Henley Town 3 Brackley Town Development 2
Henley Town entertained Uhlsport Hellenic League leaders Brackley Town Development at the Triangle ground on Saturday but after picking up only one point since their last win on September 6th it looked a massive task for the Red Kites. Henley welcomed back regular defenders Warren Baxter, Mitch Cooper and Richard Thomas back after missing last week’s match at Finchampstead but they still had a few players missing, new goalkeeper James Carrigan, Graham Sims, Eliot Whitehouse, Adam Jeffrey and Darragh O’Callaghan were unavailable and Billy Gordon was injured.
The Red Kites meant business straight from the start and caused problems to the Vanarama Conference North outfits Development sides rearguard. Henley soon won a free kick on the left just outside the area which was swung in by Ben Clark for Warren Baxter the rise above the Brackley defence and head the ball past keeper Dan Farrell to put Henley ahead after 11 minutes play. The young Brackley side moved up the other end of the field and Andrew Nunn in the Henley goal was soon in action. Both teams were giving 100% and the match was very entertaining and pleasing on the eye for the spectators. Louis Howell who was spearheading the Henley attack kept the visitors defenders on their toes and the new look midfield of Asa Povey, Grant Kemp, Ryan Witt and Ben Clark kept Henley buzzing and with Sean Moore who had a free role moving right across the field causing Brackley problems with his pace and skilful runs. Henley went further ahead in the 31st minute when Sean Moore showed excellent skills by gliding past three Brackley defenders inside the area to casually glide the ball past goalkeeper Farrell. Brackley continued to work hard to get back into the game and Jose Ingio was causing problems down the flanks and they pulled goal back through Henry Jackson after 37 minutes. A couple of minutes later they thought they had levelled the scores when Matt Hammond netted but the linesmen had his flag up for offside and referee Neil Templey disallowed the goal.
After the break the game continued to be end to end and very entertaining for the larger than normal crowd. Both sides had chances with the defences giving little away and both keepers having to make some excellent saves. Brackley had an effort cleared of the line in the 82 minute but they eventually celebrated in the 88th minute when Matt Johnson netted an equaliser but the Red Kites never gave up and straight from the restart the ball was worked out to the left flank to Sean Moore who ran infield holding of several defenders before slotting the ball into the corner of the Brackley net for his second goal and what proved to be Henley’s winner in the 89th minute. The referee made it a tense finale by adding 4 minutes injury time but the Red Kites held on for deserved win.
After this gutsy performance against a very good opposition the Henley Town supporters went home wondering why there side have slipped down the League in the last couple of months by losing to lesser opposition but if the Lads can keep this type of display up they will be back near top in the new year.
Andrew Nunn: Mitch Cooper, Warren Baxter, Richard Thomas, Dan Faherty; Grant Kemp, Asa Povey, Ryan Witt, Ben Clark; Sean Moore, Louis Howell
Subs used: Greg Taylor, Matt Godwin Sub not used: Sam Cripps