PITCHING IN ISTHMIAN LEAGUE
SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION
SATURDAY 8th APRIL 2023
UXBRIDGE 4 BINFIELD 3 (HT 2-2)
After three consecutive defeats Uxbridge bounced back with a hard-fought victory over play-off chasing Binfield. The Moles just one point behind fifth placed Hanworth Villa going into final four games of the season. Mathematically, the Reds were still not safe from a bottom four finish, although it would have taken a massive turn-a-round in form for them to drop into the relegation zone. Tyler Tobin returned in goal in place of the injured Henry Grad, Lewis Patrick and Presley Evans came into the starting eleven for David Sota and Jordan Ireland respectively.
The Moles got off to the prefect start, with a goal in the third minute. Connor Holland played a ball down the line to Brandon Curtis and in hindsight Tobin will probably regret his decision to rush from his line to confront the striker. Curtis taking the ball round him and crossing for Brad Pagliaroli to slot home at the far-post, into an un-guarded net. The Moles looked to increase their advantage and Pagliaroli shot just wide and Tobin did well to save a powerful drive from Curtis. The rebound was cleared up the other end and Binfield were forced to concede a corner. Mark Bitmead’s set piece was floated into the box and Luke Paris climbed highest and headed towards goal. Goalkeeper Harvey Rackley-Hayes attempted to claim the header, but under pressure could only deflect it over the line. The Reds were level for less than sixty seconds. Rackley-Hayes bagging himself an assist with a long clearance that found Conor Lynch and as the ball sat up nicely for him, he fired a shot over Tobin into the roof of the net. The crowd were still catching their breath when Eitel Goueth challenged Rackley-Hayes on the edge of the box - the young midfielder won the ball and sent a shot towards the empty net – cheers were just leaving mouths when Massimo Giamattei appeared from nowhere and cleared off the line for a corner. The corner was recycled by Alex Witham and Rackley-Hayes somehow managed to turn Alan Hedley’s close-range header round the post. Before bums had returned to seats, Bitmead and Witham combined from the corner to set up Aaron Minhas with a simple six-yard header to bring the scores level. On the stroke of half-time Goueth was the recipient of a crude challenge from Curtis. which saw him take no further part in the game and will probably keep him out for the remainder of the season. Half-time 2-2.
Within six minutes of the restart the Reds had opened a two-goal lead thanks to a couple of spot-kicks from Witham. The first was awarded when Luke Paris was hauled to the ground as he made a far-post run to attack Lewis Patrick’s free kick. The second he won himself, latching onto a through ball from Bitmead he was upended as he toe-poked the ball past Rackley-Hayes and a defender. With their play-off ambitions under threat the Moles needed a quick response and Tobin was bravely off his line to cut out a dangerous ball into the box. The Reds defence was proving a tough nut to crack and the closest Binfield came to reducing the arrears came in the 77th minute. Substitute Steve Ngunga clipping the top of the crossbar with a twenty-yard free kick, although Tobin appeared to have it covered. With the clock ticking past the ninety-minute mark Liam Gavin miss-hit a shot that wrong footed everyone and trickled into the bottom corner, setting up an anxious five minutes of stoppage time for the Reds. Once again, the Uxbridge defence held firm, despite some intense pressure from the Moles. Full-time 4-3.
A welcome three points for the Reds as they look to finish the season on a high and claim a top half of the table finish.
Uxbridge line-up: Tobin, Andrew, Patrick, Paris, Hedley, Goueth, Maloney, Minhas, Bitmead, Witham, Evans. Subs used: McGuinness for Goueth, Beadle for Bitmead, Sota for Witham. Not used: Fleary and Ireland.