With frozen pitches causing postponements elsewhere, a bumper crowd of 133 saw Henley come back from a dreadful 1st half performance, to snatch a point in time added on, against an impressive Haughley.

The visitors started strongly, attacking from the off, and but for some profligate finishing they could easily have been 2 up within the opening 10 minutes, they also hit the woodwork after 20 minutes with the goal gaping. As it was, they had to wait until the 27th minute for the goal their dominance deserved, Henley were caught on a rare foray upfield, a quick ball forward releasing Garcia, whose crisp finish left Dixon powerless for 0-1. Another good Haughley move, saw them hit the post on 40 minutes, when once again it looked easier to score.

As it was though, Haughley would eventually rue these missed chances, as they could’ve easily gone in at HT three goals to the good. Henley meanwhile had looked a shadow of themselves, off the pace and unable to get their passing game going at all, as the half came to a close.

A game of two halves, is an oft used football cliché, but certainly one that qualifies for inclusion in this report today, whatever was said in the dressing room at HT clearly had an effect, as it was a very different Henley that came out for the 2nd half.

Passing and pushing forward from the off, Henley started to control the ball and create chances, Field heading just wide after 53 minutes. Haughley saw themselves reduced to 10 men after 60 minutes when Vincent received his 2nd yellow of the game. On 66 minutes Henley got the equaliser that their ever-increasing pressure deserved, Ablitt cutting in, beating his man and curling into the corner for 1-1. On 75 minutes a truly miraculous stop from Lynn in the Haughley goal, to save from Tejano at close range, stopped Henley increasing their lead.

As is so often the case in football, when one side is pushing hard for a winner, they find themselves caught out at the other end, and on 78 minutes Henley suffered that fate. Garcia, whose close control and retention, had superbly provided Haughley with a pressure relief valve all afternoon, was adjudged to have been clipped just outside the area. McPhillips stepping up to crash in a fine freekick off the underside of the bar to give the visitors a 1-2 lead.

Yet once again this season, it left Henley needing to show their character to get something out of the game, a triple substitution, with Van Oene, Shore and Bull coming off the bench, all combining to provide the impetus required. Henley were swarming forward now, Bruce hitting the post after 85 minutes. Haughley hearts were finally broken in the 92nd minute, a whipped in cross from Van Oene, poked home at the back post by Field forcing the equaliser as the game finished 2-2.

Haughley will feel distraught not to have taken all 3 points in this game, with more clinical finishing, they could’ve been out of sight at the break. They were a much improved side, especially in comparison to the team we battered 1-8 earlier in the season. They were committed and worked hard for each other throughout, Garcia, clearly their standout player today though, quick, strong and very skilful, they’ve unearthed a real talent there.

As for Henley, the 1st half performance was simply inexplicable and so out of sorts, again leaving us in a position where a 2nd half rescue mission was required. But, on the plus side, the character, will and depth of squad was enough to see us grab a point, albeit that the supporters blood pressure would be reduced if we could do it for 90 minutes please lads? Ablitt won the Ultra’s MOTM vote, in addition to his goal, he was our best player on the day, however it was great to see cameos from both Shore and Van Oene as they make their way back to fitness, when injuries have seen them unable to start of late.

A word of praise for referee Moir and his team, a competitive game, with a lot of tackles flying in, from both sides, nothing nasty, but it did need considered management and he certainly provided that.