Unbeaten streak interrupted by Binfield
By Luke Edwards
Windsor's Stag Meadow played host to the end of season final of the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup and the crowd were treated to a fiercely competitive fixture, as both sides were keen to get their names on this piece of silverware.
The travelling Blue Army may be forgiven for exuding confidence, heading into the game off of the back of clinching the Hellenic League Premier Division and a 40 game unbeaten run, but Binfield were keen to show that there were two sides in this match and were the better value in the opening exchanges.
Number 11 Commock Sanchez caused a panic at the back for us, attempting to squeeze between Tom Browne and Chris Rackley, with the shot-stopper blocking with his feet to snuff out the danger.
We were dominating possession but struggling to find that killer instinct, with a penetrating run and shot from Michael Miller and a free-kick from Shane Cooper-Clark failing to trouble the keeper, the latter prompting shouts for a penalty as the ball seemed to strike an arm on its way past the wall.
Binfield took the lead on 15 minutes through Sanchez who headed home following good work by Carlo Santori to find space and put a cross in.
We started to press for an equaliser with Gavin James forcing a save down to the keeper's right before Cooper-Clark winded Henry Craven, the Binfield stopper, arriving at pace to thump an effort goalbound after good work by Jemel Johnson to beat his man and deliver a cross.
Moments later we earned a free-kick which Browne hit on target to force a save before Johnson put a cross to the far post which Cooper-Clark headed over.
We were left outraged shortly after as Cooper-Clark exchanged a one-two with Gavin James, collecting the ball when through on goal, however the referee failed to play advantage and brought play back for an infringement against James. Browne delivered the free-kick but James couldn't convert.
Into the second half and we continued in our quest for a goal, hitting the bar on 50 minutes when Cooper-Clark made space near the corner of the area and bent a curling effort beyond the keeper.
Binfield immediately doubled their lead as Sanchez dribbled inside, evading defensive challenges, and smashed into the top corner.
Manager Danny Robinson made an attacking substitution by sending on centre forward Ross Cook for winger Johnson and it almost paid off as the sub hit a dipping left-footed half volley from the left flank that just missed the far post after Rackley had kept Binfield out at the other end with a diving save to his right from Sean Moore.
We set up camp in Binfield's final third but were struggling to carve out clear-cut chances as Binfield defended their lead resolutely and it was looking destined not to be our night until we won a penalty on 86 minutes to give us hope. Cooper-Clark stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick via the post and setup a frantic end to the match.
We threw the kitchen sink at the Moles, who posed a threat on the counter attack, but it came to nothing as the final whistle went and Binfield celebrated ending our 40 match unbeaten streak to win the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup.
This was Binfield's final game of the season, whereas we now look ahead to facing Bracknell Town in the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup final, also at Windsor's Stag Meadow, on Monday May 7th at 3pm.