one that didn't have any effect on the result and hence can be quickly filed away and forgotten. Understandably this frustrated the visitors and emboldened Ransomes into their best period of the match which saw them put the Henley defence under a great deal of pressure. Justice finally prevailed on 42 minutes when Tom Trevivian's effort from the edge of the box came back off the bar and Chris Williams headed home the rebound from close range for a 0-1 lead.
Ransomes started the 2nd half well but couldn't find a way through Henley's defence with Arran Sheppard and Mark Storey dominating the air and blocking everything. On 66 minutes the visitors increased their lead, Tom Trevivian did superbly tricking his way through two challenges and running through on goal. He drew the keeper before laying the ball off to Danny George who rifled home for 0-2. Henley had further chances to increase their lead with Clark Bruce hitting the post and Chris Williams also shooting wide. Ransomes kept pushing though and threatened until the final whistle but to no avail as Henley ran out 0-2 winners.
Once again this Henley side showed its class and fortitude to persevere and come out on top in an always difficult game. MOTM was Ross White who was simply everywhere at once, tackling and distributing the ball with zero wastage. Tejano and Trevivian were excellent too, classy but determined throughout, almost disdainful of any attempts to disrupt their flow. Yet again out frontline were too hot to handle and if the 1st goal hadn't have been disallowed all three would have scored. I must add a thank you to Linda Norton who catered for the game and who's sponge was absolutely perfect (sorry Wendy!)
Over now to Mark Dunham for the ressies report.
Henley reserves entertained East Bergholt A's this week at the community centre on a miserable wintry afternoon and although the pitch was playable, by the end of the game it was clearly showing signs of wear and tear. Quality passing football was always going to be difficult today and so it proved, with both sides struggling on a slippery surface.
Overall the match was nothing to write home about in terms of technical excellence and we ran out 4-1 winners, however the work rate, determination, character and commitment shown by all the lads this afternoon was something I was incredibly proud to witness. With only 2 subs, one of which couldn't get there until 15 minutes before the end, one player starting with an injury and 2 more developing them in the second half, Danny Page's arrival late in the game was very welcome, especially for Westy, who was glad to hobble off to the bench.
2 goals from Dan Walden and 1 each from Mezza and Laughs saw us do the double over Bergholt A who persevered to the end, ultimately both sides and the ref were glad to get back in the warm changing rooms. MOTM this week went to Josh Carracio, who despite the rotten weather had a permanent grin on face, back four all stood strong today with Ripper having a good game at left back, away from his usual roll in midfield. All at the club were pleased to see the welcome return of Laughs up front who bagged himself a goal but missed a sitter of a header. Well done to Dan Walden too, he's now scored 5 in 3 games.
No game for the 1st's next week so all eyes on the ressies trip to Greshams to face Coplestonians A's K.O 2.30
February 6, 2017 - Saturday saw the visit of East Bergholt Utd to the community centre, as always it was a pleasure to see Griefy and have a proper chat about many football matters pre match. His side had made us battle incredibly hard in our 1-3 away win earlier in the season and we knew we'd be in for similar today, especially with much media speculation about how we would handle the pressure of being league leaders. This transpired to be a very accurate prediction as Henley had to dig deep to defy the doubters and pull out a 2-1 win to maintain our position.
We started well but despite early Henley pressure it was Bergholt who took the lead when McGrath latched onto a through ball and volleyed home a spectacular lob from fully 20 yards that took everyone by surprise. Henley then laid siege to the visitor's goal with “Flapper” Hammond making fine saves to deny both Williams and Bruce. The pair also combined with Williams' speed taking him to the byline before crossing but Bruce fired over under close pressure. Bergholt continued to pose a threat though, but the home defence stood firm with Sheppard imperiously dealing with everything in his path. On 40 minutes Henley seemingly had a clear shout for a penalty when Williams was brought down by Page, but Mr Cousins saw things differently. Williams and Bibby clashed shortly after with Page coming off worse and Williams picking up a yellow card.
Henley switched things around tactically after half-time bringing on Trevivian for Smyth and pushed hard for a route back into the game, but found Hammond in outstanding form. Firstly to amazingly reach behind him to tip a Williams effort round the post, then making a double save to deny Bruce and then Tejano's follow up. Trevivian then smashed a 25 yard drive against the post as the Henley pressure built. Finally an equaliser came from White as his deflected 20 yard shot deceived Hammond and found the net. Cue massive celebrations, not only for the equaliser, but rarely has a goal been more deserved. Gussy White has hit more woodwork this year than a jobbing carpenter and been denied by goal line clearances and fine goalkeeping a multitude of times, so his first goal of the season was warmly welcomed.
