Match report: Binfield first past the post

A well drilled Binfield side take 3 deserved and vital points, with goals late in each half

This evening’s fixture is Rovers’ away game against Binfield, hosted at the Ascot Racecourse Stadium, home of Ascot United. After 2 postponed games, the league insisted that the it gets played this week, and due to the recent persistent rain and Binfield’s beleaguered pitch, our opposition agreed to moving the fixture a few miles east. Home advantage or not, Binfield will be looking to reduce the gap between themselves and those just above the drop zone, which with 4 games in hand is eminently possible. Rovers’ ambition will be to take the three points, which will guarantee Step 4 football for them next season at their new home in Carshalton – so, if there was ever a face-off, this is it!

Rovers’ line-up is again affected by player availability. In goal, Sam Roberts; Defence, Gideon Acheampong, Cameron Sullivan, Antonio Simeone and Oscar Williams; Midfield comprises of Max Oldham, Tyrese Osbourne, Lindell Stewart, Ben Holden and Ashley Sheppard, with Aaron Jenkins as striker. On the bench, Samuel Marks, Noah Africa, Ronaldo Ashman and Louie Erotokritos Staussi.

Rovers appeared the more sprightly of the two sides in the early exchanges, Max Oldham keeping Binfield’s Clyde Ikpo Ondo on his toes. Good distribution from Sam Roberts finds Aaron Jenkins in the middle of the park who sends Oldham down the left flank. Showing his speed, Oldham gets round his man, and delivers a long cross to Gideon Acheampong on the far right. Drilling the ball into the penalty area, Acheampong finds Tyrese Osbourne, but at full stretch Osbourne was unable to get a clean contact and the ball was sent wide.

Further pressure from Rovers from a good interception from Ben Holden, setting up a smart one-two between Ashley Sheppard and Oldham, wins a throw on the right. Holden’s throw finds Sheppard who passes down the line to Lindell Stewart. Weaving his way into the box, Stewart’s route is blocked but wins the corner. Oldham’s near post take is bundled away, Antonio Simeone’s pass back to Oldham given as offside. All intents and purposes, Rovers were showing their intent early one, Binfield happy to soak it up.

As the half continued, Rovers felt an opportunity was coming. A through ball from Sheppard for Jenkins was just too long, Killian Barrett in the Binfield goal getting to it first. A series of long throws from Holden were dealt with by the hosts, but Rovers were close to finding a chink in their armour. On the half hour, they thought they’d found it when Oscar Williams was brought down in the box, again from a Holden throw, but the appeal was waved away.

From a Rovers corner, Binfield catch the visitors on the break, Dontaye Whittaker making use of the space on their left. His pass to the edge of the box finds Ethan Lindo, but his strike was easily stopped by Roberts. In reply, Stewart makes a great block and bursts through midfield, passing wide to Jenkins on the right. Jenkins’ cross finds Oldham on the left but his shot is just wide.

Rovers continued to create chances up to the close of the first half, but the finishing touch was either not there or denied by good goal-keeping. Stewart maintaining pressure on the Binfield defence wins a throw, which Holden delivers far into the box. Williams heads on finding Oldham on the left, the cross whipped back in, the Rovers centre back drawing a great on-handed save from Barrett. Closest Rovers had come, but still not enough.

Just before the 45mins were up, Holden is cautioned for a trip in the middle of the park, which seemed a bit harsh based on the current mood of play. The free kick though, taken by Barrett, is punched clear by Roberts. Two minutes into added time a Binfield cross from the left is blocked by a high boot, leaving a player from each side on the turf. At first it was unclear what the Referee had awarded, but soon became apparent – penalty to Binfield. After a short delay, while players were treated, Mitchell Parker steps up and dispatches his kick to the bottom right, sending Roberts the other way. Binfield go into the break with a goal advantage.

From the restart Binfield win an early corner on the right hand side. Luke Wayborn’s delivery is flicked on by Whittaker, but Parker puts his shot over the bar. Opportunities were falling to both sides in pretty much even doses, but Binfield were increasing in confidence, and frustration creeping into Rovers’ game.

After 55mins, an interception by Holden puts Rovers on the front foot. laying off to Simeone, the Rovers centre-back driving the ball into the Binfield 18yd box. The header out falls to Jenkins, but his powerful shot is held by Barrett. The tables turned, and Binfield win a free kick on their right. Taken quickly their first shot from Wayborn is blocked, the tap-in from Whittaker disallowed for off-side.

Sensing the 3 points are there for the taking, Binfield up their game. A great free kick is headed back across the Rovers penalty area by Wayborn, only for the Whittaker’s strike to be put wide. Rovers’ still seeking to claw back the deficit have a Jenkins shot blocked, with Steward unable to reach the loose ball, and Williams heads over the bar from a Holden throw. Just after the hour, Samuel Marks replaces Osbourne for Rovers, and later Tyler D’Cruz replaced Lindo for Binfield.

Rovers second substitution sees Noah Africa come on for the industrious Sheppard, and is immediately involved in the action. From the left side, a great delivery from Oldham is headed clear, and from a full 25yds Africa puts his laces through a terrific strike for his first touch, which had Barrett scrambling across his goal. Spilling the ball off his chest, the keeper just got to the ball first, before the incoming Jenkins.

Winning the ball in midfield, Africa finds Stewart who breaks into the box and passes on to Jenkins. Rounding his defender, Jenkins does well to keep his feet but was unable to turn to get his shot away. From a Holden throw-in, we had a shot’s from Simeone blocked, and another over the bar after a Williams had headed across the area. Nothing seemed to be going Rovers’ way.

In the 90+2 minute Rovers’ luck vanished without trace. Exploiting a mistake at the back, Tyler D’Cruz spots Roberts off his line and calmly lobs the Rovers keeper to extend their lead. 2-0 down and unlikely to find a way back from here, the added time ran down with a dispirited Rovers unable to find anything more.

Binfield played a patient game and did it well. May have been a bit fortunate with a penalty decision so late in the first half, but they made it count, and the second was opportunist, but sealed the win. Rovers, for all their effort and endeavour, were just not up to the task.