Ex-Binfield Management Take On Bracknell - 6th May
Bracknell Town have turned to former Binfield duo Steve McClurg and Richard Whitty in a bid to revive their fortunes. The pair left Hellenic League Premier Division outfit just last week and will now take over at Larges Lane.
The Robins have been relegated from Zamaretto League Division One South and West after a disastrous campaign. David Tuttle, who worked with makeshift squad and a small budget, was relieved of his duties at the end of the season. Now McClurg, a former Bracknell Town player and boss, hopes to transform the club's fortunes and rebuild the squad alongside Whitty.
A statement on the Bracknell Town website reads: "The Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Steve McClurg and Richard Whitty as joint first team managers. Upon us recently hearing that Steve was to step down as manager at neighbours Binfield, we were delighted that, following full and frank discussions, Steve accepted our call to become our new manager and shares our views on how the club is to be taken forward following the disappointments of last season. We were equally delighted that Richard joins us and, along with Steve who many will know successfully steered Binfield from Step 6 to a solid mid-table position at step 5 last season, provide us with a level of pedigree having both served this Club so well in seasons past as both players and managers."
Bracknell will not know which league they will be playing in next season for another few weeks, the likelihood is a drop into the Hellenic League and a possible derby with Binfield, The statement continued: "We shall not know which league we shall be placed into until the FA's League Sanctions Committee have met in a couple of weeks time or so, We have, nonetheless, expressed our preference to be placed into the Hellenic League to both the FA and that league that many will know will provide us with some mouth-watering local derbies against Binfield, Ascot United, Wokingham & Emmbrook and Reading Town."
The club added McClurg and Whitty were chosen from an "impressive number" of applications from "good quality candidates," all that remains is for us to welcome Steve and Richard on board and to wish them every success as our new football management team," ended the statement.
Meanwhile, Moles chairman Rob Jones commented: "I would like to wish the guys the very best of luck at The Robins. Both of them have history at Larges Lane and I can understand their interest in what will be a new challenge. I really hope they didn't feel pushed out at Binfield after Mark Tallentire was promoted to Manager for next season but I'm sure that's not the case. They are not sure which league Bracknell Town will be playing in next year but I hope they move to the Hellenic because it will create some great derby days."
Long Standing Chairman Steps Down -23rd April
Binfield chairman Rob Jones announced on the club's website last Saturday that he would be stepping down as club chairman at the end of the season, after 17 years at the helm.
Steve McClurg, who has been manager at Stubbs Lane for the last two years, was quick to praise the chairman's commitment to bringing the club forward. He said: "Rob has made a massive contribution to the club. It is only my second season here, but the club has come a long way one and off the pitch in that time. Binfield now has the facilities and the team of a Premier Division club. We sat down together when I first came in and he told me what he wanted from me and what he would do in return and he has been true to his word. He has backed everyone to the hilt. I've always said we are a team at Binfield - the management, the players and the staff - and he has been a very important part of that."
Under the stewardship of Jones (pictured), Binfield have certainly come a long way. Last summer the club moved up to the step five of non league football for the first time in their history, and the infrustructure at Stubbs Lane has followed suit.
Exciting times lay ahead for the Moles. And Jones believes this makes it a perfect time to step aside. He said: "After 17 years with Binfield Boys, Binfield Forest and then the merged Binfield FC it's time to give someone else a chance to steer the club. We've gone from one under-11s team playing at Popes Meadow in 1993 to a club with 28 teams including a 1st team playing in the Hellenic League Premier Division with floodlights and a grandstand. We are also an official FA Charter Standard Community Club making us one of the top few clubs in the Berks & Bucks FA."
Now Jones is will turn his concentration to his work commitments and his family. He continues: "It has been a privilege to serve the members and I will continue to support the club as much as I can, given my work commitments, which now include the broadcasting of F1, NFL and ICC Cricket. I would like to thank everyone at the club for their support but most of all, Jackie my wife, for her understanding with the massive amount of time the role has taken. The club is in brilliant shape for the new chairman or indeed chairwoman to take us to the next stage."
Lost Form - 9th April
Steve McClurg has urged his side to re-find the form that moved them up to fifth in the Hellenic Premier Division last month.
A nine-game winning streak saw the Moles fly up the league table, but since then they have gone off the boil with no wins in their last four games.
Binfield remain well-clear of the drop zone and too far back to challenge for promotion. But McClurg has called on his side to re-discover their urgency. He said: "We don't want our season to end in a damp squib. It has been a very good season, but it is not over yet. We still have eight league games left and we want to fight for every point.
The Moles had a frustrating Easter weekend with their games against Reading Town and Almondsbury both being postponed before their 4-0 derby defeat at home to Ascot on Monday. Director of football Richard Whitty offered no excuse for that result and was at odds to explain where that performance came from. He admitted: "Ascot deserved everything they got on Monday. We were just absolutely rubbish and they thoroughly deserved to win. We started slowly and our discipline was bad. I don't know where that performance came from. Our games on Thursday and Saturday were both called off so you think we would have been fresh, but we just didn't turn up. Maybe when you win nine games in a row it goes to your head and you start believing certain things. But the secret is you have to work even harder and that is what we will do."
Binfield had Steve Nebbett sent off for two yellow cards in the defeat. And Whitty added: "Steve Nebbett is a passionate player and the last thing he would ever want to do is leave the team a man short. I thought the first yellow card was right, but the second one was harsh."
In Thursday's rescheduled Floodlit Cup semi-final second leg, the Moles held Reading Town to a three all drawbut town progress to the final after taking the first leg 1-0. Binfield are back in action Monday night when they host Carterton.
