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April 30 2018

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Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup Final

Binfield 2 Thatcham Town 1
Binfield were handsomely rewarded for doing their research on Sanchez Commock. The striker scored both goals as the Moles pulled off a shock 2-1 win over Buildbase FA Vase finalists Thatcham Town in the Hellenic League's Perpetua Press Cup final at Windsor on Monday.

Yet a couple of weeks ago they thought Commock was not qualified to play as he had been included in the Highmoor Ibis squad when they met Bracknell in the second round of the same competition last October. But club secretary Rob Challis checked the details of that match and discovered Commock had only been an unused substitute, so making him eligible for Binfield And the recent signing netted a brilliant brace to end the newly-crowned Hellenic champions' remarkable 40-match unbeaten run.

It was a victory Roger Herridge's men thoroughly deserved. They looked well-organized in defence and showed their usual combative spirit in midfield. Their forwards never found it easy going against a side boasting the best defensive record in the league, but they certainly did not make it easy for the Kingfishers' back four, where Bab Jarra stood out.

Chances were few and far between, but the Moles took full advantage of the one that came their way in the 16th minute. Sean Moore did superbly wideout on Binfield's right flank, twisting past his man before firing over a cross that the onrushing Commock met with a perfect header past keeper Chris Rackley.

It was a real boost for a side that had ended their league campaign with four straight defeats and were knocked out of the League Cup by Thatcham a month ago. The Kingfishers hit back and missed a couple of chances, while keeper Henry Craven made a fine save to deny Shane Cooper-Clark. At the other end, Moore forced Rackley into making an error, but Ian Davies was unable to take advantage.

The opening five minutes of the second proved decisive to the outcome of the whole game.
Cooper-Clark, on the left edge of the area, curled a shot past Craven, only to see it strike the far side of the crossbar, And the Moles celebrated that let-off by going straight down the other end to double their lead. Commock raced through in the inside-right position and curled a sweet left-footer into the top left-hand corner.

Shortly afterwards, Moore forced Rackley into making a brilliant save and the league champs were reeling on the ropes. Thatcham pushed more men forward, but Binfield defended resolutely and were looking capable of becoming the first team to keep a clean sheet against the Kingfishers since last October.

However, that changed in the 83rd minute. The Moles appeared to have averted the danger when a combination of Craven and Will Shaw kept the ball out, which was eventually headed over the bar. But Polish referee Greg Kornasiewicz felt Shaw had handled the ball, pointed to the penalty spot and Cooper-Clark blasted home his 60th goal of the season.

Binfield held on for victory without too many more alarms and they even had a chance to score again. Davies robbed Bara and raced away, but the 32-goal man hurriedly shot wide.
Skipper James Knight collected the trophy – Binfield last lifted it in 2012 – to spark off long and loud celebrations. It was definitely a night to remember for this popular village club.

Binfield 2 Thatcham Town 1 (away view)
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 Thatcham, attempting to squeeze between Tom Browne and Chris Rackley, with the shot-stopper blocking with his feet to snuff out the danger.

Thatcham 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 keeper Henry Craven, 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.

The Kingfishers started to press for an equaliser with Gavin James forcing a save down to Craven's right before Cooper-Clark winded the Binfield stopper, arriving at pace to thump an effort goal-bound after good work by Jemel Johnson to beat his man and deliver a cross.

Moments later Thatcham 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.

The Kingfishers 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 Thatcham continued in their 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.

Thatcham 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.

Thatcham 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 the Kingfishers' night until they won a penalty on 86 minutes to give them hope. Cooper-Clark stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick via the post and setup a frantic end to the match.

The league champions 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 Thatcham's 40 match unbeaten streak to win the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup.

This was Binfield's final game of the season, whereas Thatcham now look ahead to facing Bracknell Town in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup final, also at Windsor's Stag Meadow, on Monday May 7th at 3pm.

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