The assembled crowd of 83 were treated to a proper full blooded cup tie, Henley dominating for at least 80 minutes, but forced to hold out against a brave and resolute Haughley comeback in the latter stages, to make it through to the semis.

Once again this week, Henley were compelled to alter their starting line up, with Storey, Shore, Van Oene and Field all unavailable, through injury, suspension and absence.

Both sides were on the attack from the start, Haughley wasting a great opportunity, blazing over the bar, after some good interplay after 10 minutes. But it was Henley who took the lead after 14 minutes, Watling rising highest to head home Ablitt’s corner for 0-1.  On 22 minutes it was 0-2, Tejano allowed to stroll through from midfield unchallenged, to fire home from just outside the box. Henley were rampant now, and on 24 minutes it was 0-3, a terrific cross from Cole, netted at the back post by Watling. Only a fine save denied Watling a first half hat trick, whilst at the other end, Haughley kept creating chances, but couldn’t find a finish, leaving it 0-3 at the break.

Haughley pressed from the off, forcing Spurling into a fine save after 50 minutes. But on 58 minutes Henley extended their lead to 0-4, a Tejano bullet header from a Bruce corner, leaving the home keeper helpless. With a full fixture calendar forthcoming the Henley managers rang the changes, substitutes Hammond and Hillyard coming on to get some minutes in their legs after returning from long term injuries, Deb also entering the midfield. A promising club debut too, for young defender Joseph Collins, recently signed from East Bergholt.

Too their credit, as in our other two fixtures this season, Haughley never dropped their heads for a minute and were rewarded with a well hit goal from the edge of the area from Skinner to make it 1-4 after 62 minutes. Watling and Hillyard were both denied by some good goalkeeping, but Haughley were creeping back into the game, In the 88th minute, they pulled another back with a fine drive from McPhillips to make it 2-4, with what at the time seemed little more than a consolation. However some sloppy play gifted Haughley a 90th minute 3rd, Breadman heading home to make it 3-4. Leaving Henley to hang on for the win as the home side charged forward in time added on.

Although, we made it unnecessarily complicated for ourselves, Henley dominated this game for large periods, Watling winning the Ultra’s MOTM vote, not only for his goals but for his work rate and commitment. Although Haughley would probably disagree, Cowan ran him close, competing for everything and managing to annoy all and any in black and white, a mention too for Tejano, as controlled and dynamic as ever, and for Bull, who again excelled in his new found role.

I seem to have written this twice before this season, but Haughley’s play, at least against us, belies their lowly position. Always looking to pass the ball and play the right way, with a a top finisher they’d cause any team problems.