Wantage Progress In county Cup
Home Tie With MK Dons Awaits
Wantage earned a hard fought victory against Binfield in the County Cup to earn a plumb home tie against EFL League 2 side MK Dons in the next round.
Manager Sadler shifted the team around, giving a starting debut to striker Damien Robertson and including youngsters Luke Ballard and Joe Hartley from the Development team on the bench. With the regular centre-back pairing rested Dan Comer and Matt Cheetham filled the gaps, with Ryan Markham and Dan Sadler occupying the full-back positions.
Despite the changes Wantage started the stronger, and Robertson almost put them ahead on six minutes when a strong run into the box saw his shot parried by the keeper, but his attempted lob with the rebound clipped the top of the bar.
Wantage keeper Garry Aylsberry was called into action on 24 minutes, going full-length to keep out a Carlo Santoro shot, but then Wantage were awarded a penalty on the half hour for hand-ball. With regular taker Chris Jackson missing up stepped Robertson and sent the keeper the wrong way to notch his first for the club.
Binfield went looking for an equaliser and eight minutes later a combination of Aulsberry, Markham and Mark Threlfall just managed to clear a goal area scramble after Aulsberry came out of his area to head clear a through ball.
But their best chance of the half fell to Jemel Johnson, but the well-placed striker fired woefully high and wide from 20 yards out.
The second half saw Binfield press forward, but although they had lots of possession in the middle third, they rarely penetrated the final third. Markham was immense at the back, blocking, tackling and heading clear, but the whole of the back line always looked in control.
That’s not to say it was all one way, but much like Binfield Wantage found clear-cut chances hard to come by. Connor Mattimore and Harvey Scholes were always lively going forward with their pace and energy, and Robertson showed some great touches and vision in his play.
Both Ballard and Hartley came on for their senior debuts and gave good accounts of themselves. Wantage’s other substitute was Kaylem Patterson, who had the best chance of the half to wrap the game up when he got away to be one on one with the keeper three minutes from time, but custodian Chris Grace stayed on his feet and pushed the final shot away for a corner.
Six minutes into stoppage time Binfield came closer to an equaliser then throughout the game when a Johnson free kick on the right of Wantage’s box looked to be heading to the far top corner until Aulsberry got fingers to it and tipped it over the bar to secure the win.
Another good win in a good season for Wantage that shows the depth of the squad. Next up is a trip to Codicote in the FA Vase 1st Round with Wantage looking to have a good run in that competition too.
Binfield: Chris Grace, Jack Thomson-Wheeler, Will Shaw (Josh Howell 71), Carl Withers, Gary Smith (Liam Gavin 60), Jeff Brown, Carlo Santoro, James Knight, Ian Davies (Sean Moore 59), Danny Horscroft, Jemel Johnson. Subs n/u: Charlie Tuttle
Referee: Charlie Bullock