Bracknell, Join the Hellenic! - 2nd April
Binfield Chairman, Rob Jones writes. East Berkshire senior football could be a mouth watering prospect next season. Ascot United, Binfield, Bracknell Town, Reading Town and Wokingham & Emmbrook, could all be playing in the same division for the first time ever. What a prospect that is for local bragging rights, not to mention increased income generation and general interest. If Bracknell Town elect to play in the Hellenic League Premier Division, they will be joining not just a well organised league with a higher standard of facilities than the Combined Counties but they will be testing themselves against their local rivals on a regular basis. The trips to Ascot, Binfield or Reading will surely be more palatable and economically viable than Taunton or Frome?
One or two things need to be resolved before any of this can happen. Binfield are the only sure fire bet to be in the Hellenic Premier Division next season. With sixty points on the board the Moles are now safe from relegation. At the top of the table Reading Town may yet get promotion but probably only if Almondsbury Town are unable to secure a home for next season. Reading needed more than one point against Binfield on Saturday with Almondsbury just one win behind them and three games in hand, two of which are against Reading. Ascot United, after a shaky start to Premier Division life, have improved. If they can take something from Binfield on Easter Monday they will probably just avoid relegation back down to where Wokingham & Emmbrook currently reside. The Satsuma’s look like being pipped at the post for the Division 1 East title but they are good for promotion having secured a ground share with Bracknell Town. Despite the terrible playing surface Reading, Binfield and Ascot will all relish two away fixtures at Larges Lane. More local interest and competition will bring more supporters through the turnstiles, more refreshments served over the bars and I am sure more local press coverage as the battle begins for local supremacy in 2010-2011. At Binfield we’re rooting for Ascot United to stay up, Wokingham and Emmbrook to get promoted and Bracknell Town to join us for a sizzling new season.
Davies scoops March POTM
Ian Davies, Binfield's new striker signing scooped the Moles fans' Player of the Month Award for March. The striker has had a very positive effect on Binfield playing a big part in the side's nine march winning streak. He wins a cash prize plus a trophy and has his name engraved on the club house POTM shield. Binfield introduced the award at the start of the year. Goalkeeper Chris Adams won the January Awards with captain Garry Callaway getting the honour in February.
Moles Have Come A Long Way - 26th March
Steve McClurg believes his side's two hard-fought games against Hellenic Premier Division leaders Reading Town in a week show how far they have come this season.
The Moles were beaten 1-0 by their Berkshire rivals in the first leg of the Floodlit Cup semi-final last Thursday before making it 10 games unbeaten in the league with a 1-1 draw at Scours Lane on Saturday.
Just three months ago Binfield were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Colin Millard's side at Stubbs Lane. But since then the Moles have turned a corner and had won nine league games in a row before Saturday. McClurg feels they fully deserve their place among the top six in the Premier Division. He said: "To go 10 games unbeaten in the league - we have to be happy about that. And it is not because we have been playing teams at the bottom of the league. We have played a lot of the top teams like Kidlington, Highworth and Reading, so it shows what we are capable of. It has all been down to hard work. We have kept improving game after game and the whole squad has played a part.
"I've said all season it is not just about the 11 out there on the pitch, but about the whole squad. During the last 10 games we have had to change it around a few times, but the results have showed that everyone is improving."
Last Thursday (18th March) a 10th minute penalty by Aaron Parfitt gave Reading a 1-0 advantage going into next Thursday's Floodlit Cup semi-final second leg. "But McClurg believes all is not lost and is expecting a different game at Stubbs Lane. "It is only half-time, that's the way I'm looking at it. It's still all to play for. We would have liked to have scored an away goal, but there is only one goal in it. It was a bit of a rubbish game to be honest. They got a penalty early on and scored from it. Then we should have had a penalty when their centre back handled it, but it wasn't given. But apart from that there was not a lot of chances at either end. You could have taken away the goalposts and it wouldn't have made a difference."
The two sides met again at Scours Lane just two days later and this time it was the Moles who took a first half lead. McClurg added: "On Saturday both teams played much better than they had on Thursday and it was a much better game to watch. Both goals were fairly similar - the ball was bouncing around the box and someone tucked it away. Callum took ours really well. He blasted it in from about five yards out. I think the keeper would have ended up in the back of the net with the ball if he had got in the way. They had a
few chances in the first half and Ryan Millward had to clear one off the line. Overall a draw was probably about fair."
Next up for Binfield this weekend is a home league clash against Ardley United, the only side in the division they have not yet played this season. McClurg admitted: "To be honest I don't know too much about them. They are a mid-table team, so they obviously have the ability to beat teams. Every team in this league can pose a threat if you don't prepare properly, but at home we will expect to do well."
Hot Moles - 18th March
Red-hot Binfield made it nine straight wins in the Hellenic Premier Division this week with two fine victories over top-eight sides.
On Saturday they travelled to Witney United, who had won eight of their previous the home games, and ran out 2-0 victors. Following that up with a 2-1 home win over Highworth Town on Monday evening.
Director of football Richard Whitty (pictured) said: "We were superb on Saturday. They are not a bad side and we dominated and came away with the 2-0 win. We were stronger, fitter and looked the better side on the day. Highworth Town were a good side on Monday night. It was a very competitive game but we just kept at it and eventually wore them down and got the winner."
Binfield's new strike force of Ian Davies and Callum Whitty continues to blossom, and the in-form frontmen score a goal apiece in both of the wins. Richard Whitty believes that Davies, who joined from Winchester last month, has brought an extra dimension to the squad. He said: "Ian has come in and he has lifted the whole team. He works so hard and that is starting to rub off on everyone else. Other people are starting to make runs now off the ball that they wouldn't have been making 10 games ago. Ian has made Callum Whitty a better player. They are both working hard for each other and they are getting the rewards. They both look like they are going to score every game at the moment, it is great to have a strike force like that. Defensively we have been getting better and we know that if we keep it tight we always have that goal threat. We just don't look like losing at the moment."
