With the hosts sitting pretty at the top of the table and their visitors unbeaten in eighth spot, it promised to be an interesting contest.
For anyone who has not yet visited Hill Farm Lane, you really should take a trip. As the name suggests it is a very rural setting. The ground is situated on the edge of Binfield village and is accessed from a single track lane. Entrance fees are taken upon entrance to the complex as, once in the car park, you are effectively in the ground itself. There are no turnstiles. There are actually there grass pitches in the complex, the main playing surface, one adjacent to it and a further pitch behind pitch 2. The clubhouse, snack bar and toilets are all in a building block next to the car park. This is set atop a bank which then overlooks the main playing surface. The clubhouse is directly behind one of the goal areas. To the right hand side of the ground is the main stand and the dugouts, one either side of the stand. The remainder of the playing area is bordered by hard-standing.
Although there was a threat of rain and rather dark skies, it was a very muggy summer evening which saw the two teams emerge down the steps and onto a pitch that looked in pretty good condition.
It was league leaders Binfield who started the stronger. Within the first couple of minutes Ferdinand turned sharply in the box and smashed a shot against the foot of the Ibis post with Nathan Silver beaten. It was all Binfield in the opening 10 minutes, a fact that the Ibis bench realised early on and were calling for their team to ride out the initial onslaught.
They nearly did and maybe should have but for the intervention of the referee. Another Binfield attack, this time up the left flank, lead to a fierce shot being struck which, according to the official, was unlawfully blocked by an Ibis hand. The incident was very close to where I was standing and, I have to say, the shot was hit from less than 10 feet from the defender and if he had the reactions to reach out and deliberately block the ball with his hand then it was an incredible reflex stop. There is no doubt that the ball hit the defender but, even if it was on the hand or arm, I am not convinced there was any way he could have moved out of the way. Still, the referee makes the decisions and this one said penalty.
Liam Ferdinand stepped up and just about beat Silver with the spot-kick. 1-0 to Binfield.
The way the game had gone until this point it was surprising that the flood gates didn't open. Credit to Highmoor though, they dug in and stemmed the flow of home attacks. In fact, three minutes after going behind they came close to equalising when Piercy thumped a shot against the foot of the Binfield post. The rebound fell kindly to the home team and they cleared the danger.
Whilst Binfield probably edged possession for the remainder of the half it was certainly a much more equal affair than the first ten minutes. The game got a little niggly at times and Highmoor, possibly still annoyed by the penalty decision, were certainly making their grievances known to the officials. To be fair, I did think that some decisions were going against them at times. However, the more they complained, the fewer 50/50s seemed to go their way. Easy to say from the sidelines but they may have been better advised to have suppressed their unhappiness.
Half-time Binfield 1 Highmoor Ibis 0.
However, try as the might, Ibis didn't really stretch keeper Garry Aulsberry too much and the Binfield back-line looked calm and assured for the most part.
Once again the refereeing decisions didn't seem to be going the way of Ibis when a shot, from a similar position as the one that won the penalty for Binfield, struck a defender amidst very vociferous penalty claims. To be honest, I was now on the opposite side of the pitch and couldn't see where the ball hit the player or if it was ball to player or player to ball contact. However, the Ibis shouts were loud and prolonged. They clearly thought they had a case. The man in the middle, however, thought otherwise.
After 77 minutes Binfield struck the killer blow. Following a good save by Silver the resulting corner was swung in from the right and met on the volley by James Charlton to score his first Moles goal. At 1-0 down Highmoor always looked like they might get back into the game, at 2-0 with just over 10 minutes left, it looked very much less likely.
With five minutes to go Silver parried an effort down into the path of Luke Hayden who made absolutely no mistake in firing it straight back past the keeper and into the net. A very well taken goal and another player scoring for the first time in the senior team.
Final score Binfield 3 Highmoor Ibis 0
All in all it was deserved three points for Binfield who retained their place on top of the Premier League. Dangerous when they attacked and looking pretty strong at the back. Highmoor will feel somewhat aggrieved at the penalty decisions and losing their unbeaten record but even they would probably agree that the points went to the better team on the night.
Binfield - @binfieldfc
Highmoor Ibis - @highmooribis