A crowd of 67 saw Henley battle their way past a competitive and committed Kirton to reach the quarter finals. Despite dominating possession and restricting Kirton to minimal chances, the visitors were in the match right up until the 90th minute.

Kirton’s enthusiasm for this match was obvious from the first whistle, but it was Henley who were in control from early on, taking a 1-0 lead with a fine free kick from Van Oene, beautifully placed into the bottom corner after 18 minutes. Henley continued on the front foot, but were held by a well organised Kirton defence, who threw themselves in the way of anything. Van Oene came close again on 40 minutes, another freekick beating the keeper, but this time coming back off the crossbar to safety. Kirton had their best chances of the game just before the break, with a goalmouth scramble cleared by Tejano and a header from the subsequent corner flashing narrowly wide. The score remaining 1-0 at HT.

Kirton started the second half brightly, clearly pumped up after a half time team talk, but the Henley defence held firm and dealt with every attack. Henley continued to have the majority of possession and on 61 minutes Kirton keeper Stewart dived to his right to tip round a cheeky effort from Van Oene. Kirton’s day got a lot harder after 70 minutes, their number 11 seeing a straight red for a silly stamp, reducing them to 10. Things looked even worse after 74 minutes, Ablitt felled in the box and the referee pointing to the spot, but once again Stewart was the visitor’s hero, guessing right and diving to save Bruce’s penalty.

To their credit, Kirton kept pushing, looking for a way back into the game, but in doing so left spaces at the back. Van Oene took advantage, but his low drive came back off the foot of the post in the 88thminute. Henley finally put the game to bed in the 90th minute, a clever ball from Bruce finding Cole who made no mistake with a superb finish from the edge of the area, the absolute definition of “Top Bins” to make the final score 2-0.

Kirton are worthy of plenty of praise, well organised, committed and combative, they played football in the right manner throughout, their keeper Stewart had an exceptional game and handled well all match. All at Henley wish Kirton well in their quest for promotion, they’ll certainly be a credit to Division One.

A depleted Henley weren’t at their best today, but their organisation and passing game saw them through, with the midfield firmly in control Van Oene and Tejano both had terrific games, but it was Cowan who pipped them to win the Ultra’s vote for MOTM.