Their recent purple patch has lifted the Moles up to the heady heights of fifth place in their first season in the Hellenic Premier Division. Whitty believes if Binfield can maintain that position it will represent a sensational year for the village side. He said: "If we can finish in the top five this season I think it would be a great acheivement. We have established ourselves as a Premier Division club and, if I'm honest, I think we have exceded expectations. We have made strides forward off the pitch and we are starting to match it on the pitch. It is not just the players who are doing their bit. It is everyone behind the scenes too. I think we must have the best pitch in the league at the moment and that is down to the groundstaff. The club is a lovely place to be at the moment, and that is good to be able to say."
Next up for the Moles is a mouthwatering double-header against league leaders Reading Town. This evening (Thursday) Binfield travel to Scours Lane for the first leg of the Floodlit Cup semi-final. Then on Saturday afternoon they return to Reading to take on Colin Millard's side in the league. The Moles went down 3-0 when the sides met earlier in the season and Whitty admits: "They are definitely the best side we have played against this season. It is the only game this season where I would say we weren't at the races and didn't deserve to take anything from the game."
However at that stage Town were in the middle of a 17-game winning run, while the Moles were going through a sticky period. Since then Reading's grip at the top of the Premier Division has loosened slightly, while the Moles have gone from strength to strength. Whitty added: "We will have to see how seriously they take the cup. You'd like to think they will put out their full strength team, but maybe they will see the league as a priority. Either way we are expecting two very competitive matches."
Mighty Moles In 7th Heaven - 12th March
Steve McClurg believes Binfield's strength in depth has been the key to their success in their maiden season in the Hellenic Premier Division.
The Moles have flown up to sixth place after their sensational run of seven straight league wins. Tomorrow that stunning sequence will be put to the test when they travel to fellow high-flyers Witney United.
However McClurg says that fixture holds no fear for the Moles, who he lavished praise on this week. He said: "We are more than capable of beating anyone when we perform well, that is the key. And we have been putting in some really good shifts recently. We have been forced to put square pegs in round holes a few times, but the players have shown they are up to it. Last Saturday Danny Wing, who is an attacking player, played at left back for us and I thought he was very good. Jack Tallentire started on the bench, but when he came on in the second half he did very well, he was very influential. James Suarez has been excellent, Steve Nebbett has done well when he's come in. I could roll them all off because they are all doing well. I've said all season it is about the squad not the first XI and the players have really bought into that.
"We know how good a side Witney are. But we already beat them 2-0 at our place, so we believe we can do it again."
Last Saturday Binfield hosted Kidlington. The Oxfordshire side arrived at Stubbs Lane in fifth place, but were trounced 6-1 by McClurg's in-form side. McClurg said: "Saturday was excellent. We played very, very well. We had to make a few changes, but the players that came in all played their part. Ian Davies scored another hat-trick and his third goal was a terrific header from a very good cross by Jack Tallentire."
That result set the Moles up nicely for Monday evening's visit of Shrivenham, who gave Binfield a good game before McClurg's side won 3-1. The Binfield boss said: "We went into that on a high, but we had to work hard for our win. I thought they were a very good side. They had some good players and I'm surprised they are where they are in the league to be honest."
Binfield were given another boost in the last week with the return of striker Johnny Dyer (right) after three months on the sidelines. The former Bracknell Town forward came on for the closing stages of Binfield's wins over Kidlington and Shrivenham. And McClurg admits he will keep Dyer wrapped up in cotton wool until he is 100 per cent fit. He said: "We are lucky at the moment that Ian Davies and Callum Whitty are scoring plenty of goals, so there is no need to rush Johnny back. He is a quality player, so it is good to have the extra option. But we will give him all the time he needs to recover.
Top Six Possible - 5th March
Binfield boss Steve McClurg is adamant his side are good enough to challenge at the top of the Hellenic Premier Division after they made it four wins in a row on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over rock-bottom Bicester.
After making an excellent start to their first ever season at step five of the non-league pyramid, the Moles suffered a loss of form towards the end of 2009. However their recent improvement has lifted them back up to ninth place in the league table. With fifth-placed Kidlington set to visit Hill Farm Lane on Saturday, McClurg is confident his side are good enough to mix it with the likes of the Oxfordshire side.
He said: "The way we are playing at the moment we will take on anyone, especially at home. I think we are a top six side, I really believe that. The onus is always on the home side, and we have done well there. That doesn't mean we will be underestimating anyone. We are still taking one game at a time and know that if we do not prepare any team in this league can beat us."
Last weekend the Moles continued their impressive form by overwhelming basement boys Bicester. Recent signing from Winchester City Ian Davies once again made an impact by hitting a hat-trick, while Callum Whitty and Danny Wing were also on target.
McClurg said: "We got off to a great start with two goals in the first four or five minutes. You don't really expect that to happen, but it always helps. We were 3-0 up by the half and to be honest it could have been more. We knocked it about really well and played some good stuff in the first half. After that the conditions were not particularly good and the pitch churned up as the game went on. It was not easy for either side. We are disappointed to concede the two goals because really it is a game we could have won 5-0, or even more. Chris Adams was disappointed to let in the free-kick, but he has been fantastic this season and I've got no complaints about him at all."
Following Saturday's game against Kidlington, Binfield have another home game against Shrivenham on Monday evening.
Moles Take On Wood - 19th February
Next up for Binfield in the league is a home game against fifth placed Shortwood United tomorrow. The two sides have not met yet this season, but McClurg is expecting a tough test at Stubbs Lane.
