Written by: Leigh @beakster99
The 2017-18 season is finally over and all the trophies have been collected. Based on the final team-sheet of the season v Folkestone Invicta, I have prepared a short summary of the season on each BTFC player. Hope it brings back some good memories.
ALAN JULIAN: (Total Appearances 62/Goals 0; League 45/0). With 18 League clean sheets, Alan made a huge contribution during the season, pulling off vital saves at key moments. His high standards were maintained throughout the campaign, earning him the deserved accolade of “Players, Player of the Year”. Highlights include his sensational double-stop in the FA Cup Qualifier v Thamesmead Town, his display v Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Trophy and Man of the Match performance at Margate. Passed a little under the radar due to the success of the team. However, Alan made critical saves in matches when called upon.
Kevin FOLEY: (T:21/0; L:15/0). Kevin’s season was curtailed by injury. However, when we saw him in the team, his obvious Premiership pedigree was apparent. Calm and assured on the ball, he added solidity and experience to the back line. Able to play centrally or in the full-back position.
Josh URQUHART: (T:58/0; L:40/0). Josh was a mainstay of the team either in the full-back position or on the left hand side of the back three. Given lack of cover for his position, Josh was rarely rested and, after a short period of adaption, maintained good form during the season. A vocal presence at the back, he was able to push forward and made notable assists including home and away v Harrogate Town in the FA Trophy. Has an extremely long throw that, used selectively, can be as dangerous as a corner.
Dean INMAN:(T:40/3; L:29/0). Signed in October 2017, from Maidenhead United, Dean became our record signing. He slotted straight into our back-line and enhanced options for playing out of defence. A strong header of the ball, Dean helped add defence solidity to the team. Did not manage to score in the League but presence in opposition area for set pieces saw him register a number of assists. Selected in Non-League Paper “Team of the Week” for his impressive performance v Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Trophy. Looked initially more comfortable in a back four but has adapted to the three at back system.
Joe KIZZI: (T:39/1; L:30/1). Signed in October 2017, Joe settled into the team quickly and made a strong start alternating between right full back and centre back. Good decision maker and able to play the ball out of defence calmly. Tactical flexibility was shown by the way he coped admirably when asked to play within a back three. Despite not having played higher than step three, Joe looked at ease alongside team-mates of higher renown. In my view, he was a colossus at the back in the final weeks and is now one of the best defenders at the club. Should prosper in National South.
Danny WALDREN:(T:65/6; L:41/4). Danny proved to be the engine of the midfield either operating in tandem with Paine or as the main holding player. Blues midfield looked far more secure with this tough tackler closing down rivals and leading transition of the ball. Proved this point, coming on at home v Hendon, adding control to the midfield, and regular starter thereafter. Shows great ability to drift around the edge of the box and shoot explosively from range. Over the course of the season, he shone as the ultimate team player and, leading by example, was rightly installed as captain. Killed off Met Police with the fifth goal in the Velocity Cup Final and proudly lifted the silverware as Captain.
Sam DEERING: (T:67/15; L:44/12). Sam added creativity and goals to the midfield either from a left-sided position cutting inside or, placed more centrally, ahead of the defensive screen. Blues played their best football through Sam who was able to spread play, find space in pockets further up the field, and chip in with important goals. Given the squad composition, Sam was the one player that I felt we would struggle to replace if injured. Scored a memorable double at home to Worthing, settled a tight affair with the only goal at home to Dorking, and even climbed above three defenders to nod us level at Burgess Hill (A). So important to how we play and very prominent with goals and assists through the season. Rightly chosen as Harry & Glenn’s Player of the Year. Immense talent.
Robbie EVANS: (T:55/3; L:36/1). A valuable, left-sided utility player, Robbie is more comfortable in a midfield role but sufficiently adaptable to do a good job for the team at the back on left side. Superb work ethic and tireless runner, Robbie’s level of commitment and endeavour is unmatched. Man of the Match v Leatherhead (H) as he compensated for the Blues being reduced to ten with an all-action midfield display. Will be remembered above all for his smart finish, scoring our first goal v Chelmsford City in the Essex Senior Cup Final. Also notched in League v Burgess Hill Town (H). All teams need a “Robbie Evans”.
Matt PAINE:(T:47/3; L:31/3)). After a period away on loan, Matt showed great character to force his way back into the team. Extremely versatile, Matt can slot in at right back or play defensive midfielder role. Looks to have established himself in a strong partnership alongside skipper, Waldren. Goes under the radar but fulfils a vital role, tracking the midfield runners, putting in tackles, and putting his body on the line to block goal-bound efforts. My MoTM for his defensive display in a scrappy 1-0 home win v Thurrock. Saved a certain goal v Staines (H) and popped up with a header to put us in front. Unsung hero.
