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7 March 2017 – Ryman Premier League

Hendon 1 – Billericay Town 0

Billericay slipped to a stoppage time defeat against relegation-threatened Hendon to leave their play-off ambitions hanging by a thread.

The Blues stuck with the same starting xi that had seen off Harlow at the weekend with Ibrahim Diallo being drafted on to the bench to provide some defensive cover.

An early mistake from Skipper Rob Swaine almost gifted Hendon a dream start but his centre-half partner Danny Fitzsimons was alive to the situation and made a fine covering challenge. Billericay slowly got into the game and Assombalonga was unfortunate the ball failed to break kindly for him as he burst through. The Blues had the first of many penalty appeals waved away as Bricknell was hauled down in the box. Hendon broke quickly and were awarded a free-kick of their own on the edge of the box but Julian was left untroubled as the ball was spooned high over the bar.

Assombalonga and Bricknell both had shots off-target before Bricknell was forced to leave the field injured midway through the half, having been kicked in the eye by Lee, an offence deemed to be worthy of no more than a free-kick by the referee. The Blues’ top scorer was replaced by Lewis Taaffe and while Billericay continued to have the majority of possession, their build-up play was often laboured enabling Hendon to get bodies behind the ball and deal with the threats posed relatively comfortably. McLeod did manage to get behind the Hendon defence on a couple of occasions but elected to shoot when perhaps better options were available. A half of few chances ended with Cunnington heading Konchesky’s corner over the bar.

Town started the second half better with McLeod shooting wide. Their latest penalty shout was turned down as Swaine was wrestled to the ground and a wayward back-pass eluded Lovelock but sadly for The Blues the ball bounced just wide of the far post. Swaine then had a diving header from another corner blocked on the line and Assombalonga was unable to convert a couple of half-chances. Hendon had their moments and Ibe almost scored from a breakaway but he hit his effort wide.

Billericay continued to do most of the pressing but Konchesky’s free-kick was easily saved and Assombalonga sent another attempt off-target. It was Grays revisited as Hendon snatched the lead in stoppage time – another Billericay attack was thwarted and a quick through ball sent Da Costa clear. The winger held his nerve to finish well beyond Julian.

Billericay should have been given the opportunity to equalise but had another penalty appeal waved away, this time for the clearest of handballs, but the decision summed up the match for them and the final whistle followed soon after to end a disappointing evening for the visiting fans.

The Blues: Julian, Eyong, Sprague (Moore), Konchesky, Swaine, Fitzsimons, Assombalonga, Johnson, Bricknell (Taaffe), Cunnington, McLeod (Krasniqi). SNU Giddens, Diallo

Town Crier MotM: Tambeson Eyong

Attendance: 183

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