Hawks Men's 2s edge Henley 1s 3-2
16 March 2013, 12:00, Banbury Road North (Near)
Men's 2s 3 - 2 Henley Men's 1s
Saturday's game saw 1st place Hawks face up against 3rd place Henley in an important game for both sides - Hawks looking to get three points closer to securing the title, and Henley needing three points to have any hope of a playoff position.
The opening stages were frenetic, with neither side really settling on the ball. Uncharacteristically, Hawks' passing was found to be lacking and too many balls were going astray, which lead to an opening goal for Henley to take the lead via a Hawks defender's stick on the line.
This goal pushed Hawks on and they finally found some composure to build meaningful attacks against a slow Henley defence. The leveller came in emphatic fashion as a strong passing move saw Brownill play a one-two with Buckingham into the Henley D where Brownill hammered a first time slap into the netting past the goalkeeper.
With Hawks in the ascendency they were unlucky to take the lead shortly after their first goal, with a Burden short corner deflected wide in front of the line. However, from the resulting long corner, Buckingham drove at the Henley defence and delivered a reverse stick cross to '95 Hawks Player of the Year Baldock, who calmly touched the ball into the Henley goal.
Henley were next to strike, with Robinson again unlucky not to keep the ball out on the line, to take the scores in level at half time.
The second half was a cagey affair and both sides had opportunities to take the lead. Hawks looked threatening on the break, while Henley begun throwing players forward in a full press to put the home defence under pressure.
The breakthrough finally arrived late in the second half as the ball was played down the line for Man of the Match Buckingham to collect on the Henley 25 and run in along the byline, and then outfoxed the goalkeeper by slipping the ball in past his near post. Hawks then managed to keep the opposition at bay in the final stages to secure an important win for league leaders.
This win sees Hawks 2s go into the final two games with a four point lead on their nearest rivals, and in the knowledge that a win away against tricky relegation strugglers Slough 1s this Saturday will see them win the league.