Binfield Chargers took on Spencers Wood, a tough opponent doing well in the league, in a midday kick-off. The pitch was a little wet from the amount of rain we’ve had, but conditions were generally favourable for a good game of football, which we certainly got. With first-choice keeper, Ethan out due to concussion, Tommy “the cat” Spender stepped in admirably between the sticks.
Spencers Wood started the brighter, with their centre forward causing the Charger’s defence all sorts of problems. They looked hungrier, with the Chargers on the back foot during most of the opening 10 mins. Our defence struggled to clear the lines, and when we did get the ball forward it tended to go out for a throw, goal kick or otherwise intercepted. The first wake-up call was Spencers getting the ball in the back of the net with a great piece of play down the right, only for the goal scorer to be a foot offside.
A wake-up call Binfield seemed to ignore. A few mins later a very loud alarm call came – after some pressure down the right, Chargers gave away a soft penalty. Tommy and Nathan had a chat and decided just to pick a side to dive to, and fortunately, Tommy guessed right and produced an inspired save, pushing the ball onto the post and rebounding across the goal like a pinball. Fortunately, Edward responded quickest and got to the ball before a Spencers Wood player cleared it.
After this point, it looked like we were finally getting out-of-bed, but not yet washed and dressed. The Chargers looked a little more dangerous in midfield and were getting more time in their half. However, we still just couldn’t seem to string more than a few passes together, Spencers Wood were pressing hard and more physically in the 50/50s.
At around 17 mins, a long ball out from the back landed favourably for their pacey left winger, who was calm on the ball and drove into the box, forcing a save on his first shot and then scoring from the rebound. A well-taken goal and one Chargers can learn from as was defendable.
Fortunately for Binfield, it was early in the game and despite all their earlier pressure, it was the only goal of the 1st half. The Binfield players didn’t panic, and from then on things started to click. The defence had started to work out the powerful, pacey striker and the direct style of Spencers Wood. Nathan was a good match physically for the striker and started to get the better in their ongoing battles. The Binfield midfield started to retain the ball bringing the forwards into the game. The Spencer Wood keeper suddenly had work to do and made several important saves. At this point in the half, it looked a lot better for the Chargers….
The second half started much as the first had ended, with a much more evenly contested game. Chargers were playing some nice football, passing it around, moving, and finding space. Now it was the turn of the Spencers defence to work the change in the Chargers attack. Wilson was increasingly troubling his marker, buzzing around quickly on the turn and drawing the fouls. Down the centre, Leo and Dhruv started winning there 50/50s. Elbie and Callum down the left brought so much-needed bite in the tackle, which lifted the team. Spencers Wood seemed to have lost some of their swagger, however, still looked dangerous on the counterattack.
As the half wore on, you just got the sense that a goal was coming and that it was more likely from a red shirt, as Binfield were putting passes together with more purpose.
In the final 10 minutes, the Chargers really started to put pressure on, reversing what the first 15 mins were from Spencers Wood. You could see Gill was getting increasingly problematic down the left, jinking it around and crossing into the box – Josh was doing the same down the right. Leo playing in a more forward role was proving a handful, being a recipient of several great crosses and getting shots on target. This didn’t stop Spencers from looking dangerous, but our defence had become a wall, frustrating our opposition.
The breakthrough finally came 5 mins before time. Under increasing pressure, Dhruv’s head from a goal kick to Wilson’s feet who switched player to Gil who fired home an outstanding shot. Finally, a goal and well deserved! It would have felt like a gut punch to Spencers Wood 1-1.
Chargers didn’t want just a draw and were pushing for a winner. A minute later Dhruv – who’d been outstanding winning ball after ball – won another and drove it up the pitch, releasing just before being clattered. The referee rightly played on, Wilson jinxed past around a number of defenders, but probably couldn’t believe his luck that everyone stood off him, leaving him to fire into the bottom corner. 2-1 Chargers!
If the first goal was a punch, the second would have felt like a knock-out blow to Spencers Wood who had played a great game. But it was just the turnaround the Chargers needed in fortunes, with two goals in the last five minutes, marks a great victory and one that will live long in the memory!
Final Score 2-1 – Binfield Chargers. MOTM – Nathan. With special mentions to Tommy “The Cat” and a battling Elbie
Report by Ben Churchill