U14 Boys lose out in final seconds
Disappointment at Maidenhead in 2-1 defeat
This was very much a game of two halves for Henley at least. The first two quarters saw tentative passing, poor footwork, persistent dribbling into the opposition and an inability to retain structure. In this first 30 minutes Henley only had 2 attacking moves of note. Shaw and Cheesman had their shots saved and Fielder's excellent through ball didn't find his fellow forward. Maidenhead used strength of passing and speed of movement and decision making to make life tough for Alliston, Selvester, Nicholson and Hems in defence. The opening goal for Maidenhead came during one of many breaks with the Maidenhead attack outnumbering the Henley defenders and a lack of marking exposing Bowyer in goal.
It was Bowyer who kept Henley in the game though and Henley scraped through the first two quarters with only one goal conceded.
The third quarter saw some improved play with Cheesman stabilising the defence and adding attacking options from left back. Phillips saw more of the ball during this quarter and was able to work with Petrie to create some chances. The best chance of the period fell to both Phillips and Fielder but neither was able to get a stick to the cracking cross from Parsons after his right wing dominance.
The final quarter saw a more confident Selvester at right back helping to push the team forwards. Parsons found space on the right whilst Davies and Shaw managed to retain a much higher percentage of midfield possession. Henley's tackling in the middle of the pitch was vastly improved and Shaw, Davies, Hems and particularly Nicholson made life very difficult for the Maidenhead midfield. The equaliser was well taken by the opportunistic Fielder who had been thwarted by the excellent Maidenhead defence for much of the game.
Henley continued to fight for the win and the match was pure entertainment for the excited spectators as both teams had a string of attacks. Hems stepped up to his new role in the centre of defence and grew in confidence, picking tackles superbly, as the match progressed. The Maidenhead goal keeper managed to keep his side in the game and Nicholson, at centre back on his debut for Henley, was commanding, reading the tackles brilliantly and frustrating the Maidenhead forwards. His man of the match vote was richly deserved.
But it was Maidenhead who were to come away victorious. A penalty corner was conceded as the final whistle blew. The Maidenhead team flooded forward and the penalty corner strike found the bottom left of the goal. Henley were disappointed and rightly so, but resolve to take the final quarter form into the first quarter of next week's game against Oxford Hawks.