It's a gamble that has certainly paid off for Binfield manager Roger Herridge. Last month he brought in Joe Williams, his third goalkeeper of the season. And the teenager repaid the faith shown in him with a remarkable performance on Monday.
He made three excellent saves during the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tie against Burnham before conceding a goal. It wasn't until deep into stoppage time when substitute Jemel Johnson scrambled home the equaliser. Then Williams stole the show, the former Ross County stopper amazingly saving four penalties, while Jamie McClurg and Johnson both missed before Sean Moore and Asa Povey hit the target to give Moles a 2-1 win in the shoot-out.
"What a goalie!" beamed Herridge."He's only 18 years of age. He came to us not knowing anyone and, yes, we took a bit of a gamble on him. He made two unbelievable saves in the first half as well as another good one. Before we started taking penalties he said 'I am going to do this; he's a confident lad. I was a big worried when he saved two and we missed two ourselves, but we got there in the end."
The Moles boss added: "I thought we deserved to win; we asked a lot of questions of them. At times we were not at our best, but we showed a good work rate, epitomised by Doddsy (Jamie McClurg) in midfield. The way he manages things on the pitch is a real bonus for us. There was nothing between the two sides. Burnham are a team with a lot of quality and will finish well up in the league without any shadow of doubt."
This win puts Binfield into the first round with Herridge commenting: "I hope we get a good draw."
Binfield skipper Sean Moore led from the front by bagging a brace in their 3-1 win over AFC Aldermaston in the Buildbase FA Vase. Josh Helmore was also on target as the Moles came from behind in this second qualifying round tie. Monay Mills-Chandler put the Atom Men ahead in the first half, following up after his penalty had been parried by keeper Joe Williams. Helmore's equaliser in the 34th minute was due to a piece of quick thinking by the striker. He spotted the keeper well off his line and floated the ball over his head into an empty net.
The Uhlsport Hellenic League high fliers, managing the game well, went on to dominate the second half. Moore put them ahead in the 54th minute and added his second and Binfield's third shortly before the final whistle, taking his season's tally to seven goals, one more than strike partner Helmore.
Manager Roger Herridge said: "It is not an easy place to go. We weren't at our best, but I felt we were always the better side although they (Aldermaston) dug in and had a bit of pace up front which caused us a few problems at times. I never had any doubts we would win the game. We want to go on a run in the Vase and sometimes big journeys start with little steps, and that was a little step on Saturday."
The Moles will now be away to Egham in the first round on October 12 "In my view, they are a team who are underachieving," stated Herridge. "They have gone through a lot of managers in the last three seasons, but they now have got a new manager in Tony Choules, who has managed at a higher level with Uxbridge. It will be a difficult game for us."
Before then, Binfield face Uhlsport Hellenic League leaders Westfield at Hill Farm Lane on Saturday when they will be looking to make it 11 wins from 12 league and cup ties. The Moles still have players missing for various reasons, while Joel Valentin and Eddie Lee are off to university. "We still have a good squad, but might need to strengthen in certain areas," added Herridge.
At last week's annual meeting, club chairman Bob Bacon was voted in as chairman for a 10th year. But Andy Cotton stood down as vice chairman with Glenn Duggleby taking over the role. General secretary Steve Plimley has stood down and the club are now seeking a replacement.