MATCH REPORT & PLAYER RATINGS – GRAYS ATHLETIC 2 BILLERICAY TOWN 7
July 17th, 2019
Written by Leigh from @btfcliveradio
Billericay Town cruised to a 7-2 friendly win against Isthmian North side, Grays Athletic FC, at Aveley last night. An impressive performance saw striker Jake Robinson hit the goal trail with a predatory hat-trick, while strike partner, Adam Cunnington, and attacking midfielder, Alfie Potter, both bagged braces. The home side, which showed character and commitment to their style of play, replied through left-winger Joao Carlos and substitute striker, Emmanuel Ogunrinde.
Back after time away, new father, Harry Wheeler made a welcome return to the dug-out, selecting a strong starting line-up. Featuring new recruit Gunning in the centre, the back three had a solid aura supplemented by Charlie Wassmer and ex-Stevenage right back and skipper, Ronnie Henry, who once again bore the arm-band. Dagenham arrival, right-back, Ben Nunn, and left-sided, Callum Kennedy, played wing-backs. The midfield looked well balanced with the inventive Jack Paxman, the tackling strength of Danny Waldren and the craft and industry of Alfie Potter. The front two comprised the well-known combination of Robinson and Cunnington. Both enjoyed productive evenings.
Billericay were to prove a tough obstacle for Grays to negotiate, as Robinson opened the scoring on 5 minutes to give the visiting Blues the lead. With Grays seeking to adopt a more attractive, passing style of football, efforts to bring the ball out of defence back-fired as Paxman gained possession. Advancing on the left of midfield, Blues most creative midfielder soon drifted into the opposition box. Reaching the bye-line, he had time and space to pick out Robinson with a square pass that was so precise the application of a simple, side-footed finish was enough to secure the break-through.
A second assist from Paxman was the source of goal number 2 on 18 minutes as the ball was again picked up on the right side of midfield after Grays had been loose in possession. Shifting the ball left to Potter, the ex-Mansfield man evaded a challenge and from just outside the penalty area expertly curled the ball around the covering defender and past goalkeeper, Connor Pearce, into the bottom far corner of the net.
With Nunn and Kennedy revelling in advanced wing-back roles, it would be the latter from the left-side who would provide the pinpoint cross for Cunnington to power home a short-range header to put the Blues three up on 20 minutes.
Grays faith in the passing game reaped dividends as a 14 pass move, shifting the ball across defence and forward saw them equalise through Carlos on 30 minutes with a fantastic left footed strike from just outside the area that flew unerringly past Alan Julian and nestled into the bottom corner.
Billericay responded through the resurgent Potter, with a remarkable 38th minute strike. Receiving the ball on the right from Nunn, he sprang forward, evading two initial despairing challenges to enter the penalty area. Having dribbled around another pair of Grays defenders, and faced with the goalkeeper, a shimmy sent him to the floor while Potter was left to walk the ball into the net and score a magical individual goal.
Half-time changes were minimal – that would all occur later – with only Tambeson Eyong entering the back three for Billericay in place of Gunner and Grays switching to their first choice goalkeeper, Danny Sambridge, formerly of Coggleshall Town. Blues extended their lead in the 48th and 68th minutes as first Cunnington drilled home from 12 yards after a Nunn cross was palmed by Danny Sambridge into his path and, 20 minutes later, Robinson made the most of a missed kick to walk the ball round Sambridge, and “pirouette” the ball into the net for his second goal of the game.
With a raft of substitutes for both sides entering after the hour mark, it was Grays youngster, Emmanuel Ogurinde, on 61 minutes who pulled a goal back for the home side 10 minutes later with a powerful finish from the right side after latching onto a through ball.
With the game losing momentum after a series of substitutions, there was still time for Billericay to have the final word with the completion of a Robinson hat-trick on 86 minutes. The goal was made by Trialist Number 19, who also featured on the left wing against the All-Stars and versus the Southend X1. Stationed in central midfield, 19 won the ball well from an opponent and strode forward to the edge of the area. Cutting inside his man, a pinpoint pass to Robinson was delivered who chipped home past the goalkeeper to finish the scoring.
