Having originally thought that I would head to watch a friendly this weekend I actually found myself drawn by the lure of the FA Cup instead, but which match to watch? Binfield, Ascot United and Windsor had all been given home draws.
As I was going out in the evening Windsor was quickly discounted, then I discovered that Ascot were playing their fixtures away whilst the new 4G pitch is being laid, so the choice was narrowing fast!
That left me with the familiar trip to Hill Farm Lane to watch this intriguing encounter between the home side from Step 5 UHLSPORT Hellenic League Premier Division and their visitors from Step 6 Sydenhams Wessex League Division One. Although both sides were undefeated this season it was only the Moles who had won both their matches.
As the teams did their pre match warm ups the wind blew, the heavens opened and sun beat down. All at the same time! That was an indication of the conditions which this fixture would be played.
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The Moles created the first definite opportunity when a quickly taken free kick found Danny Horscroft and his ball into the box was only cleared to Joel Valentin, but his shot went well over Tom Price’s bar.
The visitors playing in their Barcelona inspired kit kept pressing, but were repeatedly caught offside by the well marshalled back four and so both defences held their own for the first half an hour.
Suddenly though both sides seemed to spring into action with Binfield going really close when Valentin hit a low cross into the box which James Knight flicked just over the bar, and then Tom Jeffes probably should have done better when rose unchallenged to head a lofted cross wide.
However soon after Jeffes made up for it when he got on the end of Josh Hazel’s inswinging free kick to tap the ball past Lyons and put USP 1-0 up on the 36th minute.
This seemed to spark Binfield into life as they looked to get back on terms before the half time whistle, and although it had a degree of fortune to it as Eddie Lee’s shot took a slight deflection to loop over the helpless Price they managed to do just that with virtually the last kick of the half.
Half time: Binfield 1-1 United Services Portsmouth
The visitors had the first chance of the second half when Cameron Quirke hit a shot from outside the area which Lyons saved to his right, before the Moles looked to convert half chances for James Knight, Asa Povey and Lee.
However a lofted ball to the edge of the area found Jeffes and he was allowed time to shoot and that shot squirmed through Lyons’s gloves into the back of the net to restore their lead on the 66th minute.
Josh Howell came off the bench and began to make a difference as he caused problems on the right hand side hitting a shot which Price had to tip wide, but this was a warning of what was to come soon afterwards when he drove a shot into the bottom left corner to bring things level at 2 – 2 on the 81st minute.
On the next attack shouts went up for an infringement in the visitor’s penalty area, but referee wasn’t moved.
Lyons was forced into making a save, but from his distribution the ball found its’ way to the feet of Josh Helmore and although Price saved his initial effort the ball rebounded to the striker and he made it 3 – 2 to Binfield with just 5 minutes to go. What a couple of inspired substitutions by Roger Herridge!
There was still time for USP to try and get a precious equaliser but Tom Cain hit his shot wide, and then cool heads took over as the home side played out the remaining time by retaining possession to progress into the next round where they will entertain Lymington Town.
Binfield: Lyons, Thomson Wheeler, Deadfield, Valentin, Gavion, Davies, Knight (Capt), McClurg, Lee (Howell 68th Min), Povey and Horscroft (Helmore 68th Min). Unused Subs: Chamberlain, Wheeler, Kamara, Shaw and Wright.
United Services Portsmouth: Price, Chandler (Morrison 74th Min ), Hazel, Cass, Birmingham, Cain, Quirke (Pile 70th Min), Hall, Jeffes(Capt), Ripenor, Sargeant (Stone 73rd Min). Unused Subs: Paige, Seldon and Tindall.