Wycombe 1 Henley 1
Henley Hockey V travelled to local rivals Wycombe on the coldest day of the season so far, Henley sitting one point ahead in the league going into the game. Henley fielded their youngest midfield quartet of the season to date – Debutant Oliver Whale, alongside Matthew Lawson, Dominic Proudfoot and Jamie Taylor – average age 14! Playing into the low winter sun, Henley’s patient passing game led to an incisive Newbold attacking dribble to the edge of the Wycombe D, his pass feeding Jamie Taylor who nutmegged an oncoming defender before flicking the ball past the diving ‘keeper into the bottom left corner. The experienced trio of Newbold, Proudfoot and Williams began to work the ball around into space and found outlets on both flanks, with Oliver Whale making an impact with his pace on the right. Despite having much of the possession no further goals were forthcoming and the half drew to a close with Henley in the ascendancy but unable to capitalise on their possession. The experience of Botha, Emmett and Austin complimenting the younger quartet to conclude a solid first half performance.
The second half saw Wycombe shift their formation to give Henley less time to play the ball around as freely as they had in the first half. Shuttleworth in the Henley goal was immediately more active, requiring clearing kicks and several defensive clearances to keep Wycombe from scoring, despite multiple short-corners. As the sun dropped still further Henley were unable to string together their passing game in quite the same way and lost the ball to Wycombe in dangerous areas of the pitch more than once. The pressure eventually led to a slick move into the D and a slapped shot finally beat the onrushing Shuttleworth for Wycombe’s equaliser. Henley defended several late short corners and were happy to hear the final whistle and share the points, leaving Henley to remain a point ahead of Wycombe in 4th place in the table, having played 7 games each. Henley’s next game is at home (Sat 2nd Dec) against Yateley who currently lie in 9th place, but only 3 points behind Henley in a tight league.