It was all Henley now, with the visitors only having one header narrowly wide in the entire half. Bevis was pulling the strings in midfield as Henley launched wave upon wave of attacks looking to secure the win. Yet again Hammond made a wonder double save, first getting a hand to an absolute rocket from Trevivian, then getting up quickly to deny Tejano the rebound. With 11 minutes left Henley were at last rewarded as Williams burst down the right, accelerating past his marker and finding Bruce at the back post who contorted his body to scissor kick home a beautiful Sparky Hughes type finish for the winner. You could see what it meant to the lads as they celebrated how they played, together as a team.
Despite going behind, this was a great performance from Henley who, in the 2nd half in particular, played some terrific passing football. It was interesting to note the relative calm amongst the Ultras who always believed that the lads would come back and win it. Henley MOTM was Williams who was a proverbial nightmare for the Bergholt defence throughout, George looks back to his best whilst Bruce is a continued and constant goal threat. Bevis, White, Tejano and Trevivian also linked superbly in the middle to feed the voracious appetite of our forward line. For the visitors, keeper Hammond simply had to be their MOTM and was congratulated on his astonishing performance by pretty much every Henleyplayer and supporter.
Nest week we visit the new facilities at Sidegate lane when we face Ramsomes Sports FC, always a challenge, we know they'll be fully committed. Meanwhile the ressies are back in action with the visit of East Bergholt Utd ‘A's KO 2.30.
January 29, 2017 - With the first team not having a game this week, all eyes were on the ressies home fixture as they welcomed Trimley Athletic to the community centre. Many would probably have anticipated that with the 1st team available we would have bolstered the ressies, however the decision was made to give the lads a break with just Jackson appearing to recover match fitness following an injury. A good crowd of 39, including a handful of 1st teamers and a Grundisburgh contingent, watched a pretty comfortable 4-1 victory for the home side.
The lads started brightly, playing some good football and were rewarded with an early goal from a thumping 23 yard drive from Merry that whistled into the corner. This inspired even more confidence with the midfield always looking to hit the wide men with diagonal balls. One of these occasions produced Henley's 2nd goal with Walden running onto a through ball outpacing his marker and slotting home at the near post.
An almost carbon copy of the same move produced the same result with once again Walden cutting in from the right and finishing well at the near post for a 3-0 half time lead. Indeed, the only slight negative to the first half was a yellow card for Ripper who lived up to his name with a rather robust challenge. With all the Ultras in attendance it produced a comment from our esteemed Chairman that the 6 Nations doesn't start until next week.
With the game won it's fair to say that the second half failed to live up to the first as Henley took their foot off the pedal and rather coasted through it. They still had the vast majority of the play however, with Dunham and Ward at the back mopping up everything in front of a confident Burton. A slight lapse saw Trimley pull one back to 3-1, well finished albeit with a suspicion of hand ball in the build up. Henley should have had a very obvious penalty when Merry was clumsily brought down 8 yards out and ready to shoot but to much amusement from the sidelines the appeal was waved away. There was still time for another goal though, as substitute Ling flicked home a deft volley for a final score of 4-1.
A good win, although we all know the lads are capable of much better, MOTM went to the 2 goal Dan Walden. It was also good to see Cooper back in action following his extended absence.
The reserves have another break next week but the 1st team are back in action welcoming Griefy and his East Bergholt side to the community centre KO time back to 2.30.
January 23, 2017 - It was yet another new ground ticked off for the visiting Henley Ultras with a visit to Stanton FC on a cold, bright Saturday afternoon. We received a very warm welcome with a coffee on arrival and a chat about everything SIL.
On the pitch Henley had an early shock when Stanton hit the post with a downward header after 5 minutes with the home side flying out of the blocks. However it was the visitors who took the lead on 14 minutes when Tejano's low, swerving 25 yard drive deceived the home custodian. Bruce's trickery saw him skip free down the left but he was cynically scythed down before he could threaten on goal, sadly without a card being produced. Henley doubled their lead as Tejano and White exchanged passes in midfield before finding George out wide right, he drove in a low cross which Williams finished from close range for 0-2. Speedster Williams should've added another shortly after when he latched onto Clark Bruce's driven cross but at full stretch his effort went high.
