Wokingham Today

In-form Moles can battle with the best, vows boss

- By TOM CROCKER tcrocker@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

ROGER HERRIDGE hopes Binfield could push even higher up the league next season after going toe-to-toe with two of the Hellenic Premier’s top sides this week.

The Moles trailed 2-0 to leaders Highworth Town on Saturday, only to complete a stunning late turnaround to win 3-2 and inflict a first away defeat of the season on the Worthians.

And while they could not follow that up with victory over neighbours Bracknell Town on Monday evening, they were only edged out 1-0, having lost the reverse fixture 6-1 earlier this campaign.

And Herridge, whose side sit sixth in the table, says he is encouraged by recent form.

“Monday’s game against Bracknell was the first time a side in the top five had beaten us since Bracknell beat us at Larges Lane back in August,” the Binfield boss told The Wokingham Paper.

“We’ve obviously proved that we’re competitiv­e.

“The side has changed in certain areas since then and we’ve evolved but I think we’ve certainly had more ups than downs this season that’s for sure.”

While the Moles look unlikely to move from their position of sixth, the title race is certainly hotting up with Highworth, Bracknell and Thatcham Town all chasing promotion.

And Herridge is not surprised by the sides occupying the leading places: “The title race is still quite interestin­g,” he said.

“Obviously we did Bracknell a massive favour on Saturday.

“I would’ve liked to have returned the favour to Highworth on Monday, not that I’ve got anything against Bracknell.

“If we can come away from a game like that and be disappoint­ed that we’ve not taken something from the game, I think that tells you how far we’ve come really.

“I fancy Thatcham to win the league and I’ve just got a feeling Bracknell are probably going to sneak the runners-up spot.

“We’ve taken four points from Highworth and Bracknell are the first and only side to do the double over us this season.

“It doesn’t matter what level of football you play, the sides with the biggest budget tend to win the league and finish in the top two or three spaces.

“And the sides with the biggest budget in this league by a long way will finish in the top three spaces.

“Thame last year bucked the trend because they did it on a shoestring budget but sometimes that happens, even at the highest level as we saw with Leicester.”

One of the key focuses for Herridge over the summer will be to try and tie down some of his star players having regularly lost his better players to the likes of Bracknell and Thatcham in recent years.

And if he can manage that, he feels Binfield could push even further up a more competitiv­e 2018/19 league. “We’d have to be very, very lucky to be competing with Highworth, Bracknell and Thatcham at the minute,” said Herridge.

“But over 90 minutes of football, we’ve proved against them all that we’re competitiv­e and we’ve got something to build on.

“I probably said this this time last year, it would be nice if we can keep this group of players together and add two or three to it, who knows where we might be this time next year.

“Bracknell and Thatcham have got aspiration­s of a higher level, they’ve got the resources to be playing at a higher level, hence why they’re throwing the resources at it at the minute.

“As far as we’re concerned, I’m not saying the league will be any easier next year but if those two teams go up, it might be a bit more of a level playing field for the rest of us.”

Binfield 3 Highworth Town 2

ROGER HERRIDGE admitted victory over Highworth was “a bonus three points” after his side produced a stunning late comeback.

Binfield trailed 2-0 after quarter of an hour, but they stormed back with three goals in the final 14 minutes from Ian Davies, Sean Moore and Carlo Santoro to clinch a 3-2 victory.

The win was all the more impressive given Highworth’s position atop the Premier Division and the fact they had not lost on the road in the league all season.

“We had a terrible start,” admitted Herridge. “We’ve probably got a reputation of starting quite well but against Flackwell the Tuesday beforehand and against Highworth we were a little bit slow out the blocks.

“They were 2-0 up and they were rampant, but we stayed in the game and we improved.

“Although they were the better side in the first half undoubtedl­y, we created a couple of good chances through Sean Moore and Ian (Davies).”

He continued: “In the second half we improved and we looked likely to get back in the game and just when it looked like we weren’t, Ian’s won us a penalty and scored it.

“I shouted to Knighty (captain James Knight), ‘let’s make sure we have a go at them now’.

“We changed to 4-4-2 and got our rewards for it really.

“It was obviously a bonus three points.”

BINFIELD: Craven, Thompson-Wheeler, Gerrard (Santoro 70), Leonetti, Shaw, Gavin, Fitzgerald, Knight (c), Davies, Colverd (Powell 70), Moore.

Subs not used: Ocansey, Gritt, Campbell. Attendance: 132

 ?? Picture: Neil Graham ?? Binfield went toe-to-toe with Bracknell on Monday evening
Picture: Neil Graham Binfield went toe-to-toe with Bracknell on Monday evening
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 ??  ?? Seb Bowerman skips down the flank
Seb Bowerman skips down the flank

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