Henley Town are without a game this Saturday and resume operations on Wednesday when they travel to Brackley Town Saints in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
On paper, this looks like the Red Kites’ best remaining chance of a league win, but Brackley, who are the reserve team of National League Brackley Town in all but name, have been the most unpredictable team in their division this season. They have conceded ten goals in one match and nine in another yet always bounce back so well that they look unlikely to be caught by any of the three teams currently below them.
Their last four results sum up Saints’ erratic form. They lost 4-0 at home to Burnham, who are now at the bottom of the table, then beat Hoyport 5-1 in a cup tie and last Saturday won 5-2 at Longlevens, only to go down 2-1 at Oxford City Nomads on Tuesday. The Town, who vacated the bottom position through their win at Ascot, will view that result with mixed feelings, though it proves that Barckley are beatable, as it also keeps Nomads above Henley in the table.
Looking back, Henley’s 3-1 home defeat by Brackley early in the season, when they were still able to field several of last season’s players, looks like a chance lost to secure a rare victory, though the upset caused by the loss of Ben Clark with a broken leg did go some way to explain the result.
Whilst the first team continue their mammoth run of away games, the reserves are now regularly at home. On Saturday their visitors are Penn and Tylers Green Reserves for a league match, kicking off at 3 p.m.
Last Saturday, even playing at home for the first time since November could not inspire the reserves to break their long run of defeats. They knew that Sandhurst Town Reserves were likely to provide strong opposition but may have supposed they had caught their visitors on an off-day when they arrived without substitutes, linesman or physio and with the wrong kit! The first 27 minutes did, indeed, see the sides evenly matched, but the first goal was always likely to prove vital, and it was Sandhurst who scored it. The important difference between the sides was that the Fizzers were physically stronger than Henley’s more lightweight youngsters.
Even so, the Town were still in the game before a bad lapse in concentration presented Sandhurst with two goals in a minute just prior to the interval. The Red Kites, who showed seven changes in their starting eleven, pulled themselves together in the second half but could not improve on the 3-0 score-line.
There were postponements for both the youth and Sunday teams last week. This weekend, the Sundays travel to 116 Exiles Reserves, kick-off 10.30 a.m. On Thursday, the youths visit Wantage Town Reserves, kick-off 7.45 p.m. Both matches are league fixtures.