He said: "We've not played them before, but we hear they are a good team, who like to play football. We are at home so the onus is on us and we will play our game the usual way and hopefully get a result." It is good to get a few wins under our belts in the last two games and hopefully we can go on now to get a few more."
McClurg has dismissed speculation that midfielder Danny Wing has left the club. He said: "He is definitely still at the club, I can promise you that. He played for the reserves on Saturday and is still a member of our squad."
The Moles have been drawn against Hellenic Premier Division leaders Reading Town in the semi-final of the Floodlit Cup.
Steve McClurg said: "It is a semi-final so we will be up for it. They are they best team in the league, so what can I saw. It will be tough."
Points In The Bag? - 22nd January
Steve McClurg is backing his side to take all three points when they finally play their first Hellenic League game of the year on Saturday.
The Moles had their first outing of 2010 when they travelled to Combined Counties Premier Division outfit Sandhurst Town in the Berks & Bucks Cup quarter-final on Tuesday evening. Remarkably, after a 42-day break from league action McClurg's side get their Premier Division campaign back underway this weekend with two games in the space of three days.
On Saturday Binfield travel to Oxfordshire to take on lowly Hook Norton, two days later they are due to host high-flying Flackwell Heath at Stubbs Lane.
Hook Norton sit second bottom of the Hellenic Premier Division with just one win to their name all season, having conceded a massive 93 goals in their 24 games. But with the recent cold snap the pitch could be a real leveller and McClurg has warned his side that they have to be at the races from the opening whistle if they want to come home with anything from the fixture.
He said: "It will be good to get some points on the board and start with a win, but we will need to turn up and put in a performace. I hope the players are up for it, otherwise we have been doing something wrong the last few weeks. We are away from home, which always makes things more difficult. We will be approaching it like we do every game. Our preparations are the same whether they are top of the league, or bottom."
The Moles were missing a few first team regulars on Tuesday's cup trip to Sandhurst and McClurg admits he may well make a few changes for Saturday to allow as many players as possible to get some game time under the belts. He said: "We had a few players unavailable on Tuesday night, so we might shuffle the pack a little bit to give everyone a bit of playing time over the next few games. Gary Callaway was suspended and Tim Walsh was unavailable so they may well come in for Saturday with a few others."
Another player who missed out on Tuesday night is striker Jermaine Gumbs, who was cup-tied. The former Bracknell Town and Slough hitman scored six times in 13 games for the Moles earlier in the season before earning a move to Flackwell Heath. Despite scoring on his debut for the Heathens he soon fell out of favour and returned to the Moles. On Monday Gumbs will be taking on his old team and his boss hopes he shows Flackwell what they are missing. McClurg added: "He is another player missing against Sandhurst so we will look to give him playing time over the weekend. I hope he's fired up and wants to prove a point."
McClurg knows the going will be tough against a Flackwell side, who sit just two points behind Binfield in the league table with four games in hand. "They are a good side. We will not be thinking about it until after we've got the Hook Norton game out of the way because I'm a believer in taking one game at a time. If you start looking too far ahead it is easy to take your eye off the ball. But they will definitely give us a good game."
Don't Waste It - 15th January
Steve McClurg has warned has Binfield side not to waste their impressive start to their maiden Hellenic Premier Division season.
After romping to the Division One East title, the Moles spent the first two months of the season in the top four after wins over Highworth Town, Hook Norton, Marlow, Ascot United and Abingdon. Since then they have slipped down to 11th place. But with just one point separating four teams above them in table, McClurg has challenged his side to finish the season as they started and fly back up the table. He said: "We want to pick up as many points as we can this season and we want to finish as high as we possibly can in the league. We go into every game looking to win and we will carry on doing that until the very end of the season."
The Moles were frustrated by the weather again last weekend as their home game against Carterton was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. This means Binfield have now not played in over a month, since December 12th's defeat against Reading Town. McClurg has been doing his best to keep the squad ticking over fitness-wise. But he admits it hasn't been an easy task. He said: "It has been difficult but we have been trying to make the most of it. We managed to train at the sports centre on Saturday for a few hours which was good. But we have only been able to train two or three times since Christmas. Last week we were supposed to be training at a school, but then the school was closed down so we had to abandon that idea. We are trying to do what we can to keep the squad sharp, but even when we have had training not all of the players have been able to get to it because of the weather. Every team will be in the same boat. And everyone will be praying for a few warm days before the weekend so we can get a game on Saturday."
Though with the League programme again cancelled this weekend McClurg will have to wait further. He believes the full depth of his squad will be tested over the next few months after the long lay-off. "I think we will have a very congested fixture list for the next month or even more and we will need a good squad to cope with that. I have been delighted with everyone that has played for us so far this year and we'll need that to continue."
Freeze Good New For Dyer - 8th January
Unfortunately the Moles scheduled home clash against struggling Carterton is off. Though the "Big Freeze" is good news for Binfield's Johnny Dyer who is coming back from an ankle injury sustained at the beginning of December.
Steve McClurg has added an experienced defender to his squad for what is quickly becoming a very busy second half to the 2009/10 campaign.
The Moles have not played since going down 3-0 to league leaders Reading Town on December 12, with this Saturday's game against Caterteron already off and more postponements forecast for the weeks ahead.
McClurg has responded to this by bringing in versatile former Bracknell Town and Wokingham & Emmbrook full back Jamie Clarke. The tough tackling 31-year-old can also play in the centre of midfield, and McClurg is delighted to have him on board.
He said: "He is someone I know well. He will bring a lot of experience to the team. He has been training with us for three weeks so he is fit and ready to go. Mark Tallentire (Binfield assistant manager) spoke to him a while ago and he said he was interested in coming in and we are delighted to have him. There are going to be a lot of games once the weather gets better and the more players we can have in the squad of Jamie's calibre the better."
