Match report: Rovers’ second half performance secure the points

With four goals in the second half, Rovers rescue a win from the unfortunate Binfield

Last season Binfield finished an impressive 6th in this league, a season where Rovers struggled to find any form, and just avoided relegation. Today our visitors are languishing at the foot of the table, and will be hungry to take something from the game. If our recent run of results are anything to go by, then that just may be a possibility.

The line-up this afternoon comprises of James Dillon in goal, Rylan John, Antonio Simeone, Bertie Lloyd and debut start for Tariq Straker as a back four. Midfield, Daryl Coleman, Matt Feeney-Hill, Courtney Swaby, Nabeel Ghannam and Aaron Jenkins, with Conan Torpey as striker. On the bench, Isy Nzelo, Lindell Stewart, Charlie Martin, Ben Holden retuning from suspension, and Ashley Sheppard, with Max Oldham still recovering from a head injury sustained in last week’s game.

The opening exchanges in the first half saw good pressure from Rovers, with positive build up play, and early chances which should have put them ahead. In the first minute, Nabeel Ghannam intercepts a pass out by Binfield keeper Harvey Rackley-Hayes, and floats a cross over to Conan Torpey. Torpey’s header wasn’t quite on target, but a positive start from the Rovers’ front line. Torpey then wins the ball on the edge of the Binfield penalty area, and plays a through ball to Matt Feeny-Hill down to the byline. Cutting inside, Feeny-Hill’s cross is met by Ghannam inside the six yard box, but his shot is somehow hoisted over the bar.

Binfield had their fair share of possession with Tarik Jouali, Rechan Esprit and the tall striker Manuchim Oke-William looking dangerous in and around the box. They were yet to test James Dillon, with Antonio Simeone, Bertie Lloyd and Daryl Colemen cutting out any threat. From a free kick to Rovers, keeper Rackley-Hayes clears to Jouali, who sets off Troy Murray on the right. Lloyd heads away the searching cross and Coleman clears the loose ball.

After Torpey steals the ball from a Binfield defender, playing out from the back, he backheels a delightful ball to Feeny-Hill, but the youngsters shot is saved by Rackley-Hayes, down to his left. On 22mins, a great move by Binfield’s Dontaye Whittaker finds Murray, who spreads the ball wide for Benjamin Stallard on the overlap. Stallard’s cross was punched away by Dillon, as far as Feeny-Hill, who was subsequently fouled by Daniel Roth, earning him a yellow card.

Again on the left Rechan Esprit and Liam Campbell link up well, the cross from Campbell is headed out by Lloyd, and the follow-up shot from Murray was blasted over the bar. It’s not until late in the first half that Binfield start finding their target. Esprit, once more, puts in a great cross to Oke-William in the box, his shot forcing a great point-blank save from Dillon. Our keeper is called into action a minute later, as Murray’s cross to the edge of the penalty area is met with a first-time shot by Jouali, Dillon pulling off a magnificent save to keep it out.

Just prior to the end of the half, Isy Nzelo is brought on, replacing Rylan John. We go into the break with Binfield perhaps feeling they have a chance here, and Rovers’ with a lot of thinking still to do.

The second half started with Binfield on the front foot. A clearance from keeper Rackley-Hayes drops between Simeone and Dillon, reaching their striker Oke-William in an onside position. The shot was drilled low, Dillon saving with his shins.

On 53mins, a good exchange between Nzelo, Coleman and Aaron Jenkins working into the box on the right, and after a great shot by Jenkins, Rovers win a corner, the keeper getting a touch. Swaby takes, Torpey heading across the box, but Rackley-Hayes claims and sends a long ball to Oke-William, his low cross into the penalty area finding Whittaker one-on-one with Dillon. With a cool head, Whittaker slots the ball past our keeper, giving Binfield the lead. If Dillon’s heroics weren’t enough of a wake-up call in the first half, going behind so early in second, definitely was.

As though spurred into a reaction, the balance was restored just three minutes later, with a blistering strike from Lloyd. A Swaby corner that was half cleared by Rackley-Hayes fell to our centre-back on the 6yard box, who volleyed it home with some venom. This signalled a step change for Rovers, who began to look like their former selves, commencing a period of entertaining and, most of all, productive football. Following our equaliser, Ghannam made a couple of mazy runs into the box, one shot blocked by the keeper, and another just past the post, almost as a prelude to our second goal. In the 63rd minute, Swaby chases down the Binfield defence, claiming possession and bursting down the left of the penalty area. Cutting his cross out to the D, Torpey forces a challenge by Connor Jeanes, the ball breaking to Ghannam. Side stepping his defender, Ghannam goes right, slotting the ball past the keeper for 2-1. A clinical strike and a great reward for his afternoon’s shift.

From the restart a cross from Binfield’s Murray out wide on the left, finds Whittaker who shoots on the turn outside the box, but Dillon makes a good save. Three minutes on, great play from Jenkins on the left sets Swaby off, baffling the Binfield defence once again. Swaby’s cross into the box was pinpoint to Feeny-Hill, who nodded home with great composure. His first goal for the first team and very well deserved. 3-1

In the 68th minute, Charlie Martin is brought on for the injured Torpey and for Binfield, Jimmy Bamgbose replaces Murray. Martin is then involved almost immediately, clearing away a Binfield corner, with the visitors looking to pull one back. With a glimmer of daylight now between the two sides, Rovers keep possession, frustrating Binfield by denying any further opportunities.

With 15minutes left, Ben Holden replaces the hard-working Coleman, Blesk Ekpenyong replaces Jouali for Binfield. The visitors were not rolling over in this game, and still felt there was time to get something from it. With less haste in front of goal, they may well have. A ball over the top of the Rovers defence finds Bamgbose with a clear chance, but his shot was mis-controlled, and ran harmlessly out for a goal kick.

Still with time left on the clock, Rovers still look to increase their lead. A great interception by Ben Holden just inside the Binfield half, gives another chance for Swaby to dazzle. His cross over the 18yard box is headed over the keeper by Martin, but the goal disallowed for an apparent offside.

Not a side for letting their heads drop, Binfield’s Bamgbose sends out a pass to Campbell in space on the left, his shot across goal just narrowly past the post.

With 2 minutes of normal time left, a clearance from Dillon is headed down for Jenkins with his back to goal. Turning, he curls his shot round the Binfield defence just inside the right hand post. 4-1 to the home side, and surely no comeback from here. In the dying minutes Nzelo provides through ball to Ghannam, who in turn finds Jenkins, drawing a terrific save from keeper Rackley-Hayes.

By the final whistle, Rovers got the game over the line on the strength of a much improved second half performance, turning a potential nightmare result into an emphatic win.