A crowd of 119, including a large and friendly contingent from Bungay and groundhoppers from as far afield as Eastbourne, saw Henley bow out of the Senior cup in a penalty shootout, following a competitive 90 minutes which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Henley started well, playing some neat passing football and dominating the early play. Van Oene came close to giving Henley the lead after 19 minutes, but his left foot strike hit the foot of the post with the keeper beaten. Bungay couldn’t keep Henley out for much longer though and on 33 minutes the home side took the lead that their play had deserved, Bruce scoring with a well-directed header from a Tejano cross to make it 1-0. Minutes later the Bungay keeper made a terrific save to tip over a fierce shot from White.

Sadly the match took a turn for the worse for Henley at this point when they lost influential Skipper and centre half Storey to injury and were forced into a reshuffle. Bungay had their 1st real opportunity of the game shortly after, Spurling diving athletically to catch a free kick, seeing the score remain 1-0 at HT

Bungay came out clearly pumped up for the 2nd half and looked a much stronger proposition, applying pressure to Henley from the off. The makeshift home defence digging deep to repel waves of attacks. However at the other end the visiting keeper again proved the hero as he dived to tip round a curling effort from Ablitt.

As the game progressed Bungay were pinning Henley back into their own half, a series of corners applying the pressure, with only 10 minutes remaining Spurling made a great block, the rebound struck back and striking the top of the bar. The brave Henley defence was finally breached after 84 minutes, Spurling adjudged to have fouled whilst coming out to clear and Shreeve scoring the resulting penalty to bring the scores level at 1-1. Bruce came achingly close to winning the game in the 93rd minute, his shot on the turn flashing millimetres wide of the post, but it wasn’t to be and the game descended to the lottery of a penalty shootout. The Bungay keeper saving two to Spurling’s one, seeing the visitors progress to semis with a 3-4 victory on penalties.

View full imagery of the game by visiting; https://lbannisterphotography.pixieset.com/henleyathleticfcvsbungaytown/

Henley didn’t take advantage of their 1st half dominance, failing to extend their lead whilst in control of the game, despite which, prior to the enforced reshuffle, they were flying, the midfield of Van Oene, Cowan and Tejano setting the tempo, Tejano just coming out on top in the MOTM vote. But all credit must go to Bungay, they never gave up, not even for a second, their workrate, commitment and sheer determination found them a route back into the game and after 90 minutes a draw was certainly a fair result. Penalties are always a heartbreaking way to exit a competition, but we wish Bungay good fortune in the remainder of the competition. They should perhaps feel bolstered by the fact that in the last three seasons, we’ve been knocked out by the eventual winners of this competition.