On another warm Saturday afternoon, Henley Hockey Men’s 5th team faced local rivals Sonning 5ths in their third home game of the league season,
Henley started the game in efficient fashion, a clear focus across the team of ball retention and inter passing beginning to bare fruit. With Nick Shuttleworth in the Henley goal marshalling his experienced defence with assurance, Henley limited Sonning to speculative long balls and were able to cut out much of what Sonning threw at them in the first half. The experienced back line of Chris Proudfoot, Simon Ward and James Lane feeding the youth of Matthew Lawson and Jamie Taylor on the flanks led to Henley’s attacking approach from midfield, the first goal coming midway through the first half from a close in strike from captain Rupert Gutteridge.
The second half saw the structure of the game and Henley’s formation change, most of the game was played in the middle of the pitch with limited efforts on goal from either side. Sonning’s equaliser was from a breakaway, Sonning’s centre forward calmly slotting the ball past Henley’s out rushing keeper. Despite late short corners for both sides, the game ended in a draw, probably a fair reflection, though Henley will rue they didn’t make more of their early pressure in the first half.
Three league games have now finished 1-1, Henley’s next game, is another local derby at home (Jubilee Park) 16.30 on Saturday 4 November against Marlow, which Henley will see as an opportunity to build on the performances so far this season and strive for a win.