A warm and sunny day welcomed the U12 AFC Henley Hawks to their third league fixture against Darby Green & Potley Dynamos. Usually off the starting blocks on top form, the Hawks took some time to get into the match and the Dynamos were the dominant team in early play, weighing in with a goal around the 10-minute mark. The Hawks rallied and there was more forward play with George Acock and Leo Schlaefli influential in the drive.
The teams were now more evenly matched as the Hawks got into their stride. Following some good build up work Conor Quinn chested the ball down and made a great pass through to Jenson Lea who made a brilliantly controlled dink over the keeper to even up the score after 28 minutes. Going into half time and buoyed by the goal, the Hawks were on form and it was a shame the half time whistle had to come.
The Dynamos came out fighting in the second half and – following a scuffle in the box – they pushed in their second goal after 34 minutes. The Hawks did not lose faith and kept driving forward with good pressure and incisive tackling from Man of the Match Jessica Reed (pictured) who played a key role in the centre of the pitch. Several breaks were curtailed by an over-enthusiastic linesman which left the Hawks frustrated and scuppered some real chances on goal. At the other end of the pitch, Mikey Dowling and Dan Flowers supported keeper Ben Hemmings.
Harry Graham had a good punt on goal but it was deflected and the opposition were left to defend a corner. There was a flurry of activity involving Reed, Lea and Acock but unfortunately the Hawks could not capitulate on this. A few more offside decisions saw the Hawks losing motivation and the hosts popped in their third goal at around 52 minutes. A lack of concentration at the Hawks end saw them give away the ball for the Dynamos to make it a 4-1 win just before the final whistle.
There was a lot of individual effort in this match but the Hawks were noticeably not on their usual form in terms of passing, positioning and attitude – so one to chalk up and learn from. The score line does not reflect on keeper Hemmings, who made some key saves, nor on the balance of the match – though the Dynamos did deserve the win at this meeting. Onwards and upwards!