‘We owe them one’ – Harry Birmingham gunning for cup revenge in biggest game in US Portsmouth’s history

Harry Birmingham looked ahead to the biggest game in US Portsmouth's history and declared: We owe Binfield one.

By Lewis Mason
Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 12:05 pm
Harry Birmingham, left, in action for US Portsmouth during last weekend's FA Vase quarter-final win against Flackwell Heath. Picture: Stuart Martin
Harry Birmingham, left, in action for US Portsmouth during last weekend's FA Vase quarter-final win against Flackwell Heath. Picture: Stuart Martin

US host the Hellenic League Premier Division side in the FA Vase semi-final at the Victory Stadium on Saturday with the winners progressing to a dream Wembley final on May 22.

Unlike previous Vase opponents Millbrook, Tavistock and Flackwell Heath, US have played Binfield in recent times.

And Birmingham still has some lingering thoughts from the previous meeting between the two teams

The centre-back, 22, was part of the US side beaten 3-2 on the road at Binfield in the FA Cup extra preliminary round in August 2019.

That was boss Glenn Turnbull’s third game in charge, but seven of the starting XI - Birmingham, Tom Jeffes, Tom Cain, Jack Chandler, Josh Hazell, Tom Price and Harry Sergeant - are likely to start again this Saturday.

In contrast, Binfield only had three players in the FA Cup win - player-manager Jamie McClurg, full-back Liam Gavin and wide midfielder Joel Valentin - who started last weekend’s FA Vase victory at Long Eaton.

US led 2-1 at Binfield before subs Josh Howell (82 mins) and Josh Helmore (85) turned the tie on its head.

It's a defeat Birmingham certainly hasn't forgotten.

'We played them last season. We know a lot about them and it’s one of those occasions where we feel like we owe them one now.

'They knocked us out last year so I feel like we owe it to return the favour.’

Birmingham admits the FA Vase run is a footballing highlight he is unlikely to better.

‘I don’t think you’d be able to top it, ever, there’s nothing in my life I’d be able to do in terms of beating that experience (getting to Wembley).

‘Even if we don’t get there and it comes to it and it’s not our day, I don’t think anything in football will top what we’ve done this year.'

Incredibly, US are aiming to make Binfield the seventh higher division side they've defeated in eight FA Vase rounds.

Birmingham believes a big reason behind their run to this stage is teams 'underestimating' them - and he hopes Binfield do the same.

He added: 'I think they’ll (Binfield) probably be underestimating us as well. They got a good win (5-0 at Long Eaton) but they’ll be coming in with confidence and thinking, ‘we beat these last year,’ but that’s going to go into our favour.

'I feel like everyone this year has underestimated us and it’s worked for us perfectly.

‘Even Tavistock said they hadn’t done any research on us and things like that. It’s fine, teams can keep underestimating us, and we’ll hopefully keep beating them if they carry on doing that.'