Tuesday, 28 August 2012

... Deeply Henley

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Monday 27 August 2012 (7.45pm) at The Triangle
Henley Town 1 Chalfont Wasps 5
Hellenic League Division One East (step 6)
I am here because Henley rhymes with Selsey (and Horley) and Crawley.  Several Twitter friends shared my liking for the original plan of Horley, Crawley and Henley, which sounds like a firm of solicitors.  It makes a change from the dice, and I am not working with birds again anytime soon.  This match is the third of the day and takes the lifetime list up to 474.
Pre-match preparation
Wasps are mid-table but Henley have had a disastrous start to the season, bottom of the league with four losses and a 0-19 tally in the goals columns.  The club was on the point of closing – they are in the step 6 eastern division after demotion from the premier league because of ground grading issues, presumably stemming from funding difficulties.
This match in one sentence
Valiant but at times naive, Henley’s commendable playing style got them into trouble as they tired against a more streetwise Wasps side, and though the better team won, late goals somewhat distorted the scoreline.
So what?
At least Henley have got rid of that zero in the goals (for) column.  Wasps climb to fifth.
The drama unfolds
Henley's young side could have been a goal down in the first minute but Michael Wilson shot narrowly wide.  The same player then had a sharp shot tipped onto the bar and over.  Chalfont were taking hold of the game, but there was still no score after 20 minutes.  Here's the scene-setter clip. Henley are in the white shirts.

The opening goal came around the midway point of the first half, and Tom Seddon is the name on the scoresheet.  We waited to see if Henley heads would drop.  1-0

In fact, they drew level after 34 minutes with a "route one" goal.  Jason Belgrave took advantage of the merest hesitation from the goalkeeper and poked home the side's first league goal of the season.  1-1

However, they couldn't hang on till half-time.  They survived one scare from a corner, needing a goal-line clearance, but their defensive line was soon breached and Marc Holt had a very easy finish as shown in this clip.  1-2

Henley remained positive and had two more shooting chances before the break.  1-2 at half-time

They started the second half trying to play the game constructively, passing the ball from the back.  The defenders were prepared to dribble and pass their way out of their area.  Most managers at this level would have apoplexy, but this appeared to be encouraged from the bench.  It was good to watch, but inexperience and fatigue led to many scary moments.

Henley lasted until 69 minutes, then a direct long and straight ball from the back caused major problems.  The defence were outpaced, the goalkeeper came out but was bypassed, and Daire Stack walked the ball into the net.  1-3

The pace of Seddon was also instrumental in the next goal, six minutes later.  He manufactured a perfect pass to substitute Fred Tripp in the centre, who slid in with perfect timing.  1-4

Tripp drew a good save soon after, but the Henley fight was evaporating and Seddon got another with 10 minutes left.  The final whistle was something of a relief.  Henley captain Chris Appleby, an experienced head at centre-back, deserves a mention for his on-pitch work in supporting and encouraging his younger team-mates with the optimal balance of praise and criticism.  Final score 1-5
The programme

Something random
Groundhoppers everywhere, go and support this team of underdogs this season, especially if you have a sunny afternoon to spare.  The club is up against it and every bit of revenue will help.  This ground has the potential to be utterly charming once more, and there is a trainline right next to it for multi-obsessives.  The town is wealthy enough to support a decent football club.  If you live there and are minted (there's a fair chance), they are looking for sponsors.
Always stay hydrated during serial groundhopping
Hopping for Moorfields Update
Another six goals to add to the tally which stands at 37 after 9 hops, very close to the predicted average of four per game.  The new school year starts soon, and grounds will be added at the rate of one or two a week until (weather permitting) further spurts in the October half-term and the Christmas break.  A penny-a-goal pledge should still cost you less than £3 at the end of the season.
What Next?
A night of blogpost writing to keep you entertained in a timely manner.  Thinking about Rotherham United next Saturday to restore my current 92.  Also thinking about something local tonight, but not committed yet.  Follow @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!

No comments:

Post a Comment