The Hoops and Binfield “must do it all over over again” in Berkshire next weekend after 90 minutes and extra-time-failed to separate them in Saturday’s FA Vase fourth round tie.
In front of a gate of 507, the biggest at the Charles Ground for over 15 years, Macauley Murray’s 70th-minute penalty was cancelled out by Josh Helmore’s equaliser five minutes from the end of normal time, and then in the 30 minutes of extra-time the Hoops “huffed and puffed” but were unable to make their extra man count against a Binfield side who had been reduced to 10 men early in the second period of normal time when Tom Melledew was sent off.
Hoops manager Derek Hares said: “They had a couple of chances they should have scored from apart from their goal and so did we, and I also think we should have had another penalty, but overall I think the draw was probably a fair result.”
In conditions that didn’t make sharp passing football easy, with a strong wind blowing across the pitch and a tricky surface, Hares felt his side started slowly against their Hellenic League opponents who failed to capitalise on a couple of early chances. Deal then gradually settled into some sort of rhythm but neither team was able to carve out any more clear cut openings before half-time while Hoops’ keeper James Tonkin dealt comfortably with a couple of efforts from free-kicks by Binfield’s Jamie McClurg.
Then, five minutes after the restart, came a potentially key moment in the tie when Melledew was sent off by referee Valentine Anekwe for chopping down Ben Chapman from behind.
Binfield, however, soon reminded the Hoops that they would still remain dangerous in attack when, minutes later, Hellmore missed the game’s best chance up to that point.
But as the second half progressed Binfield were content to sit deeper and deeper and Jack Penny nearly finished off Deal’s best move of the game just past the hour mark before the Hoops made the breakthrough with 70 minutes gone. Chapman was again the architect, dancing past Melledew in the box before being chopped down, and the Binfield defender was shown “red” before Macauley Murray stepped up to slow home the resulting spot kick.
Binfield now had to be more adventurous if they were to stay in the tie and substitute Asa Povey headed a great chance wide from Calum Gallimore’s cross before they eventually dug out an 85th-minute equaliser when Tonkin punched out a cross to Hellmore who took one touch to control before firing home.
The period of extra-time that followed was, in all truth, a bit of a non-event with Binfield again sitting back in search of a replay and Deal unable to conjure up that piece of magic needed to break the deadlock. But then, two minutes from the end, the moment of glory almost fell to an unlikely individual when Hoops centre-half-Josh Maughan suddenly found himself through on goal from Penny’s pass, but his shot cannoned off Binfield ‘keeper’s legs Chris Grace for a corner and that was the end of the serious goalmouth action.
Hares added: “Binfield are a good, well-organised side and they were quite happy to drop back and defend after going down to 10 men.
“It wasn’t an easy surface to play on either, but the players really appreciated the great support we had here today and now we will just have to go and do the business at their place.”
Deal: Tonkin, Hark, Penny, Maughan, Foster (Reeves 95), Munday, Paxman, Murray (Alexader 103), Coyne (Smith 84), Walsh, Chapman.