For the second week running, Henley Town have no Saturday fixture this weekend but travel away in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League in midweek. On Monday, which is the normal day for midweek matches at Stubbs Lane, their opponents are Binfield, and the kick-off is at 7.45 p.m.
Since they first met 68 years ago, the paths of these two clubs have crossed in numerous competitions, but their rivalry has increased as a result of their meeting in the Reading Senior Cup final last season, after which several Town players moved on to the Moles.
Binfield currently have six former Henley men on their books, though only three were members of last season’s side, one of these being Asa Povey, who has not played at all since the early days of the season. The Red Kites’ Callum Carlisle was on the bench for Binfield in the cup final. That was in the final match of last season, which Henley won 5-3 after extra time. The opening match of the current term saw Binfield win 2-1 at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle in a Premier Division fixture, despite Ben Clark giving Henley an early lead.
Binfield currently stand eighth in the table, which is respectable enough and certainly better than the Town have done, but they have had a somewhat up-and-down season after a promising start, and their best achievements have come not in the league but in the Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy, in which they have reached the final.
All the Henley sides have league fixtures this week. The Sunday team are at home to Park Villa, kick-off 10.30 a.m., while the youths entertain Chesham United Youth on Wednesday, kicking off at 7.45 p.m. Stokenchurch visit the Triangle on Saturday to take on Henley Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m.
Last weekend’s home reserve game against Penn and Tylers Green Reserves produced something right out of the ordinary, completely revolving round five penalty incidents. Three were scored from, another saved and a fifth not given.
Each goalkeeper gave away a foul in the area, as a result of which Carlisle gave Henley the lead from the penalty spot after four minutes and Ryan Welsh equalised after 25 minutes. Only a couple of minutes later, Penn received a second spot-kick, which Welsh again converted. Only after a long consultation between the referee and a linesman was it decided that a further foul against the Red Kites had occurred just outside the area.
Welsh still had his chance to complete a hat-trick of penalties four minutes into the second half, but this time Gary Aulesbury parried the kick aside. Three minutes later, Simon Gray, for Penn, finally scored a goal from open play, after which the game pursued a more pedestrian course, with the visitors finishing 3-1 winners.