Henley Hotspurs 1-2 Whitegrove Dragons
A late headed goal from Jake Williams wasn’t enough against a strong Whitegrove Dragons side as Henley Hotspurs went down 2-1 in only their second defeat of the season.
Still without their full coaching staff, the Hotspurs were looking to bounce back after a gutsy performance last week ended in a close fought defeat.
But it was Whitegrove who snatched the early lead after a hopeful, high looping ball wasn’t dealt with. Whitegrove’s striker didn’t need asking twice and fired a superb volley in off the underside of the bar.
Despite the goal the first half was played out fairly evenly with Henley having 51% of possession. A packed midfield traded several crunching tackles with both Frieddie Piasecki and Stanley Massie putting in a shift, and both defences holding firm.
A half-time team talk from Jon Francis seemed to have motivated Henley as they looked keen to get the second half started. But, like a giraffe with its head in the clouds, the Hotspurs switched off and Whitegrove made it 2-0 straight from the restart.
It could soon have been 3-0 after a stray clearance went straight to Whitegrove’s srtiker. But an outstanding recovery save from keeper Ben Palmer kept Henley in the game.
With ten minutes remaining, and perhaps sensing the urgency of the situation, Henley picked up their game. Dexter Harris’s pace was causing Whitegrove problems down the channels as Henley applied late pressure.
Henley’s movement off the ball was excellent and they repeatedly carved open a Whitegrove defence that could not cope. Jack Scanlon and Tom Francis remained solid and quickly and effectively dealt with any Whitegrove attack.
But it was all Henley now. A trademark mazy run from Daniel Tsoi drew in Whitegrove’s defence leaving Williams unmarked at the far post to head in from close range. The cross was pinpoint accuracy from the right by Tsoi.
Henley were rejuvenated and at 2-1 were in the ascendancy and looking for the equaliser.
They suddenly found the form that we know they are capable of and Whitegrove were on the ropes. An equaliser looked imminent but the clock ticked down and Henley were unable to captialise on their strong finish.
Despite this being their second defeat in eight days the Hotspurs can take positives away from this after showing they are a talented side with a never-say-die attitude