Saturday 4 March 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Harlow Town 0 – Billericay Town 2
Billericay put in a measured and professional performance to win their derby game at Harlow Town and moved within six points of a play-off place with ten League games to play.
It had been a tumultuous couple of days for The Blues with the shock departure of Craig Edwards and his coaching staff. Owner Glenn Tamplin stepped into the breach as Caretaker Manager assisted by the ex-Aveley management duo of Justin Gardner and Anton Stephenson. Tamplin’s first team selection showed three changes from the midweek game with recalls for Ollie Sprague and Chris Assombalonga and a debut for ex-England International Paul Konchesky who played alongside Matt Johnson in the heart of midfield.
Billericay had a couple of early attempts as Mekhi McLeod cut inside from the left flank and saw his shot saved and Danny Fitzsimons fired a shot over from the edge of the box following a long throw. The game settled into a pattern with Billericay dominating the play but not really creating too much until the 23rd minute when Bricknell latched on to Fitzsimons’ clearance. The Blues’ leading marksman expertly lobbed the advancing Hughes in the Harlow goal but the ball was caught by the wind and bounced back off the foot of the post. Johnson then caught the home side off-guard with a quick throw to Konchesky whose pinpoint cross was met firmly by Cunnington but Hughes got down well to his right to make an excellent save.
Harlow then had their best spell of the half with Eyong making a great block to deny Gordon and Julian making a good save to push former Blues’ winger Junior Dadson’s shot behind for a corner. Billericay responded positively to the increased threat from the home side and took the lead in the 42nd minute. McLeod made a surging run down the left flank and his cross was met by CUNNINGTON at the far post who placed his header beyond Hughes’ despairing dive and into the bottom corner.
Harlow started the second half well as Syrus Gordon powered a shot just over. Billericay immediately showed the home side how to do it though as Cunnington went on a strong run and passed to McLeod. The winger slipped the ball through to BRICKNELL whose trickery created some space for himself before firing home from the edge of the box giving Hughes no chance. It was Bricknell’s 15th goal from just 20 starts since his move from Chelmsford.
Billericay were comfortably in charge now as they set themselves to manage the game out. They almost added a third as Cunnington’s thunderbolt was palmed onto the bar by Hughes. Bricknell was on-hand to tap in the rebound but he was to be denied his second of the day by the assistant’s flag. Taaffe, Krasniqi and Layne were all introduced by Tamplin as The Blues sought to mitigate the effect of the punishing artificial surface.
Sonko should have done better for the hosts as he lifted his effort over the bar from a corner and so should Pope as he headed over from another set piece but overall Billericay were well worth the three points and they will also be encouraged by a welcome clean sheet.
Blues: Julian, Eyong, Sprague, Konchesky, Swaine, Fitzsimons, Assombalonga (Taaffe), Johnson, Bricknell, Cunnington (Krasniqi), McLeod (Layne). SNU: Giddens, Moore
Town Crier MoTM: Mekhi McLeod