Performance Requested - 25th December
Steve McClurg has called on Binfield to put in a performance against local rivals Ascot United on tomorrow.
The two sides meet in a mouthwatering Boxing Day Hellenic Premier Division derby clash at Stubbs Lane. Having been beaten 3-0 by league leaders Reading Town in their last league outing, McClurg is hoping to see a reaction from his side against their near neighbours. He said: "We need to go out and put in a performance. To be fair we did not do that against Reading Town last time out and the players will be looking to put that right."
The Moles have come out on top both times the Berkshire rivals have met so far this season. In August they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in the league clash at the Racecourse Ground. And then last month they knocked the Yellamen out of the Berks & Bucks Cup with a 3-1 extra-time victory. McClurg is hoping his side make it three wins out of three on Saturday, but admits he is looking at the fixture in the same way he would any other game.
He said: "They have got some good players and it will be a tough game as it always is against them. But the three points will do me. That's the most important thing, it always is whoever you are playing against."
Following the snow that has battered Berkshire over the last week, the match is likely to be subject to a pitch inspection, but McClurg says this will not distract his players. And if the game does go ahead McClurg hopes to have a bumper squad to choose from. He said: "I don't know about Ryan Millward yet, he might make it or he might not. But we could have a couple of players back from injury. We will have to wait and see about that but if the game is on we will have a strong squad."
Gumbs Turn Round - 11th December
Jermaine Gumbs (pictured) has made a sensational return to Binfield FC just four weeks after departing for Hellenic Premier Division rivals Flackwell Heath.
The former Bracknell Town hitman scored six goals in 13 games for the Moles earlier in the season. Manager Steve McClurg has revealed that he has managed to tempt him back to Stubbs Lane in time for Saturday's big home match against unbeaten league leaders Reading Town. "He is a proven goalscorer. He has already had one successful spell with us this season, so let's hope he has another. He's scored a few goals for Flackwell, but he became available and you can't have too many goalscorers in your team. It is a compliment to our club that Jermaine wanted to come back and hopefully he'll get straight back into the goals."
Gumbs' return comes at an ideal time for the Moles, just seven days after fellow striker Johnny Dyer limped off with ankle ligament damage. McClurg added: "We are a bit short up front at the moment. We are still waiting to see on Johnny Dyer's injury - it could be a few months, or it could be four weeks. He is a quality player so hopefully we will get him back sooner rather than later, but we will have to wait and see how he responds to treatment. Ryan Millward played up front for us at Kidlington last week, but he picked up an injury too and missed Saturday's game."
The Moles will need to be firing on all cylinders tomorrow if they want to get anything from their impressive Berkshire rivals from down the A329. Hellenic Premier Division leaders Reading Town, are not only unbeaten in the league this season, but they are in the middle of an awe-inspiring run of 16 straight wins in all competitions. McClurg is under no illusions about the enormity of the task facing his side, but says his side are not going to lie down. He said: "We look forward to every game and we always go in looking for three points. Reading are obviously a bloody good side. And I don't to buy into all this 'they have to lose sometime'. You don't have to lose any games if you are good enough. But we will give it our best go. We've been working hard recently and it has been showing on the pitch."
Not There Yet! - 4th December
Steve McClurg warned his side 'we are not there yet' after they stormed through to the last four of the AM Print Floodlit Cup on Tuesday night with a stunning 2-0 win at in-form Kidlington.
The goal-happy hosts had won eight of their previous nine games, finding the net 46 times in the process. But the Moles upset the applecart with what McClurg described as the club's 'best performance for some time'. The jubilant Binfield boss said: "The players were absolutely superb, every one of them. We used 14 players and they were all brilliant. "It was one of the best displays for some time. We got among them and frustrated them and took our chances when they came along. They were not happy at the end because they are not used to losing, but that just shows how well we played."
McClurg added: "The players were obviously delighted afterwards and they deserved to be. They were very disciplined and the attitude was excellent. But I had to say to them: 'We are not there yet'. We have a semi-final to look forward to, which is great, but there is still a lot of hard work to do in the league and cup this season.
"Tomorrow we are back to league action against Fairford and now that is our number one priority."
McClurg Vows To Tighten Up - 26th November
Steve McClurg is hoping to see his Binfield side get back to their miserly defensive ways after watching them ship four goals for the second straight Saturday.
The Moles were edged out by Wantage Town in a seven-goal thriller at Stubbs Lane last Saturday after fighting back from 3-1 down only to concede an injury time winner. And, coming on the back of the 4-1 reverse at Kidlington, it was the first time Binfield had lost two successive league games since February 2008.
Uncharacteristic slackness in defence has been the primary cause of the two defeats and it is something McClurg is keen to put a stop to as quickly as possible. He said: "It is something we have got to sort and we will, because winning games is what it is all about. We have got used to winning and it's a feeling we want to get back in the league. Perhaps we are a bit too attack-minded sometimes and we need to settle for what we have got. I think that was the case at the weekend, when we left ourselves o
pen down right hand side, they scored, and all the hard work we had put in to get back into the game was wasted."
A disappointed McClurg reflected: "It was only three weeks ago that we drew 1-1 with them away from home, and we came out in the first half and were the better team. But they really upped their game in the second half and we had to work so hard to get them back to 3-3. And that's what makes conceding that goal in injury time so very, very disappointing."
League Away Form Lacking - 20th November
The loss at Kidlington last weekend means that Binfield have not won away from home in the league since thrashing Ascot United 4-0 on September 14.
Manager Steve McClurg is aware of that, but says it is not a major concern.
