SIL Senior Division: Henley Athletic FC 4-0 Bildeston Rangers FC

A crowd of 74 watched Henley dominate an overly physical Bildeston throughout, with a strong performance from the whole squad. The Henley managers were forced into changes, with 3 usual starters away, but the squad showed the depth of quality available to them.

Henley pressed from the off, De Lara-Bell pulling off his first of many excellent saves on the day, to deny Bull’s low drive, at the other end a break from Bildeston saw Dixon race off his line to gather. Bildeston were fortunate to keep 11 on the pitch ten minutes in, Lorimer leaving a late and rather nasty one on home keeper Dixon, that many a ref would’ve seen as a red, rather than the yellow issued, thankfully after lengthy treatment, Dixon was able to continue, albeit gingerly.

Henley piled on the pressure, pinning the visitors back, on 18 minutes De Lara-Bell pulled off another top stop to block Watling’s shot, but 2 minutes later it was Watling who opened the scoring, looping his effort over the keeper for 1-0. After 35 minutes Henley extended their lead, a burst down the right from Shore, saw him fire in a low cross, which Bruce stretched out a leg to turn in, taking the score to 2-0 at HT

On 52 minutes Bruce had the ball in the net again, but play was pulled back for an earlier foul, as Henley continued to dominate for long periods. On 75 minutes it was 3-0, Ablitt bursting through from his own half, to find Field, who unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Bruce, who made no mistake with his finish. The visitors had a couple of late chances for a consolation, but the Henley defence held firm and Dixon was able to block as required to keep the clean sheet. There was still time for Henley to add a fourth in the final minute, Van Oene finishing neatly on his return from injury to bring the final score to 4-0.

A strong performance from all of the squad involved, Driver making his first start of the season, Hammond slipping on the Captain’s armband, Bruce and Bull relentless, and Smythe stepping up. But the Ultra’s MOTM went to Shore, a fullback stepping into a central midfield role and bossing it for the entire 90 minutes. The visitors clearly arrived with a plan to disrupt and be physical, but it was found wanting, although to their credit, they were still looking to go forward in the final minute.
Steve’s 50-50 draw today by Luke Littleboy who very generously donated his prize of £69.50 to the club, thanks Luke!
The first 100 club of the season was drawn in the clubhouse post match, Dave Quantrill picking up the top prize with number 5 and Will Fell landing both secondary wins with numbers 24 and 10.