Binfield chairman left pinching himself after shock cup upset

Binfield FC chairman Andy Cotton couldn’t believe his eyes when his beloved club knocked out National League South Tonbridge Angels in the FA Cup writes Alec McQuarrie.

A 4-0 trouncing at Hill Farm Lane sent the Moles to the Third Round Qualifying for the first time in their history at the expense of the Angels, two divisions their superior.

With the tie finely poised at 0-0 at the break, Binfield turned on the style in the second half with four unanswered goals, a stunning performance that earned them the September Pitching In Performance of the Month for the Isthmian South Central division.

And hands-on chairman Andy Cotton, the self-confessed “fattest vegetarian in Berkshire”, was overawed with seeing his own serving of cup magic served up before his eyes.

“Nobody was more surprised than me to see us win and quite comfortably if I’m honest; we could’ve been three or four-nil up at half time,” said Cotton.

Binfield FC's run in the FA Cup was eventually ended by fellow giant-killers Beckenham town in a thrilling 5-3 tie
Binfield FC's run in the FA Cup was eventually ended by fellow giant-killers Beckenham town in a thrilling 5-3 tie

“We just carried on in the second half and we were just too strong for them. It was fantastic.”

Unfortunately, the Moles' FA Cup run would come to an end in the following round, when fellow giant-killers Beckenham edged a 5-3 thriller.

It was a blow for Cotton and new manager Gary Haylock, with money tight at Binfield's level.

Clubs like the Moles rely heavily on volunteers, and Cotton is looking forward to investing the hard-earned prize money into improving the facilities of the club.

“It’s just a game we could’ve got a result in," admitted Cotton. "There wasn’t a huge gap between us and we just weren’t on it at the weekend for whatever reason.

“I think we always viewed this season, particularly having a FA Cup run as a season changer for us, because getting to the Third Qualifying Round, there’s a financial benefit for that.

“For a small club like ours, it really makes a difference. Interestingly, I did say that as a consequence of winning that game that we were halfway towards putting a proper irrigation system in place.

“It will definitely contribute to something tangible for the club.”

And as for the appointment of ex-Hayes & Yeading boss and former Exeter City coach Haylock, Cotton believes he’s an ideal fit for the club’s move towards youth development.

“Gary with his UEFA Pro license and the fact he’s such an established person in the game with a great coaching pedigree, he’s going to enable us to bridge that gap between the youth teams and the first team,” said Cotton.

“His approach really fits in with where we want to take the club. We’re not obsessed about going up the pyramid.

“We want to do well of course we do, but we need to bring the club with us.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/