Match defining save by Henley 'keeper ensures draw
Cima's goal fest continues
A highly entertaining game was played out at Jubilee Park with between 2 very closely matched teams even if Wallingford were some 9 points ahead of the yellow and blues in the league. Henley were looking for revenge following a heavy defeat inflicted on them by Wallingford in the first half of the season.
It was the home side who started the strongest but despite some great overlapping play down the right flank by Phil Biggs and Simon Taylor the final ball to a Henley striker remained elusive.
Wallingford slowly were getting into the game, their game plan appearing to be one of slowing the game down to rely on set pieces. Indeed it was Wallingford who opened the scoring with a somewhat fortunate goal, a free hit from the half way line taking a wicked deflection off a Henley stick and soaring through the Henley midfield and defence at shoulder height before falling at the feet of a Wallingford striker to slot home. Minutes later it was 2-0 as Wallingford scored from a very good short corner move, taking the Henley defence out of the picture with precise passes before a simple shot to score.
Henley needed to regroup and find a way back into the game before half time, and with Ed 'marbles' Newbold upping the tempo to disrupt Wallingford's game, they began to take control. Fine play down the left by Neil Emmett and Leo Packham created an opening for Tim Cima who scored at the near post to restore hope back into the Henley hearts. With half time approaching Cima again put pressure on the Wallingford goal and following a sharp series of passes with Jon Grocock beat the keeper to make it 2-2 at half time. With Henley now back on equal terms all thoughts of tactical and positional changes were discarded and focus was back on playing to the Henley team's own strengths.
For the first 15 minutes of the second half the result was constantly in doubt, Wallingford still looked strong going forward and Henley were seriously in debt to some fine defending by Simon Ward to keep the scores level. At the other end of the pitch Henley just couldn't find the net, twice Cima was through one on one with the keeper and twice he was thwarted by fine goal keeping, in fact it looked like the Gods were seriously against Cima as twice he struck the post in the search for his 2nd hat trick in as many games.
Then disaster struck as Wallingford broke away from the Henley mid field and managed to create an overlap on the Henley left resulting in a tap-in goal.
With 5 minutes remaining it was all hands to the pump with Henley camped in the Wallingford half desperate to find the equaliser. With players and fans alike screaming for a short corner following 2 offences in Wallingford D the umpire played an advantage and the ball found Packham unmarked on the left who took his time and calmly shot past 2 approaching defenders and the keeper. 3-3, but still the game wasn't dead with one last throw of the dice Wallingford attacked again and looked certain to score only for the Henley keeper David Rechner to launch himself from the goal line and clear the ball off the stick as the striker looked poised to score, a match defining save .
Another strong result for Henley another step in securing their place in the league following last year's promotion.