Red Kites Face Two Hard Away Games This Week

Henley Town face two away matches in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League this week, travelling to Lydney Town on Saturday for a 3p.m. kick-off and then to Ascot United on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45 p.m.

Though the draw they obtained against Highmoor Ibis last week was not enough to lift the Red Kites from the foot of the table, it does make their supporters more optimistic that they may yet vacate that position. The point gained was the first since Robbie Crouch took over as manager (though Henley have won as many as five cup games during that time), the clean sheet was their first in the league this season, three successive competitive matches have elapsed without a defeat for only the second time in 2016-17, and the possibility of a new record being set for successive league defeats has now evaporated.

On Saturday the Town make their longest journey of the season to take on Lydney Town in the Forest of Dean. It will be the first time Henley have ever made this trip, all three previous meetings between the sides having been at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle. The Town’s 2-1 home win over Lydney a month into the season was one of their best performances of the campaign.

Henley’s opponents on Tuesday are Ascot United. When Ascot won 5-2 at the Triangle in September, they looked a very good side, so it is rather a surprise to see them no higher than 13th in the table at present, but they have fallen away somewhat and lost 5-1 at home to Brimscombe and Thrupp last weekend. However, the recent installation of a new manager may prove the spur they need to revive their fortunes. Goalkeeper Matthew Hill, who played a number of good games for Henley before losing his place, has rejoined Ascot. Former Town player Richard Bennett is also on their books though he has recently been assisting Wargrave.

League leaders Buckingham Athletic gained ample revenge over Henley Town’s youth team last week for the Red Kites’ surprise victory on the Triangle, thrashing Henley 9-0. Buckingham scored in the first minute and were already 4-0 up by half-time. Henley were not helped by having to make a 50-mile journey in the rush hour, but five of their six remaining fixtures are at home. The youths have no game this week.

The reserves and Sunday team both had last week’s matches postponed because of unfit pitches. This weekend they both have home league games. On Saturday, the reserves meet Sandhurst Town Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m. Next morning, the Sundays meet Coley Park, kick-off 10.30 a.m.