Henley extended their lead at the top of the table in front of a crowd of 73 spectators, with a solid but hard fought 3-1 victory over a tough Tattingstone side. Once again injuries, suspensions and absences forced Henley into changes, with Storey, Shore, Van Oene and Cole all unavailable.

Henley looked the sharper early on, Tatt keeper Hender, forced into a smart stop from Bruce after 10 minutes. On 20 minutes Field dummied a through ball from Smythe, leaving Bruce through one on one, Hender bringing him down as he went to round him, Bruce making no mistake smashing home the penalty for 1-0. The Henley front line were putting the Tatt defence under pressure, Watling and Bruce in particular forcing errors and winning possession high up the pitch. With the exception of set pieces Tatt didn’t really create any chances of note to force a save from Spurling. Some big challenges were flying in from both sides and on 40 minutes Tatt were temporarily down to 10 with a sin bin. But the score remained 1-0 at HT.

Henley were straight on the attack after the break and increased their lead after 52 minutes, White releasing Bruce with a ball down the right, he fired in a cross along the six-yard box to Field, which was turned into his own net by a despairing Tatt defender for 2-0.  Henley came close to another shortly after, Field seeing his shot saved and Hammond blazing over from close range when it looked easier to score. Henley looked to have broken through Tattingstone another three times, but on each occasion, they were pulled back, by what can only have been the very tightest of offside decisions.

Tattingstone pulled one back after 72 minutes, Bell and Cowan combining to give away a penalty which, despite Spurling getting a hand to, was scored by Blow to make it 2-1. Tattingstone were lifted by this and piled forward, but were well held by the Henley defence. The visitor’s cause wasn’t helped when after 78 minutes they were reduced to ten when Baker saw a 2nd yellow card. Henley put the result beyond any doubt in the 95th minute, Ablitt crossing from the right to Field at the back post, he cushioned his header down to Bruce who smashed home from six yards to bring the final score to 3-1.

A good team performance from the whole squad saw the Ultra’s MOTM vote split between 7 players, Cowan’s dynamism yet again, seeing him come out on top. Bruce scored 2 and made 1, Ablitt was as tricky as ever, Tejano, Watling. Smythe and Bull all drew comment with their workrate and never say die attitude. We’re at that point of the season, where depth of squad is a major factor, and today showed the value of having a group of players totally committed to the club.

Tattingstone, once again, proved themselves to be hardy opponents, aggressive, bold and playing for each other for the entire game, Seward at centre half, much admired at Henley, again their stand out player.

A mention too for Mr Phair in the middle, neither side made it easy for him on the day, but he officiated in a calm and consistent manner, and most importantly appeared to thoroughly enjoy the experience.