Manny Williams rolls back the years as Brandon Curtis scores a blinder for Binfield

Manny Williams. Photo: Philip J.A Benton/
Manny Williams. Photo: Philip J.A Benton/

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Tricky away visits to high-flying sides in the Isthmian South Central awaited both Thatcham Town and Binfield on Monday. 

While the Kingfishers’ first-half efforts went unrewarded in the end, the Moles returned from Buckinghamshire with a point, while a couple of memorable former Maidenhead United and Slough Town forwards found the net elsewhere in the league. 

A wonderful Brandon Curtis goal helped Binfield to a point at Marlow

While Binfield had wet weather and burst pipes to blame for a quiet December, January promises to be a far busier month for the former Vase finalists and began with a visit to 3rd-placed Marlow.

Taylor Morgan has donned Binfield’s number 9 shirt since Sean Moore’s departure and matched the striker’s scoring touch on Monday, giving his side a 1-0 lead after latching onto an incisive, floating pass from Brad Pagliaroli. 

Morgan’s opener was cancelled out by a Nawaf Naheer-Omar equaliser for Marlow before half-time but in the 79th minute, an individual effort from Brandon Curtis provided what looked to be a potential winner for the Moles. After sidestepping a duo of Marlow defenders, the former Wokingham & Emmbrook youngster found the opposite corner from range to spark elation among the away side at 2-1. 

That show of finishing and typically fluid movement from Curtis would’ve made for a memorable Binfield winner – had it not been for a late Blues equaliser courtesy of former Bracknell Town man Aaron McLeish-White, levelling the scores at 2-2.

Read more: Antonio Dennis’ sensational backheel helps Langley to Brook House hammering

Despite the disappointment of conceding so late, a point away to one of the league’s top contenders marked a strong start to a likely crucial month in the Moles’ league season. 8 further matches are scheduled for Garry Haylock’s side in January alone, with recent postponements and their excellent FA Cup and Trophy progress leaving a backlog of fixtures to fulfil in the coming weeks. 

That run is scheduled to start this Friday, with Ashford Town visiting Hill Farm Lane for a 7:30pm kick-off. 

Thatcham’s strong December form was halted by a 2-0 defeat to Basingstoke Town

With three wins from three, December had proven to be an impressive month for Thatcham Town. Yashwa Romeo and goalkeeper Toby Fisher were both winners of Isthmian League monthly awards after that perfect run, with the Kingfishers steadily climbing away from relegation danger ahead of Monday’s match. 

However, the trip to their closest league neighbours in Basingstoke Town was always going to prove a challenge – the ‘Stoke are among the league’s form teams and boast plenty of proven winners in their ranks, including ex-Bracknell pair Michael Atkinson and James Clark who both arrived at Winklebury last summer. 

Atkinson was typically industrious in a scoreless first half that provided a handful of good opportunities to both sides. Most notably, Mo Ceesay’s effort for Thatcham glanced off the crossbar just before half-time, while James Clark forced a superb double save from Toby Fisher to keep the home side at bay. 

However, the first-half saves of Thatcham’s number one were soon undone by his own misplaced pass – a ball across Fisher’s own box was intercepted by Basingstoke’s George Reid, who finished into an empty net for 1-0. 

A second goal arrived just 3 minutes later but was more a mark of the ‘Stoke’s quality rather than any Thatcham wrongdoings. The prolific Bradley Wilson needed only a pocket of space to fire in his 15th league goal of the season, finding the bottom corner to put the home side 2-0 up. 

After the Kingfishers’ hard work had been interrupted by that pivotal 3-minute period, Yashwa Romeo was clearly keen to reshuffle his pack and push for a late comeback, making a trio of substitutions before the hour mark. 

Unfortunately, the changes were to no avail, though Romeo’s side can take some positives from a display that kept such a free-scoring side at bay for large portions of the match.

Four further away fixtures now await Thatcham Town before they return to their Waterside Park home on 24th January. 

Dave Tarpey’s brace for Leatherhead showed he retains the finishing prowess that once lit up York Road

Dave Tarpey. Photo: Neil Graham /
Dave Tarpey. Photo: Neil Graham /

While Dave Tarpey may have departed Berkshire shores last summer, the local legend is still making his presence felt in the Isthmian South Central and netted twice in a 4-3 Leatherhead win on Monday. 

The 34-year-old was a key feature in Bracknell Town’s title-winning season last term, netting 17 times in 25 league appearances before opting for a move to the Mole Valley to join the newly-relegated Tanners in May. 

In his most prolific years, Tarpey was a regular feature in the National League South scoring charts with Maidenhead United, cementing his legendary status with a 44-goal campaign as the Magpies won promotion in 2017. Now, 6 years on, the attacker is proving that his scoring touch is still yet to depart since his Surrey move. 

After his introduction as a half-time substitute, Tarpey’s first goal resulted from his anticipation to dash behind the Rovers backline following a speculative ball forward – a familiar sight for any York Road spectators of barely half a decade ago. 

In the 87th minute, it was the former Magpie’s turn to strike again, redirecting a low cross into the back of the net to hand Leatherhead a 4-3 victory. 

This term hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Tanners, with Tarpey and co falling 2-1 in their last Berkshire trip to Binfield and enduring a mixed season overall. However, this was a win that lifted them above Thatcham Town in the ever-congested South Central table, placing them 12th after spending much of the early season close to the relegation zone. 

A loss for the leaders and a Manny Williams goal arrived elsewhere in the league

Leaders Northwood’s 4-1 loss to Hanworth Villa was the league’s headline result on Monday, opening the doors to their closest challengers in Marlow and Walton & Hersham – both of whom failed to capitalise with a win of their own. 

Elsewhere, Manny Williams already has the roles of Burnham co-manager and Slough Town coach on his CV but still continues to make his mark on the pitch. The 41-year-old was on the scoresheet in Southall’s 3-1 derby win against Ashford Town.

A loss for Westfield means that Binfield could climb 2 places with a win this coming Friday. The Moles sit in 9th but their stellar home record this term suggests that more points could be on the horizon, with bottom-placed Guernsey also visiting Hill Farm Lane next Wednesday. 

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