Jamie O’HARA: (T:28/3; L:17/3). A campaign sadly disrupted by injury. That Jamie managed to feature so prominently in the title run-in is testament to a lot of hard work on the fitness front and determination to contribute to the team. Unquestioned quality when fully fit, he showed his passing range in the final months of the season, delivering a superb performance in the win v Tonbridge (H). Used in central midfield, Jamie looked best at the base of the diamond where he set the tempo for play and launched attacks. Even managed to score with his head v Needham Market (H). Signed off with a special goal to level up in the last minute v Folkestone (H).
Ricky MODESTE: (T:52/11; L:36/6). Ricky’s dribbling skills on the wing, electric pace, ability to beat his man & superb crossing ability stood out during the season. Provided so many assists this season that I lost count. Seemed to draw inspiration from becoming a full international for Grenada, Ricky’s very good performances ascended to another level after Christmas. Regularly swung games in our favour and, during our sticky spell, he was, in my view, our best player. His curling special beyond the keeper v Staines (H) was his best goal. However, vital contributions included his last minute winner v Tooting (H), winner v Dorking (H), destruction of Hungerford Town (replay), and, on as a substitute, turning the game back in favour of the Blues v Burgess Hill Town (A).
Jake ROBINSON: (T:66/57; L:43/34): Rightly named Player of the Season by Supporters and justified every penny spent on his transfer fee. Including the Cups, he scored an astonishing 57 goals in the season, which eclipsed the existing club record. His close association with the fans was exemplified by his 57thminute goal v Thurrock (H) on Boxing Day. A poignant memorial to long-term Blues fan, Nigel Harris, who sadly passed away, aged 57, the week before. During the campaign, we saw goals from a variety of positions but, in my view, none better than the 90 yard finish v Dulwich (A), which went viral on youtube. Supporters voted the excellent strike v Brightlingsea (H) as their favourite and it was one among many special goals scored by Jake. For me, the second goal v Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Trophy was Premiership class. Chasing a long ball, Jake smashed home from an acute angle across the keeper. Watch his celebration, he knows it was special! We were fortunate to witness no less than six hat-tricks this season from Jake. However, his double v Staines (H) of special goals, after being initially rested, ranks high in the memory.
Billy BRICKNELL: (T:54/34; L:34/15). We have to start with that magnificent triple in the Velocity Cup Final (aka “The Bricknell Final”) v Met Police. Billy’s 8 minute hat-trick, including two long range finishes, left us in no doubt as to his massive talent. That he notched three goals in the same final 12 months previously is even more incredible. During the season, he weighed in, as usual, with his heavy tally of goals and kicked off with a brace against Dulwich (A). Although scoring regularly, our wealth of striking options saw him support from the bench later in the campaign. Frequently called upon, he contributed with vital goals, including his superb header v Staines (H). Impeccable from the spot, he converted important penalties v Enfield (H), Brightlingsea (A) & v Wingate & Finchley (A) to pass the significant milestone of 100 goals for the club. Club Legend.
Adam CUNNINGTON: (T:59/28; L:39/19). With five goals over the August Bank Holiday week-end, Adam started the season strongly. A regular goal-scorer, and focal point of the Billericay attack, he contributed heavily in terms of assists and providing an outlet when under pressure. Lauded for his aerial prowess, Adam’s ability on the deck is not always appreciated. Testimony to his all-round game was the wonderful overhead finish v Brightlingsea (H) and his rifled top corner finish v Harrogate (replay). Got us out of jail with that late equaliser v Margate (H). Even put in a MoTM performance on his birthday v Merstham (H) with an impressive double strike that brought up our 100thgoal of the season.
Nick WHEELER: (T:26/3;L:19/0). Skilful winger with the ability to beat his man and put crosses into danger areas. With strong competition for places, we did not see many starts for Nick. However, when utilised, he provided good balance on the right side and am sure the “two-touch king” could show more if he gets an opportunity.
Liam Hughes: (T:15/2; L:13/1). Unfairly criticised at the start, as he adapted to life at a new club and League, Liam proved his worth in the final months of the season. Has strong aerial ability allied with good close control. Made the difference, as a substitute, with his strength and heading power. Highlights include scoring the winner v Tonbridge (H) and making our late equaliser v Wingate & Finchley (H).