He said: "The stats show that we are not doing as well away from home. Maybe we are more comfortable at home, but we do everything the same. We prepare the same way and play the same way. We've played very well in all of our last four or five games, that is the important thing at the moment."
Next up for the Moles is a tricky home match tomorrow against Wantage Town, who have lost just once in the league this season. The Moles got a creditable draw when the sides met in Oxfordshire three weeks ago. On that day Callum Whitty gave Binfield a 1-0 lead at the break before Wantage hit back in the second half.
McClurg says his side are expecting another tough test on Saturday, but believes they have nothing to fear. He said: "They are all tough games in this league. But we don't worry about other teams, we want them to worry about us."
Though Binfields' away performances in other cup competitons is on song. In the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy first round on game at Ascot United on Wednesday night they won 3-1 after extra-time. Binfield now face Sandhurst in the second round.
Strong Enough - 14th November
Binfield boss Steve McClurg believes his squad are strong enough to deal with the loss of one of their top marksmen.
Five-goal hit-man Jermaine Gumbs joined fellow Hellenic Premier Division high-flyers Flackwell Heath on Tuesday after they put in a seven-day-approach for the pacey striker.
The Moles boss admits he was powerless to stop the former Bracknell Town striker from joining Matt Flint's side. But he feels the club will cope just fine in his absence. He said: "We had a seven-day approach from Flackwell Heath for Jermaine. They were free to talk to him and there was not really too much we could do. There is nothing else we could offer him because we haven't got the budget. He has gone. Maybe we will look to replace him, maybe not. I've said all season football is all about the squad these days and we are very happy with the strength of our squad." Gumbs marked his final appearance for the Moles last weekend with a goal as McClurg's side nearly ended Almondsbury's unbeaten start to the league campaign.
The Moles, who have lost just one of their last six league games travel to in-form Kidlington on today. Kidlington have scored a whopping 14 goals in their last two games. And McClurg is not about to take them lightly. He said: "There are no easy games at this level and Kidlington will be another tough one."
Will It Be Moles Honours? - 6th November
Returning to League action last weekend with a creditable 1-1 draw against Wantage Town, Binfield have the unenviable task tomorrow of trying to become the first side in the Hellenic Premier Division to beat Almondsbury Town this season
The fourth-placed Moles host the Bristol outfit, who sit one place above them having won 10 and drawn three of their opening 13 games, this Saturday. Binfield boss Steve McClurg insists his players will be treating it as any other game, but hopes home advantage could prove crucial against the west country side who are faced with a gruelling 172 mile round-trip to Berkshire.
He said: "We want just the same again really. They haven't lost yet this season, but we will give it a good go. We're at home, and we're playing well there, so we will keep plugging away and see where that gets us."
McClurg was delighted with the overall display in gaining the draw at Wantage. He said: "They are a good side, you can see that from the league table, but we definitely deserved something from the game and we got something. The work-rate was excellent. We played for the whole 90 minutes and I was happy with all 14 of our players. We were missing a few players. We had no Jonnny Dyer, Dave Fenton or Chris Adams. But the ones that came in showed how strong our squad is. All in all it's probably a good point."
Just before the break Wantage stopper Rob Durrant pulled off a stunning save to stop midfielder James Suarez doubling the Moles' lead. And McClurg thought that was pivotal. He said: "We were excellent in the first half. We scored a very good goal and we had another chance. Their keeper made a very good save from James Suarez. I think if we went in 2-0 in front we would have gone on to win, but they came out in the second half and played much better. They got one back and our lad Dan Weatt made a great point-blank reaction save just after that."
McClurg is hoping to have Dyer, Fenton and Adams all available again for the Almondsbury game,and former Finchampstead midfielder Scott Bursill could also be available after recovering from injury.
Back On The Trail - 30th October
After a rare weekend off, Binfield get back to Hellenic League action tomorrow with a testing trip to Wantage Town.
Steve McClurg's side sit fourth in the table having adapted quickly to life in the FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division, but they will have their work cut out if they want to take anything back from their trip to Oxfordshire this weekend. Town sit two places below the Moles in the table, but they have lost just once in the league so far this season. Seven wins and three draws from their opening 11 games puts The Alfredians within touching distance of the leaders, with games in hand on all of the other teams at the top of the league.
One bit of optimism for the Moles, though, is that of late their opponents' results have not been the most emphatic. Last time out they could only manage a 1-1 draw with fifth-bottom Fairford, while their previous two games saw them sneak wins against struggling Pegasus Juniors (2-1) and Premier Division whipping boys Hook Norton (5-3). Since beating Ascot United 4-0 in early September, Binfield have not recorded a win on their travels in three attempts. That is a record they will be looking to put straight at Alfredian Park.
Learning Curve But Delighted - 23rd October
Steve McClurg admits his high-flying Binfield still have a lot to learn, but he is delighted with the impact they have made in their first 15 games in the Hellenic Premier Division.
The Moles beat Malmesbury Victoria 1-0 on Saturday to record their eighth win of the campaign. And, ahead of a rare weekend off, McClurg has praised the efforts of his side so far this season. He said: "We have learned a lot in the last three or four weeks and we will continue to learn as we go along. At the moment myself, Richard Whitty and Mark Tallentire are all delighted with the players. I've said it before, it's not just about the 11 that go out on the pitch, it's a squad game. And everyone is playing their part. A lot of these lads play Saturday, Sunday and Monday, so the rest will probably do them good. Then we'll all be raring to go against Wantage."
