AFC Henley U12 Hotspurs recovered from going 3 goals down to win 8-5 in a thrilling second half comeback at Jubilee Park against Maidenhead United Magpies Reds on Saturday.
Maidenhead won the toss and kicked off – promptly scoring within the first 60 seconds with a mazy run from their striker through the Hotspurs midfield and defence, finishing in a clinically taken goal. Two minutes later the visitors had a second from a goal kick finding the same striker whos shot gave the Henley keeper no chance. Henley thought they had pulled one back when a good though ball from Will O’hagan on the Henley right wing found George Khairallah who slotted the ball past the keeper only to be judged offside.
Maidenhead were having the majority of the possession and looked certain to score again with their striker 1 on 1 with Henley Keeper Ben Palmer, only for Ben to pull off an incredible one hand save diving low to his right. However Maidenhead were soon to increase the lead with their 3rd goal coming after less than 10 minutes had been played. This seemed to stir the home side to life and Henley began to put together some good movement with Max Cranstoun winning the ball in midfield with some well timed tackling and feeding it out to Tom Francis on the left wing who’s shot was forced out for a corner.
Henley’s first goal came from a fine piece of team play with Lucas Hendley in defence feeding the ball out to Freddie Formon on the right wing who used a good turn of pace to get past a defender before delivering a well timed cross to Jake Williams in the Visitors penalty box who volleyed past the keeper. However Henley celebrations were short lived with the Magpies scoring again to restore their 3 goal lead before the half time whistle with the score at 1-4.
With their coaches words of encouragement ringing in their ears Henley ran out for the second half like a new team. From the kick-off they attacked down the right side winning a throw-in which Dexter Harris took quickly finding George Khairallah who volleyed neatly into the back of the net. Within minutes George had a second goal from a long Freddie Formon throw-in to Dexter Harris who’s cross found George in the visitors penalty box who poked his shot under the diving keeper.
A stunned Maidenhead attacked from the kick-off however were unable to breach the solid defence of Harry Wildgoose and Sam Carter. The Henley equalizer came from a Ben Palmer clearance which reached George Khairallah in the attacking half who took a couple of touches to get past the visitors defenders before scoring to bring up his hat-trick. Within minutes Henley had taken the lead from a Freddie Formon corner finding Dexter Harris unmarked in the penalty bringing the score to 5-4.
Henley now had the midfield under control with Will O’hagan doing a great job man-marking the Maidenhead goal scorer and Stanley Massie providing accurate distribution to the Henley wingers. Hotspurs extended the lead following a neat 1-2 between Sam Carter and Tom Francis who then threaded a through ball to George Khairallah who slipped past the Maidenhead defence before placing his shot beyond the reach the keeper for his 4th goal of the game.
With the confidence running high Henley were now on the attack – a shot from outside the area from George was parried by the Magpies keeper only as far as Jake Williams who followed up to score his second of the game. Henley’s final goal came from a free-kick 10 yards outside the visitors Penalty area – beautifully struck by Stanley Massie, it dipped just below the crossbar giving the Maidenhead keeper no chance.
With a few minutes to go until full time Maidenhead pulled a goal back to give a final score of 8-5 to Henley with George Khairallah Man-of-the Match.