Tuesday 28 February 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Enfield Town 2 – Billericay Town 2
Billericay took a hard-earned point away from Enfield Town’s Queen Elizabeth II Stadium but will once again consider that the rub of the green didn’t go their way at key points in the game.
Town boss Craig Edwards made two changes to the side that had beaten Hendon with Alex Stephenson, who had been recalled from a loan spell at Bishops Stortford, replacing the suspended Joe Ellul and new signing Mekhi McLeod replacing Lewis Taaffe who was suffering from a heavy cold.
Billericay made a fast start to the game as Johnson drew a good save from Nathan McDonald after some impressive wing play from McLeod. Cunnington then burst through the heart of the hosts’ defence but his shot was blocked for a corner. They took the lead in the fourth minute as CUNNINGTON latched on to an excellent cross from Seymour to score his fifth goal in only his sixth start for the Club. McLeod was proving to be a tricky customer for the Towners’ back-line as he fired a shot over the bar following a jinking run.
The Blues’ fans hoped that the game’s key moment had arrived in the 17th minute after the impressive Ottaway had hammered a shot against Julian’s post for Enfield Town, Billericay immediately countered and MCLEOD outstripped the home side’s defence before blasting an unstoppable shot beyond McDonald. In fact, the game changed three minutes later – Oliyide was brought down by Stephenson who was dismissed by the referee, considering that Oliyide had been denied a goal-scoring opportunity despite the winger appearing to have lost control of the ball. In a repeat of the Cup game against South Park, Billericay conceded from the resulting free-kick with Joseph converting Ottaway’s cross although this time the goal was far more contentious as Joseph was clearly in an off-side position as he side-footed the ball home.
Billericay looked rattled as they struggled to adapt to being a man down and Enfield Town fashioned a few chances before they equalised on 33 minutes. Kiangebeni swung in a cross from the left-hand side and Oliyide was unmarked in the penalty area to comfortably head past Julian. The remainder of the half belonged to the home side although Matt Johnson did send a pile driver of an effort just over the bar.
Billericay replaced the unfortunate Bricknell with Krasniqi at half time and this gave the visitors a much more compact shape to work from but Enfield Town continued to put The Blues under pressure as they cleverly used the whole width of the pitch to make the most of their man advantage. Swaine and Seymour made excellent challenges to deny Oliyide and Muleba respectively but it did seem as if Julian’s goal was living a charmed life as chances came and went for the hosts. Julian himself was in fine form and he made several good saves to maintain parity and as the half went on it appeared that Billericay’s stoic defending had seen off the hosts as both sides tired on the heavy surface.
Billericay had a golden opportunity to snatch an unlikely win deep into stoppage time as the tireless Cunnington fed substitute Chris Assombalonga in the inside right channel but he smashed his shot into the side-netting.
Blues: Julian, Diallo, Fitzsimons, Eyong (Assombalonga), Swaine, Stephenson, McLeod (Layne), Johnson, Bricknell (Krasniqi), Cunnington, Seymour. SNU: Giddens.
Town Crier MoTM: Adam Cunnington