Seven minutes into the 2nd half came the goal of the game, a multitude of close, fast, 1sttime passes between Williams, Bruce, George and Bevis bisected the home defence and saw Williams thread a final ball to release Bruce who slammed home for 0-3. Holland had to make a fine stop shortly after from a close range effort followed by Storey clearing off the line to maintain the Henley lead as the home side sought a route back into the game. Skipp for Stanton was adjudged to have taken an elaborate tumble in the box and was subsequently booked for simulation. There was still time for Bruce to add his 2nd and Henley's 4th as White found George in space and he picked the perfect pass for Bruce to run onto, round the keeper and finish for 0-4.
Further chances followed with home keeper Cole saving well to deny Bruce a hat trick, Williams rounded Cole but was defeated by the narrow angle and substitute Caraccio showed shades of his form from last season with a flying header just past the post. Possibly his new, flowing locks distracted him? I've directed him to seek suitable man bun tying advice from Bruce and White.
So all in all a fine performance against a strong and organised Stanton side, with Skipp and Campbell a handful throughout, Campbell's pace and trickery demonstrating clearly why he attracting so much attention. For Henley, MOTM was the Ultras hero Behnamnia who was excellent throughout and is fast becoming out most consistent player. Tejano was only just behind him in the voting with yet another performance where he covered almost every blade of grass, passed and challenged superbly in addition to scoring the opener. Hollandonce again proved his worth, despite periods of inactivity he remained alert to make an exceptional close range stop when he was called upon. Of course the strikers deserve their share of attention too, once again Bruce's tricks and Williams' pace proving too much for our hosts. Williams gets quicker every game, which on Saturday saw the Ultras compose a song in honour of his invisible motorbike! We would like to thank Stanton for their 1st class hospitality with all our lads and Ultras taking full advantage.
After a ridiculously long winter break the ressies were finally back in action welcoming Bacton Utd 89 ressies in the Goals of Ipswich Cup. The team was much changed with several players moving to try their luck elsewhere and take the chance to play senior football. With one club now fielding 7 ex Henley players in their 1st team squad now affectionately christened Henley Vets. A rusty display in the 1st half saw 3 goals conceded from corners but a far better 2nd half showing saw us pull a goal back with Dan Walden's 1st goal for the club. Sadly we were unable to overcome the 1st half deficit and Bacton deservedly went through 1-3, we wish them luck in the rest of the competition. Henley MOTM was the evergreen Pagey with a strong performance.
No game for the 1st team next week so all eyes will be on the ressies home match against Trimley Red Devils, a decent crowd is expected with the Ultras and hopefully some 1stteam lads supporting.
January 16, 2017 - On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon we welcomed Capel Plough for their 1st ever visit to the community centre. With so many games called off it was a pleasure to see our match on and a credit to our hard working groundsman Ivan Page. Happy to see one game off was visiting scribe Bob the Ploughman, meaning he could gleefully collect on his bet with the Earl of Ufford. It was pretty much the only thing that did cheer him as he glumly informed me of the multiple absences from his side.
Henley started brightly piling on the early pressure with some neat passing moves, opening the scoring on 13 minutes when Chris Williams raced through from the half way line, bursting through two challenges before coolly finishing off the inside of the post for 1-0. Five minutes later he was through once again but was crudely scythed down by young Tynan, which to the surprise of most watching only earned him a yellow card. He was not to be denied for long though and on 38 minutes he timed his run perfectly, turning on the afterburners to skip through and finish well for 2-0. Despite having little to do during the half home custodian Kev Holland was alert enough to make a fine double save in the 45thminute to maintain Henley's lead into the break.
Capel had a great start to the 2nd period creating some quality chances that were either well saved by Holland or blocked well by his defence as Arran Sheppard and Mark Storey combined time and again. Ten minutes into the half Capel were once again very fortunate to keep all 11 on the pitch as Tom Jackson was caught late with a two footed lunge from Richards, but bewilderingly only a yellow was shown. Capel still posed a threat, despite Henley dominating possession and it wasn't until the 80th minute that Henley put the game to bed. Sub Liam Bevis swung in a curling free kick from wide left which came off the inside of the post and was headed home by Mark Storey from point blank range for 3-0. With 5 minutes remaining Williams completed his hat trick with an astonishing, surging run through 3 challenges to finally round the keeper and make it 4-0. In the last minute a precise Sam Behnamnia through ball was latched onto by Clark Bruce who delightfully lobbed home for a final score of 5-0.
Not our best performance of the season by a long way but a fairly comfortable win nonetheless, MOTM went to hat trick hero Chris Williams who looked like scoring every time he went forward but Kev Holland also deserves a mention for spectacular stops either side of the break.
It was good to see all the Capel lads in the bar post match enjoying the hospitality and we also thank them for their kind comments about our club.
