No hiding place for Henley Athletic as title goes to wire

Henley Athletic and Mark Storey (red shirt) missed the chance to win the title last weekend.

Henley Athletic and Mark Storey (red shirt) missed the chance to win the title last weekend.

Henley Athletic boss Sean Brown has urged his players to finish the job off tomorrow by lifting the SIL Senior Division title for the very first time.

Athletic had the chance to wrap up the championship last week, only to suffer a surprise 2-1 home defeat to former Division One rivals Bramford United.

That, coupled with Achilles’ 3-1 win at Wenhaston in midweek means that Henley – two points clear of Luke Hillyard’s team – can be caught.

Henley host third-top Cranes and must win as Achilles, who are two points behind and entertain Haughley United, have a far superior goal difference.

“I say to my players that these are the types of occasions they play football for and they must embrace the situation,” said Brown.

“There is no hiding place for them and we will be looking to do the business against Cranes as I expect Achilles to beat Haughley.”

With Ipswich Town away from home on Sunday and the Thurlow Nunn and Ryman Leagues having finished, a sizeable crowd is expected at Henley, which will add to the drama.

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“I fully expect a bumper crowd for the game, we broke our home record last week when 159 people came and watched and I would imagine there would be an increase on that tomorrow,” Brown added.

A title victory for Henley would cap off a remarkable year for the team who were only promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history last season.

It won’t be easy though against the current Senior Division champions, who can only finish the season third and lost the Suffolk Senior Cup final last Sunday to Achilles.

“They are proud people at a big club and they won’t want to be part of a day where the other team are enjoying themselves and winning the league,” Brown explained.

“They will be reeling after their last two results as well so they will be well up for the game.”

On last weekend’s defeat to Bramford, Brown added: “I felt like we messed up last week against Bramford. We always knew it was going to be tough against them, but we did not represent ourselves as we should have done.

“They played very well and we were below-par, but we said at the start of the season, tongue-in-cheek, that we’d like to having something to play for on the final day and that’s happened.”