Photo Credit: @WickhamMarketFC

A bumper, bank holiday crowd of 122 saw a rusty looking Henley fall to their 1st defeat of the season, going down 2-3 against an excellent Wickham Market, who on the day were fully deserving of their victory.

Wickham were quick out of the blocks applying early pressure and boxing a seemingly sluggish Henley into their own half. Indeed they limited Henley to only one early attempt, Hammond’s drive hitting the side netting as the home side struggled to find their rhythm. Wickham took the lead that their dominance deserved after 19 minutes, a thumping header from Parris into the top corner making it 0-1. Six minutes later it was 0-2, a good interchange saw Hamilton released, initially he looked offside, but was played on by the injured Van Oene on the floor, he picked his spot and shot home into the corner.

This did spark Henley into action, Watling’s deflected shot, well held by Wickham keeper Bolsover, as the home side finally applied a spell of pressure. Care was still required though, only a perfectly timed last ditch tackle from Storey prevented the visitors extending their lead. A succession of corners saw Henley pull a goal back, when in the 42nd minute, one of those corners was cleared to the edge of the box, where it was spectacularly volleyed into the top corner by Bruce, to bring the score to 1-2 at HT.

Henley looked much improved in the 2nd half, Bolsover again saving well from Field on 52 minutes and the ball being scrambled again to safety from the subsequent corner. After 60 minutes Bruce clipped the base of the post after a lifted ball from Field created the opportunity. But despite the added pressure, Henley couldn’t find an equaliser as Wickham dug deep and defended bravely. As is so often the case, as Henley pushed forward they were caught on the break, Kerridge with a peach of a finish making it 1-3 after 90 minutes. To their credit, Henley heads didn’t drop and they kept pressing, Cowan pulling one back after 95 minutes to make the score 2-3 and create a sense of déjà vu on the visiting bench. But there was to be no last minute comeback today and Wickham deservedly took the points with an excellent all round team performance, which demonstrated commitment, team work, effort and no little talent. A much changed side, from the one we played only a few weeks ago, a terrific MOTM showing from Kerridge the major difference between the two sides on the day.

Despite their sluggish start and the early loss of Van Oene to injury, Henley showed plenty of character and will, their heads never dropping, this was epitomised by the Ultra’s MOTM Cowan, whose workrate was superb. Thankfully we only have to wait 5 days for another chance to get back into action.

Congratulations to Wickham on a fine win, we wish them well for the remainder of the season.