United moved to within two points of leaders Wokingham & Emmbrook courtesy of a second half comeback victory over Henley Town that included yet another Jake Lovell hat-trick
The visitors from Henley started the game well and after just six minutes James King intervened as Casey Warwick shot for goal, his deflection looping the ball over Alex Tokarczyk but thankfully over the goal too. Daniel Wishart then fired one across the bows for United before a straight pass through the heart of the United defence saw Henley top scorer Ben Jennings race forwards and toe the ball past Tokarczyk to give his side an early lead.
United moved forwards immediately in an effort to bring the game level. Jake Lovell saw a free-kick gathered at the second attempt by Henley keeper Nathan Silver. Just three minutes later Silver twice kept his side ahead in a matter of seconds. Firstly, Wishart crossed from the left to Lovell, he controlled the ball and shot from six yards only to see Silver push his shot around the post. The resultant corner was only partially cleared to Joakim Ehui and his drive looked destined for the top corner but for a superb fingertip save from Silver.
The game then became a little muddled in the middle of the park as neither team could string together anything that put the opposition defence under pressure until the 34th minute when Jennings broke away on the left and fed the ball inside to Adam Jeffrey, his shot being well held by Tokarczyk.
Henley came close to going in two up at the break when a stoppage time punt forwards found Warwick but his shot was just wide of the far post.
I am not sure what words were spoken by coach Greg Woodcock at the break but it was a more cohesive performance after the break, an equaliser within 60 seconds would no doubt have helped though. Wishart racing away down the left before firing a low cross that found its way past Silver courtesy of Lovell’s deft touch.
From this moment on it was United all the way as Tokarczyk became a lonely figure in the home goal. Just four minutes had been played since the equaliser when United were awarded a penalty as Silver brought down Lovell inside the area. Skipper Abdula Nsubuga stepped up and comfortably beat Silver to give United a lead that looked a long way off at the break.
With the momentum in United’s favour it was a case of chances coming and going before two late Lovell strike’s completed the scoring. Ehui was just wide with a header from Wishart’s centre and Wishart himself was then twice denied by Silver from close range within a few seconds as the ball was scrambled wide to safety.
Wishart and Josh Andrew both fired wide of the target before Silver was again on hand to deny United a third when he pushed a Lovell shot around the post on 76 minutes. Three minutes remained and Wishart saw Silver again in the way as the keeper pushed his drive wide of the far post.
Silver was finally beaten again two minutes from time as Ehui slid the ball nicely inside to Lovell and he coolly slotted under the Henley keeper’s dive. Less than sixty seconds later Lovell again received the ball on the edge of the Henley area, and once again his finish was assured as he completed his hat-trick.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Website United Man of the Match: Joakim Ehui.