Billericay Player Ratings vs Grays Athletic FC
Alan Julian, 7, Goalkeeper – Good early distribution. Beaten twice by good but not at fault & had little else to do. Almost reached the well-placed Carlos strike.
Ben Nunn, 8, Right Wing-Back – Maintained a high line, getting forward regularly, and cleared one off line. Delivered assist for Potter’s wonder goal and deep cross forced the goal-keeping error that led to Cunnington’s finish for 5-1.
Callum Kennedy, 8, Left Wing-Back – Operated very advanced, driving home the advantage in midfield. Good set piece delivery and yet another assist with a precise cross for Cunnington to head home. Another commanding outing.
Ronnie Henry, 7, Centre-Back – Secure on the right side of the back three, used the ball well with composed passes supplied into midfield, snuffed out threats.
Charlie Wassmer, 7, Centre-Back – The “immovable object”, a constant barrier to the Grays attackers, powerful aerial game, and vital tackling cover on breaks.
Gavin Gunning, 8, Centre-Back – Highly impressive, commanding physical presence, and quality on the ball with runs forward reminiscent of Harry Maguire. Big gun signing, big gun performance.
Alfie Potter, 9, *STAR MAN* Midfield – Most impressive performance in a Billericay shirt. A man inspired, constant threat picking up the ball and running forward, linked impressively with Paxman, and two goals – one very good, the second simply magical. Playing like a new signing.
Danny Waldren, 7, Midfield – Patrolled central midfield areas, ensuring Billericay dominance of the pitch, unlucky as several good passes ended with marginal offside decisions.
Jack Paxman, 8, Midfield – Frequently burst forward and combined very well with Potter. Comfortable on the ball and retained possession under pressure. Dangerous in the final third, regularly picking up the loose ball and showing good individual skill to create chances.
Jake Robinson, 8, Striker – Building sharpness with pre-season and showed several instinctive touches with impressive instant control. Good work-rate and on the spot to secure an opportunist hat-trick. Finding his best form.
Adam Cunnington, 8 , Striker – Two well-taken goals with a trademark header and drilled finish past covering defender and goal-keeper that demanded a cool head. Involved aerially but participated well in hold-up within a team that kept long balls to a minimum in this fixture.
Tambeson Eyong, 7, Centre-Back – Impressed in his 45 minutes with his speed and tenacity in the tackle. Clearly inspired by Gunning, he set off on several 30 yard runs forward with the ball to launch danger. Best when in defensive role.
Moses Emmanuel, Striker (Not enough time to mark) – Looked lively and competed well after a spell out with injury. No lingering concerns as he settled well into the attack and remained a threat to the Grays defence in his 23 minutes.
Grays Athletic FC
1Connor Pearce (’45, Danny Sambridge); 2. Nathan Fox (’70, 18. Denzil Adebiyi); 3. Macaulay Joynes; 4. Ashley Miller; 5. Steve King (’61, 12. Jack McQueen); 6. Connor Martin 7. Frankie Hession-Harris (’61, 15. George Doyle); 8. Stanley Muguo (’78, Carl Kayembe); 9. Callum Taylor (’61, Emmanuel Ogurinde); 10. Anthony Stokes (’78, Warren Kayembe) 11. Joao Carlos
1Alan Julian (’70, Trialist No. 13); 2. Ben Nunn; 3. Callum Kennedy (’70, Trialist No. 15) ; 4. Ronnie Henry (’61, Trialist No. 17); 5. Charlie Wassmer; 6. Alfie Potter (’70, Trialist No. 19); 7. Jack Paxman; 8. Gavin Gunning (’45, 12. Tambeson Eyong); 9. Jake Robinson; 10. Danny Waldren; 14. Adam Cunnington (’67, 18. Moses Emmanuel).