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Men's 2s - Match centre

Henley 2
Ashford 2
Sat 17 Feb 13:30 - South Hockey League - MBBO Division 1 Start time 13:30

Harmer steals 3 in convincing victory

Henley overcome bottom side Ashford

With the number of relegations not yet known, the task for Henley for the rest of the season is to ensure victory over the teams around them in a congested middle section of the league. The league has proved too strong for Ashford this season and they have laboured to their 7 points, so Henley could have expected to end the day with a victory.

The sense of injustice at last week's defeat having been the better side was clearly still fresh in the mind as Henley started with real ambition and seemed prepared to base themselves in the visitor's half. Some good attacks down both flanks by Rechner on the left and Measures on the right promised much, including a number of penalty corners, but ultimately the home team lacked finesse in front of goal. However, after 15 minutes Doyle latched onto a poor clearance and shot powerfully at goal where Harmer was on hand to get the final touch. A second followed not long after when debutante Timothy Herbert was picked out in the D, controlled the ball well, and spun 180 to slot the ball past the gaping keeper.

Frequently an issue in previous weeks, Henley's good work quite often came to nothing after loose passing surrendered possession cheaply to the opposition, the difference being that Ashford weren't able to punish Henley for their profligacy. Indeed, the tables were turned this week when Harmer found himself given the ball with the keeper to beat and he duly dispatched the ball to the corner of the goal for his second.

3-0 up at half time hasn't been a luxury Henley has enjoyed often this season but there was still much to be done to secure the points, and the feeling was that another goal would seal it for the home team. After some unselfish work by Price and Matt Herbert in the midfield the Ashford defence fell apart again and Harmer was well positioned to power in his hat trick goal and make it four for his side. However, an opposition in relegation danger can throw caution to the wind, and this they did, pushing players further up the pitch to apply pressure on the Henley defence. It would only be a Henley mistake that give Ashford any encouragement - Bodecker's misplaced pass to centre back Pratt found an Ashford midfielder with just Bowyer in goal to beat and weak shot deceived both him and retreating defence. This proved nothing more than a consolation goal, and moments later Rechner's mazy dribble brought him to the top of the Ashford D where he had the option to pass or shoot, the latter being the successful choice.

Next in the firing line is Ramgarhia who are nestled at the bottom with Ashford.

Team selection

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League round up

Other MBBO Division 1 results

Harrow 1
Staines 2
OMT 2
Ramgarhia 1
Wycombe 2

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Reading [4] Refills 22 53
2. Phoenix & Ranelagh 1 22 43
3. Sonning 2 15 26
4. Newbury & Thatcham 2 9 19
5. Henley 2 17 13
6. Harrow 1 7 12
7. Bicester 1 7 10

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