Last Saturday Johnny Dyer (left) notched his first goal for the club after joining from Fleet, as the Moles saw off the challenge of Malmesbury. McClurg added: "It was a good result. We played really well on Saturday. They looked a good side, they were well-organised and we played some very good football. We had a few chances in the first half and the goal we got was a very good one. There were four or five passes and then James Suarez did a dummy and Johnny Dyer slid the ball into the net. Then about five minutes later we had the same kind of move again, without the goal on the end. It was good to see really.
In the second half Jermaine Gumbs came on and had a good chance and Callum Whitty went close. It would have been nice to get a few more goals but we are happy with three points and a clean sheet."
Manager McLurg and the rest of the club would like to wish Kris Day (right) the best of luck. The popular winger had a serious operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on Monday. McClurg said: "My thoughts and the thoughts of all the coaching staff and everyone else at the club are with Kris. He had a serious operation on Monday, but the signs are that everything has gone well, so we are all keeping our fingers crossed. He is a good lad and we are hoping to have him back at the club soon."
Day has made five appearances for the Moles this season.
Can't Explain - 16th October
Steve McClurg admits he can't explain his Binfield side's mixed fortunes this week.
Last Saturday the out-of-sorts Moles were thumped 4-1 by fellow high-flyers Flackwell Heath. But they bounced back on Monday night with a 2-1 home win against Bicester Town. McClurg said: "We just didn't turn up on Saturday, sometimes that happens and you just can't legislate for it. That's football. When you lose it's alway nice to have the chance to play straight away, so to get back to winning ways on Monday was a bonus."
On Saturday Riccardo Cannon struck twice as the Heathens eased past Binfield, who had Dave Fenton sent off just before the break for two yellow cards. Adam Davis and Paul Gilbert grabbed the other goals for the hosts before Justin McClurg responded late on for the Moles after good work from Johnny Dyer. McClurg added: "It was very disappointing. They looked a very good side. We didn't play well but we have to move on now."
And the Moles did just that on Monday. Fenton gave them the perfect start with a third minute free-kick and Callum Whitty doubled the lead before the break. However, McClurg admits his side were nearly made to pay for missing a host of other chances as they dominated the first half. He said: "We played very well in the first half and could have been four or five-nil up. As it was we only scored two and then we let them back into the game in the second half. Chris Adams had to make one good save at the end, but to be fair their keeper made five or six really good saves too. At the end of the day the important thing was the three points and getting back to winning ways. They did not look a bad side. They didn't stop trying."
The Moles host fellow rookie Premier Division rivals Malmesbury Victoria tomorrow. The Vics gained promition from Division One West last season.
Spoilt For Choice - 8th October
Steve McClurg had the luxury of playing no fewer than 23 players as Binfield romped to two impressive wins in league and cup this week.
The Moles beat Witney United 2-0 in the league on Saturday courtesy of goals in each half from Jermaine Gumbs and James Suarez. And on Monday McClurg rang the changes as his side beat Lydney Town 3-1 in the Hellenic Floodlit Cup.
McClurg said: "On Saturday I wanted to shake things up a bit so I brought in Gary Callaway at the back, Steve Nebbett in the midfield and Justin McClurg up front, and it worked well. "That was no judgement on the players that didn't play. But I knew those players would bring a little but more to a few areas. It was a really solid performance against a good side."
On Monday Callum Whitty marked his first start after returning from injury with two goals and Callaway got the third as a much-changed Moles side beat Lydney. McClurg said: "I wanted to give as many people as possible a run out because it really is a squad game these days. And to be fair we played some really good football at the end." Monday also saw former Finchampstead midfielder Scott Bursill make his debut from the bench. McClurg added: "I made Scott my captain as a 17-year-old at Finch. He is a quality player and he will only enhance our squad."
On Saturday Binfield travel to Flackwell Heath. The former leaders have lost just once this season, but McClurg is refusing to lower his expectations. He said: "We are looking forward to it. They are one of the best sides in the league, but we will be going there to win. We go into every game looking to win. Okay, we know won't win every game in the whole season, but that is the attitude I like to go in with."
McLurg Confident - 2nd October
Steve McClurg is confident his side will bounce back from last Saturday's cup thumping at the hands of lower division opposition. The Hellenic Premier Division newboys were humbled 6-1 at home to Division One (West) leaders Slimbridge in the Bluefin Insurance Challenge Cup. But McClurg thinks his side have the mental strength to put that behind them as they turn their attentions back to the league.
He said: "It is disappointing. We would have liked to have a bit of a run in the cup, but that's football. You have to take it as it comes. The league is the priority and we are happy where we are in that. They say it's a funny old game. And it is when your winning, but not when you lose."
Slimbridge went in front in the sixth minute through a Tom Cole penalty before James Suarez pulled Binfield level. But goals by Rob Hine and Marvin Roberts either side of the break put the visitors in charge. With six minutes to go Cole slotted his second penalty and stoppage time goals from Roberts and Carl Palmer completed the rout. McClurg added: "We went 3-1 down and it was all or nothing really. We threw players forward and their keeper made some great saves. For 15 or 20 minutes we had them pegged back, but we lost all our discipline at the end. 6-1 at home sounds like an absolute thrashing, but it wasn't like that really. They are a good side, well-organised and we were in and out of the game a bit. So they punished us."
Things didn't get any better for the Moles on Wednesday night as they went down 1-0 at Old Woodstock Town in the Hellenic Premier Division. They will be looking to bounce back in this Saturday's home fixture against Witney Town, although McClurg is not expecting an easy ride against a side that finished third in the division last season. He said: "They have been one of the top teams in the division for the last two or three seasons, so we expect them to be strong. To be honest we expect every team in this division to be strong. There are no easy games."
