Date Published: Saturday, March 10th 2012
Cheltenham Saracens .........3
Rhodes (pen 25), Crossley 32, 52
Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division - 10th March 2012
The Moles recent performances have taken on a real Jeckyl and Hyde look, with gritty, determined cup form sandwiched by indifferent or awful league performances.
Three of the last four home league matches have now been lost - two of those to sides in the bottom five as the matches started, with visitors finding it far too easy to breach the Moles defence.
Binfield were missing influential captain, Garry Callaway and top scorer, Ian Davies from last Tuesday's match. But the manner of defeat was disappointing as all three Saracens goals were avoidable. Afterwards manager Mark Tallentire promised to make changes to his defensive line up for Monday's match at home to Shrivenham.
Saracens pressed from the start, although there was little to choose between the sides in the early exchanges. And despite some good pressure on Binfield's goal, the Moles held firm and had the first clear chance on 15 minutes. Carl Davies headed a far post corner back to the edge of the 6 yard box, but Mike Hancock scuffed his volley, when a good connection could well have hit the net.
On 25 minutes, Saracens had the lead from the penalty spot. Dan Weait clattered into Carl Griffiths from behind going for a high ball and Mike Rhodes converted.
But within a minute, the Moles were given a lifeline when their best passing move of the match ended with Jos Millar's cross being headed over keeper Tim Griffiths by the unfortunate Sam Slender and into the far corner.
Far from taking advantage though, the Moles gifted the lead back 5 minutes later, when some sloppy passing just outside their box saw Andy Crosskey played into the box and he lifted the ball over Dan Weait for a simple goal.
Before half time, the Moles improved. A Carl Davies header was pushed over and Millar twice came close when he was narrowly beaten to a header before a shot from an angle was held by Griffiths.
Clearly boosted by their half time talk, the Moles came out quickly in the second half. But Saracens pressed back quickly and only a last gasp block between Steve Nebbett and Dan Weait thwarted Griffiths.
With 52 minutes gone, more calamitous defending by the Moles gifted Crosskey his second, as a mix up with a regulation high ball left him to volley over the stranded defence and into an unguarded net.
That finally sparked Binfield into action and chances to get back into the match started to come. Steve Nebbett drove forward and had his shot brilliantly blocked by Slender after a neat one-two with Carl Withers. From the corner, Nebbett again had a chance to shoot, this time narrowly over the bar.
On the hour a high ball into the box was headed on by Carl Davies and after beating Griffiths to the ball, James Suarez' tlast half hour.
The remainder of the match was all Binfield, as three youth team players were brought on and made a difference. Jordan Rowland had a lively half hour on the left and Jake Butler made some good touches in midfield.
With ten minutes left, Josh Tighe came on for his Binfield debut up front as the Moles left three at the back. And Tighe made life difficult for the Saracens tiring defenders and came within a whisker of scoring when he was first to a bouncing ball, which he lifted over Griffiths, but saw Saracens Lorcan Sheehan chase back and brilliantly clear from under the cross bar.
Despite several other chances, including a great diving header from Mike Hancock that hit Griffiths on the line, Saracens held on to their 3-1 lead.
The Moles have a quick chance to put this one behind them, when they host Shrivenham in Hellenic Premier Division action on Monday night - 12th March, kick off 7.45pm.
BINFIELD; Weait, Whitty, Jamil (Tighe J 80), Shone (capt), Hancock, Withers (Butler 74), Millar (Rowland 65), Nebbett, Suarez, C Davies, Wing. Sub not used; Tighe (S)