This coming Saturday we visit Stanton and their TV star keeper who kept us all amused via social media on Saturday, KO 2.00. The reserves finally have a game too!! Welcoming Bacton Utd '89 reserves in the Goals of Ipswich Cup KO 1.30.
January 8, 2017 - Henley crashed out of the Bob Coleman Cup, losing 4-0 to a resurgent Felixstowe Harpers side Saturday afternoon. After nine consecutive league victories which sees us top of the Senior League it was an oddly subdued Henley side that took the field at Trimley Sports Club. Whilst this game was a home draw the Henley Players pantomime forced us to play this as an away game at a venue where we rarely seem to achieve success.
We didn't rest anybody and there are no excuses, we just didn't show up on the day and Harpers demonstrated their hunger and desire and beat us fair and square. Two down on 44 minutes the turning point came when Bruce's penalty was well saved, if we'd have gone in at HT only one down I do believe the result may have turned out differently. However it wasn't to be and whilst pushing for a route back into the game we got caught out twice on the break with the last goal just before the final whistle an absolute beauty. All credit to the home side they played very well and nearly scored as many goals as they have coaches and managers in their technical area lol! In contrast we were really off the boil today with very few chances created. All at Henley wish Harpers all the best in the next round.
I'm confident the management team will treat this as a learning experience and I feel sure we won't see such a poor performance again anytime soon. Next week we have a home game as we welcome Capel Plough to the community centre for the first time K.O 2.00, I look forward to meeting the Ploughman in person, although he would really be wasting his breath discussing gardening with me. Yet again the ressies continue their winter break.
There a still a small number of the naked calendars available for sale at only £10 all proceeds to Testicular Cancer research, please get in touch if you would like one.
January 3, 2017 - Henley started 2017 with their ninth consecutive victory, this time in a hard fought away fixture at Westerfield Utd. The Henley management team rang the changes resting Storey completely and leaving the influential midfield duo of Bevis and White on the bench with Trevivian and Jackson joining the starting line up. Despite the cold, for the third game running the lads played in front of a crowd in excess of 100 who probably didn't see either side at their best on the day. However as in the corresponding home fixture Westerfield gave us a really tough game.
Henley were straight onto the front foot with Williams and Tejano coming close early on and Bruce having an effort from a narrow angle cleared off the line. However the deadlock wasn't broken until twenty minutes in when a Behnamnia cross was fired home by Tejano for 0-1. Only seven minutes later Westerfield found an equaliser from the penalty spot, Ellis pressurised Smyth who fell on the ball handling it and Ellis fired home the spot kick just past the outstretched fingers of Holland for 1-1.
The hosts were not level for long though, as within three minutes Trevivian picked out a diagonal ball to release Williams down the right. Firing up the afterburners he raced past his marker and drove in a low shot which was well saved by Jacobs, however the rebound went straight back to him and he picked out a perfect cross to the back post where a back pedalling Bruce rose to head home for 1-2. With TWO headed goals for Bruce so far this season!! The club are now desperately seeking a hair products sponsor to repair any potential damage. All together far less concerned by the risk to his coiffure George saw his fine header superbly saved just before the break.
The 2nd half was quite a dull affair with neither side creating that many clear chances, although Tejano, Williams and Bruce all came close. The hosts were reduced to ten men when Brkovic saw a 2nd yellow for a spate of repeated minor fouls added to his 1st half one for dissent. Henley brought on Bevis and White which added the spurt of energy needed and on 72 minutes Trevivian was brought down in the home box and who else but Bruce stepped up to smash home the penalty for 1-3. Caraccio made a late appearance off the bench to applause from the Henley faithful, injured in April the return of last season's Supporter player of the year is like a new signing. Holland showed his class and concentration very late in the game to palm round a fine shot from Richardson to see us safely home with the 3 points.
It was all a little bit “after the Lord Mayors show” for Henley which combined with the changes saw us a tad disjointed at times; however we still had enough to see the game out. With such a busy season giving players a rest whenever feasible is a big part of management nowadays and we fortunately had the strength in depth to battle for a victory. Henley MOTM went to Bruce who once again combined clinical finishing with a terrific work rate, defending from the front throughout. In addition the returning Sheppard just oozed class in defence.
It was good to catch up with Big Phil and Spreads post match, although they were disappointed with the result I'm confident that they and their side will have enough to pull away from the danger zone before season's end.
Saturday sees us in Bob Coleman Cup action against Felixstowe Harpers K.O 1.30, although a home draw we will be playing the fixture away as the Community Centre has its annual pantomime over this weekend. (Oh yes it does) Yet again the ressies are without a fixture.
Finally can I take the opportunity to wish all our players, supporters, officials and sponsors, along with everyone else involved in local football a Happy New Year.
