Saturday 26th January, Another big game arrives at the Finchampstead home ground, Henley Hotspur. Previous form suggests this could be a win for the Rovers but in a division where results and performances yoyo, it’s a hard one to call.
Again, a good turn out by the fans, even though due to the previous massive home support, the local whatever they are, whoever they are, have enforced parking restrictions to try and quell the enthusiastic supporters. What a load of Ar……madillo’s!
Sorry rant over, back to the job in hand.
The teams are ready and off we go.
A cagey start, Rovers are looking a little slow. Henley attack down the left, I think the defence are still half asleep, a shot low to Luke’s left and it’s in! Oh, that’s really not good, where were the Rovers. “Come on boys, wake up” cry the home supporters.
Off we go again, this is better. Good crisp passing gives Lucas C space to play out wide to George who whips in a cross from the right but Bunny hits high. More pressing from the Rovers and they’re beginning to create more with Sam F, Lucas, George and Jake Mc linking well in midfield. Henley press back but the defence have woken up now and Sam T, Oliver, Jake M and Lucas S are snuffing out any chances.
Suddenly Jake M burst out of defence charges up field leaving Henley players in his wake. He makes it to the edge of the penalty area and dinks a pass inside but unfortunately the rest of the team couldn’t get up there in time. Great run.
The Henley attackers are really quick and they’re stretching the Rovers defence but the shock of the early goal has injected them with extra pace and there’s no way through.
Another Rovers attack and Bunny receives the ball wide on the right. He passes inside to Sam F who perfectly pops the ball across to Lucas C, he thumps a powerful shot goalward. The keeper dives and gets a touch but there’s just too much power on the shot and it’s in. 1-1.
Henley immediately come back and force a corner but it’s volleyed over. Again, they attack and Sam T miss-times a tackle, ouch! Free kick. Luckily it’s put wide.
It’s that man again, Jake M storms out of defence and makes it down the left, he crosses and Ajay just can’t put the ball away.
Half time. This is a nervous performance from the Rovers.
The second half is under way and in no time the Henley midfield are getting stuck in with two strong challenges on Jake M and Sam F. Henley really appear to be up for this game and are closing down much quicker than the Rovers.
Henley break through with a pin point accurate pass, a good low shot but Luke makes a great save.
Rovers press, they’re keeping the ball better, Alfie on the left and Leo on the right are linking well with the central midfield duo of Sam F and Lucas C.
The minutes’ tick by and Henley are winning more and more balls, “Come on Rovers, you’ve got to want this.” The home supporters are feeling uncomfortable. There’s more and more pressure on the Rover defence, then it happens. Sam T makes one challenge, then another and another, he’s over run and Henley break though and they’re in, goal. 1-2.
Rovers don’t give in though, they keep linking the passes together and start to get a few chances but nothing to trouble the Henley keeper. Ajay produces a skilful overhead kick which land s at Georges feet but the shot goes wide.
Another speedy attack from the Henley midfield sends players into the box, smash! Luke saves. Crash! Again Luke saves. Absolutely brilliant goalkeeping. It was as if there were three of him in goal at once. That’s kept the Rovers in the match for sure.
Henley come again, quick ball through and the shot flies towards the far post but with the grace of a leaping gazelle, Luke just tips the ball wide. Top draw save!
More end to end play but the Rovers just can’t create any real clear cut chances.
The final whistle blows, it’s over. First defeat of 2019.
Unfortunately, the Rovers were just not competitive enough today and congratulations go to Henley for a deserved hard fought victory.
FINCHAMPSTEAD ROVERS 1-2 AFC HENLEY HOTSPUR