Henley off and running
Joseph brace sinks Horsham
Henley Men’s 1st XI’s first home match of the South Premier League season was played last Saturday against Horsham Men’s 1st XI. Following defeat in their first match of the season last week, the amber and blues were hoping to open their account in front of a bumper Jubilee Park crowd.
After some stirring pre-match words from the management team of Heggie, Joyce and Foster, Henley started the match strongly, playing some flowing and high-intensity hockey. After some excellent midfield link-up play by Gupta and Land, forwards Green and Joseph were able to create numerous first half chances, ultimately leading to a series of short corners. But despite the number of corners, Henley were unable to open their account, with Hetherington and Foster denied by some good goalkeeping.
Moments later, against the run of play, the away side took the lead and bundled the ball home from close-range, following a misplaced pass in the Henley defence. Despite the best efforts of Heaver and Newbold on the Henley goal line, they were unable to keep the ball out of the net and Henley needed to come from behind. Horsham’s lead was short lived however, as a flowing three-man move involving Foster, Land and Joseph resulted in Joseph netting from close-range after Land’s pinpoint cross.
With the scores level at half time, and numerous chances created, Henley were looking to take all 3 points from the match after the break. Once again however, the home side were undone on the break, as Horsham took the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Moments later, they added a third, as a powerful reverse stick shot nestled into the top corner of the Henley goal despite keeper Roy Cox getting a slight touch on the shot.
This two-goal deficit spurred Henley on however, and intense pressure from the home side resulted in two quick goals. The first coming from Man-of-the-match Alex Land, the second by Geoff Joseph, who once again displayed an excellent striker’s instinct to turn the ball home from close range for his second of the day.
At 3-3, the away side were tiring (perhaps a result of the extremely early 12 PM start time?) and Henley were dominating proceedings. With 6 minutes left on the clock Henley struck the winning blow, as a swift counter-attack saw Land and Green 2-on-1 with the final Horsham defender. With the defender duly beaten, Land dummied a pass to Green, fooling the Horsham goal keeper, who left the goal completely unguarded for the simplest of finishes for Green, after Land unselfishly laid the ball off to the veteran striker.
The match resulting in a much-deserved 4-3 win for Henley, who will look to build on this first win of the season next week away at Oxford University.