December 29, 2016 - Top of the Senior division at the turn of the year, after defeating previous leaders and last seasons champions Cranes Sports FC. That's a sentence I didn't think I'd be typing any time soon! But after a fantastic team performance at Greshams on Tuesday I'm happy to be tapping those keys.
It really was a lovely, bright day for football and we received a warm welcome at Greshams from the Earl of Ufford, Rads and John Nunn. Pre-match talk was all about who wasn't playing, Cranes missing their wide men Fike and Dowson-Alexander and Henley without Sheppard at the back (although by the number of messages for updates he sent me during the game it felt like he was there anyway lol) Other pre match chats amongst the large contingent of Henley Ultras in a superb crowd of over 200 seemed to centre around the negative effects of imbibing Port the night before a game.
I'll not go into great detail. Suffice to say we flew at Cranes from the off with Bevis pinging in a great free kick which Tejano smuggled in at the back post to give us the lead. We added a 2nd on the break when Seaman cleared a Cranes free-kick from the edge of our box to Bruce just inside our half. His raking cross-field ball found Williams who outpaced his marker to the byline where he drove in a low cross which Bruce smashed home at the back post for 0-2. Cranes kept themselves in the game with a towering header from the always impressive Blades to see the HT score at 1-2.
I'm guessing that there were strong words in the home changing rooms as Cranes came at us in wave after wave of attacks right from the beginning of the 2nd half. However our defence held firm with some outstanding tackles and brave blocks, that defending began at the front with Bruce and Williams chasing down every ball and not giving the home defenders time to play the ball out from the back. When we were breached the woodwork saved us from a long range Blades effort and then the same man was seemingly caught in two minds after he had rounded Holland, by the time he had decided he was swamped by the Henley defence and the chance went begging.
It wasn't all one way traffic though, with Williams, Bruce and Cole all having efforts saved or going wide. As the tension grew amongst the visiting support (can you wear out a watch by staring at it?) up stepped Bevis with an exquisite chip from the edge of the area to seal the points and make it 1-3 with two minutes to go. What a great game this was, a terrific advert for SIL football and one enjoyed by a large crowd. A game that was aided by a strong performance from Mr Goodman in the middle, keen to see the game progress and unfussy throughout, well done.
I always ask our managers for their MOTM post match but they could only name every player in the squad, as each gave their all for the full game. Holland was superb and unflappable, Behnamnia and Seaman at fullbacks worked their socks off, Storey gave a Captains performance and was the heartbeat of the team with Smythe having a terrific day alongside him at centre half. The little magician Bevis directed the game in midfield with White a dynamo beside him and Tejano winning almost every challenge he made. Up front it was great to see George make his first start following his return from injury and to be such a threat, the pace of Williams was all too much for the home defence and Bruce added work rate to his seemingly inevitable goal threat. From the bench Cole was his usual terror to defences, Trevivian metronomic in possession and Jackson all action as always. All in all 14 MOTM.
The Earl and Rads were as gracious on the day as they were in their subsequent notes, all at Henley thank them for their kind words about our club. As for Henley, well the Ultras are in dreamland as you would expect, but the lads are keeping their feet firmly on the ground. It's only mid season and nothing has been won yet, there's a long, long way to go and we'll take it one step at a time, starting on 2nd January with a visit to Westerfield K.O 2.00.
May I finish by wishing everyone involved in the SIL, players, officials and supporters and very happy new year.
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.
Henley Athletic FC field two sides in the SIL (Suffolk and Ipswich League)
The 1st team are managed by Sean Brown and Chris Rogers and are in Division 1
The reserve team are managed by Robert Mathers and Mark Dunham and are in Inter B Division
Chairman: Wayne Leggett
Secretary: Simon Butler
Treasurer: David Ling
Committee members: Wendy Quantrill, George Gibson, Tony Stone
Sponsors: All Manor of Events, DQ Services, Econobuild and Morrison Freight
Fixtures are at the community centre with a 2.30 KO (Cup games and winter 2.00) we have a growing local support and a great atmosphere, please come along and support your local side.
Home fixtures to the end of the season as below (R) designates reserve side, fixtures may be subject to change please check the SIL website if travelling.
Saturday 28th March Henley AFC v Mendlesham FC
Saturday 4th April Henley AFC (R) v Ipswich Exiles FC (R)
Saturday 11th April Henley AFC (R) v Capel Plough FC (R)
Saturday 18th April Henley AFC (R) v Wickham Mkt FC (R)
Saturday 2nd May Henley AFC v Sporting 87 FC