Another cup tie, another awayday and another win, Binfield’s remarkable run continues.
Last season they made it all the way to Wembley in the Buildbase FA Vase, now they are making steady progress in the FA Trophy.
Second-half goals by Callum Bunting and Ollie Harris from the penalty spot secured a hard-earned 2-0 win down by the sea at Herne Bay saw them through to the first-round proper.
Joint manager Carl Withers said: “I don’t know if it is about FA competitions or going away from home, but these lads find something to get them through tough cup ties.”
He accepted, however, it was not easy going against a side who play at the same level in the Isthmian League but in different divisions, with both currently occupying top five placings.
“In the first half, I think we showed them (Herne Bay) a bit too much respect. We were a bit too standoffish and allowed them to get their heads up and pick out passes. At times we were under a lot of pressure and perhaps a little fortunate to be level at half-time, you need to ride your luck at times,” commented Withers.
“But in the second half, we played on the front foot, dominated and took control of the game. We said at half-time we needed to get in their faces a lot more and we did just that. We played with great intensity in the second half, and when we play like that there are not many teams who can live with us. At the end of the day, we could have had three or four goals, but all that matters is getting through to the next round.”
That looked in some doubt at the MBS Stadium early in this third qualifying round tie as the Kent side were quickly into their stride, stringing good passes together and delivering dangerous balls into the Binfield area. And they would have taken an early lead but for a superb stop by keeper Chris Grace which, as it turned out, was by far the best save of the whole game.
Binfield defended well, but little was seen of their attack in the first half. They managed very few goal attempts with only Sean Moore managing to give home goalie Jordan Perrin something to do.
They had to make a change shortly before half-time when Ryan Parsons pulled his hamstring. He was replaced by Liam Tack with the substitute going to right-back, allowing Elliot Legg to revert to his normal role at left-back.
And Legg’s attacking qualities down the left flank featured prominently in the second half as the Moles turned the game in their favour.
Herne Bay didn’t look so threatening in attack as they had earlier in the game, and it was the visitors who looked a lot more dangerous.
A good move involving Tack, Bunting and Moore nearly produced a goal, the ball being hacked off the line and skipper Moore had another effort blocked when it looked destined for the back of the net.
They eventually secured the breakthrough on 72 minutes when, from Tack’s right-wing corner, Bunting rose highest at the far post to send a looping header over a defender on the line and into the net.
And 10 minutes later it was another Tack cross that led to the second goal. Bunting’s strike was handled in the area and Reion McFarlane was sent off before substitute Harris – who had replaced Helmore – fired his spot-kick low just inside the left-hand post.
Moments later, referee Graham Swanton decided to brandish the red card again, this time to Bay manager Ben Smith for foul and abusive language towards the officials.
This win earned the Hill Farm Lane club a further £2,450 to add to the £2,250 they received for beating North Leigh in the previous round. It will certainly help towards the cost of all these Binfield away trips.