Binfield will be without new signing Johnny Dyer, who pulled a muscled 29 minutes into his debut against Slimbridge. But Callum Whitty continues to work his way back to fitness after two substitute appearances. McClurg said: "He is not fit yet. He needs a few games, but he will get those in the next few weeks. We've got a big squad and we'll need everyone to dig in."
The Same As Any Other - 11th September
Steve McClurg says he will be treating Saturday's derby at Ascot United as any other game as the Moles look to continue their impressive start to life in the Hellenic Premier Division.
Last season's Division One (East) champions picked up 11 points from their first seven matches at the higher level and McClurg is looking to continue that against their near neighbours. He said: "I just look at it as another game really and we will prepare for it in the same way. I know there will be a lot of local players and a bit of rivalry, but as a manager it is just another game. I take one game at a time and the next game is always the most important one."
Binfield travelled to Shrivenham on Wednesday securing a point in a closely contended 2-2 draw.Though Binfield have thus far not managed to take their impressive league form into the cup competitions. Following August's FA Cup exit, they were knocked out of the FA Vase last Saturday by Wessex Premier Division side New Milton Town. The Moles went down 2-1 after extra time despite a goal from Steve Nebbett. McClurg admits his team were punished for not taking their chances,he said: "We had a lot of possession and we created chances but we didn't take them. Goals win games, and we didn't score enough of our chances. They scored at the start of extra time and we equalised, but they managed to sneak one at the very end. There was only about a minute left then. We managed to force four corners in a row, but could not get the goal. We're bitterly disappointed really because the Vase is a good competition for a club our size."
Another blow for the club is the departure of Garry Sargeant, who had started the season well. McClurg said: "He has decided to leave, that's his decision. He has not transferred to another team."
Nothing To Fear - 28th August
Steve McClurg feels his Binfield team have nothing to fear in the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier Division after seeing them record their second win of the season against Hook Norton on Monday night.
The newly promoted side slipped to their first league defeat against Pegasus Juniors on Saturday. But McClurg thinks their reaction two days later - which saw them beat Norton 2-1 - proves they mean business. He said: "We are four games in now and we have won two, drawn one and lost one. Obviously I'm not so pleased about the loss, but we have shown that if we play properly and are on top of our game we can beat teams in this division. Saturday was very disappointing. With no disrespect at all to Pegasus, I really think we should have beaten them, but we played well below par. They did not look to be as good as the sides we have already played, but we did not turn up so we got beaten."
And McClurg feels consistency will be the key to his teams fortunes this season. He said: "We have played quite a few teams in this league in the cup before and done well. But those were one-off games. Doing well in the league is about turning up and being on form in every game, and that is what we have to do. We have a good squad of players here so we should be able to compete if we take one game at a time."
"Monday was much better, I am very pleased with how we played. In truth we could have been 4-0 by half-time. We hit the bar and then had one disallowed in the second half. They scored with the last kick of the game which was a bit of a downer. But it was good to get the win."
Next up for Binfield is a trip to Carterton tomorrow, before they host Marlow Town on Monday. McClurg added: "We played Carterton in the cup last year. It was a 0-0 draw and then we beat them on penalties. I expect it to be another tight game. Marlow have a good manager and will be tough too, but we are concentrating on Carterton first."
Tighten Up - 21st August
Steve McClurg has called on his side to cut out the individual mistakes after they shipped nine goals in two games.
The Moles' first ever game in the FA Cup ended in disappointment last Saturday as they lost 5-3 to Colliers Wood in an ExtraPreliminary round clash at Stubbs Lane.
Binfield returned to Hellenic League Premier Division action on Monday night but things didn't improve from a defensive point of view as it required a 90th minute equaliser from Scotty Williams to rescue a point from a 4-4 draw against Oxford City.
The Moles will need to tighten things up for this Saturday's trip to Pegasus Juniors and Monday night's home clash against Hook Norton, but McClurg is confident his side will learn from their errors. He said: "We're making individual mistakes at the moment, which isn't like us, but we're getting punished for them which is what happens at a higher level of football. We've been taught some harsh lessons in the last couple of games and we need to learn quickly that we can't afford to stand off teams and let them play or they'll kill you. But I'm confident we can do that as there's tremendous character in the squad and the players know what needs to be done. It was really disappointing to go out of the FA Cup so early but we're still scoring goals and have taken four points from our first two league games so it's not been too bad a start."
Binfield never recovered from conceding three goals in the opening 20 minutes against Colliers Wood as one of the most historic days in the club's 117-year history ended in disappointment. A crowd of 155 had gone to Stubbs Lane for the club's first ever outing in the FA Cup, but Wood acted as party poopers by effectively killing the game off inside the opening quarter.
"We were very slow out of the blocks," admitted McClurg. "We played well in patches but we gave them too much room and they were just a bit quicker to things than us. There was a real carnival atmosphere at the club beforehand so to find ourselves 3-0 down so early was really disappointing."
Binfield managed to put their FA Cup exit behind them on Monday as they salvaged a point from a thrilling 4-4 draw against Oxford City Nomads. The Moles again fell behind early on but despite going behind on four occasions, they hit back every time to rescue a point in a never-say-die display. McClurg added: "If I hadn't been one of the managers I'd have said it was a fantastic game of football. Their first three goals were 'gimmees' but we showed real spirit to get back into it and get a point."
Garry Callaway will miss this Saturday's trip to Pegasus, while Jason Day is unavailable for the next two weeks.
Binfield In The Times - 17th August
Over half a million Times readers this morning feverishly opened the sports pages to read the news they had all been waiting for. The big sports story of the weekend - Usain Bolt running 100 metres in 9.58? Jessica Ennis winning the first ever Heptathlon World gold medal for Britain? Arsenal scoring 6 at Everton?. . . . . no Hellenic League Binfields' first ever outing in the FA Cup.