A crowd of 94, doubtless boosted by late call offs elsewhere, enjoyed both the sunshine and a competitive match, at the Community Centre, Henley running out deserved 3-0 victors, despite a promising opening from the visitors. Henley were missing their Captain, Storey and keeper Lynch, Smythe stepping into central defence and Holland pulling on the gloves.

Haughley were quickest out of the blocks, putting the home side under early pressure with some good wing play, however their finishing wasn’t up to scratch and they failed to really trouble Holland. The ever impressive Reece Golding coming closest, his shot flashing across the face of goal.

However Henley grew into the game and took the lead after 25 minutes, White powering home a header from a Bruce freekick from wide left for 1-0. Ten minutes later Liam Ablitt crashed in a fierce shot which was bravely blocked on the line and cannoned to safety off the underside of the bar.  Haughley continued to cause Henley problems but it was the home side who looked the more comfortable going into the break a goal up.

Five minutes into the second half, Henley looked to have increased their lead, Liam Ablitt heading home the rebound after Gavin Van Oene had hit the bar. However, after consulting with his assistant Referee Greenbank correctly ruled the goal out for a foul throw in the build up. Henley weren’t to be denied for long though, on 65 minutes Liam Ablitt was brought down in the box and despite a lengthy delay as Golding was sinbinned, Bruce kept his cool to slot home the subsequent penalty to make it 2-0. Henley wrapped the game up after 72 minutes when Gavin Van Oene drilled in a low drive which the Haughley keeper couldn’t hold, Liam Ablitt reacting the quickest to slot home for 3-0. Watling netted but the goal was disallowed for a foul and in the closing minutes Haughley appeared to have scored a consolation goal from a corner, but this too was ruled out for a foul, leaving the final score at 3-0.

Haughley were a tough nut to crack, organised and efficient all across the park, they put us under a lot of pressure and were powerful up front, in addition to defending stoutly. But this was an improved Henley performance on last week, especially with such influential players missing, Smythe did a great job stepping into defence, Tejano and Gavin Van Oene were dominant in the middle and Thrower impressed when he replaced the injured Reid in the 1st half. Up front Bruce and the Ablitt brothers tormented the Haughley defence throughout, but Mr Versatility Gussy White drew the Ultra’s votes for MOTM, starting in midfield and ending the game at full back he epitomised everything good about Henley.

A mention too, for up and coming referee Ben Greenbank, a calm and measured performance and excellent communication, hope to see much more of him in the middle.