Grace and Helmore see Binfield through in FA Vase




Binfield are through to the last 16 of the Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in their history, thanks to a brace from Josh Helmore and two penalty saves by keeper Chris Grace.

They kept their cool to beat Fakenham Town on Saturday, winning 4-1 on penalties after their fourth-round tie had ended level at 2-2, having come from behind on both occasions.

The mighty Moles will travel again – for the fourth successive round – to Barnet-based Hadley next Saturday when a place in the quarter-finals will be at stake.

Like they had at Deal the previous week, they soon found themselves trailing, but Helmore equalised before half-time.

The Norfolk hosts regained the lead on the hour, but two minutes later the in-form Helmore struck again, his third goal in two games.

Draws: Full Fifth Round draw | Full Quarter Final draw

Binfield's Kennie Chamberlain. Photo: Neil Graham /
Binfield’s Kennie Chamberlain. Photo: Neil Graham /

Playing against a side from a step lower, Binfield were made to work hard throughout the game, but they played the superior football and always looked better organised.

Ollie Harris, their two-goal hero in the 4-1 win at Deal and skipper Sean Moore were soon causing the Fakenham defence problems before they fell behind to a goal from Callum Brain goal after seven minutes with Binfield appealing for a foul in the build-up.

As they had done the previous week, the Moles responded well and were enjoying a decent spell when Helmore deservedly brought the scores level after 33 minutes from a chance brilliantly set up by Moore, who shortly afterwards wasn’t far away from heading them in front, only being denied by a smart save from keeper Tom Coombe.

Their momentum was maintained in the second half and it was against the run of play when they fell behind again on the hour mark. Grace failed to deal with a cross that bounced awkwardly and Brain took advantage to force the ball over the line. He had earlier hit the crossbar, so Binfield were probably relieved when the striker limped off with a tight calf.

This time, the Uhlsport Hellenic League side were behind for only a couple of minutes. Moore’s cross was headed back by George Short to Helmore, who brought the ball down on his chest and volleyed home from close range.Not long after, Helmore gave way to Josh Howell, and the Moles later sent on two more substitutes, their former striker Liam Ferdinand, an FA Vase winner with Thatcham, and his ex-Bracknell Town team-mate
Kensley Maloney.

Josh Helmore wheels away after scoring for Binfield. Photo: Neil Graham /
Josh Helmore wheels away after scoring for Binfield. Photo: Neil Graham /

Both had been signed on dual-registration forms some weeks ago before the competition resumed as at the time joint-managers Jamie McClurg and Carl Withers were concerned about the availability and fitness of
about five of their regular squad.

For the rest of the game, there were not too many scoring opportunities with physically stronger Binfield, who lasted the 90 minutes better than their opponents, looking the more likely to seal the victory.

The home team, nicknamed the Ghosts, were content to see out the rest of the game, happy in the knowledge they had won two previous ties in a penalty shoot-out. This time, however, they missed out as they managed to beat super-saver Grace only once – the second of his saves was brilliant – while Howell, Short, Moore and McClurg all made no mistake from the spot.

Chris Grace guesses right in the Fakenham Town v Binfield penalty shootout. Photo: Neil Graham /

So for the third successive week, the Moles are back on the road, this time to face Essex Senior League side Hadley, who booked their place in round five by beating Combined Counties League leaders Sutton Common Rovers 3-1 away last weekend.

Binfield’s league rivals Flackwell Heath are also still in the Vase, having beaten Lancing 4-2 on penalties after the tie had been drawn 1-1. Marcus Richardson’s men will be away to Plymouth Parkway this coming Saturday.

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