Tuesday 28 March 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Billericay Town 0 – Dulwich Hamlet 2
The majority of the massive 1300-strong midweek crowd went home disappointed as Dulwich provided a remarkable turnaround from the weekend’s game to put a sizeable dent in Billericay’s play-off ambitions.
Unsurprisingly, Billericay stuck with the same xi that had comfortably beaten Dulwich just three days earlier, although the fact that Dulwich had made four changes to their team perhaps gave an indication of what was to come.
Hamlet set the early pace and Joe Ellul did well to deflect Ming’s cross behind for a corner. Dulwich retained possession from the set piece and Carew skewed his shot wide when well placed. For Billericay, Jamie O’Hara’s long range shot sailed well over the bar and Rob Swaine glanced his header wide from a Lawrence corner.
Dulwich took the lead after 21 minutes when a quickly-taken free-kick caught the Billericay defence napping. Carew’s pass found the lively Sekajja in acres of space in the penalty area and he deftly flicked his volley beyond Julian from 16 yards. The Blues’ response was immediate as Bricknell bundled the ball into the net but it was swiftly ruled out for a foul on the ‘keeper. Swaine then got his head to another Lawrence corner but it was deflected past the post.
Dulwich were much more of an attacking threat this time around as Tomlin headed Kargbo’s cross from the right-hand side over the bar and Julian made a save from Ming. Julian made a fantastic point-blank save from Sekajja as the ball broke to him following another Dulwich corner. Dulwich extended their lead on 33 minutes from another set-piece. Swaine bundled Sekajja over just outside the box and Carew’s effort took a slight deflection giving Julian no chance.
Billericay brought on Mekhi McLeod at half-time in an attempt to liven things up but he was largely a bystander, as in their haste to get back into the game, Billericay frequently resorted to long balls up to Cunnington rather than playing through their talented midfield.
Dulwich had further opportunities to extend their lead as Sekajja had another shot deflected behind and Carew couldn’t get enough power into his shot to beat Julian. Matt Johnson’s long throws continued to cause some alarm in the visitors’ defence but the ball never dropped to a Blue shirt and another Swaine header was off-target. Dulwich were still dangerous going forward and Julian made another good save from substitute Akinyemi’s cross-shot.
It wasn’t until the closing minutes that The Blues managed to create a spell of sustained pressure. Another long throw bounced around in the Dulwich box and Rob Swaine latched onto it but his powerful effort was tipped onto the bar by Preston. The final whistle went shortly afterwards to bring the curtain down on a disappointing evening for the massed ranks of Billericay support.
The Blues: Julian, Eyong, Lawrence, Konchesky (Sprague), Swaine, Ellul, O’Hara (McLeod), Johnson, Bricknell, Cunnington, Robinson (Krasniqi). SNU Fitzsimons, Taaffe
Town Crier MotM: Byron Lawrence Attendance: 1302
The Blues attracted a huge crowd of 1,305, the first 1,000+ attendance for a Tuesday night match since April 2005 when Chelmsford City were the victors.
The only other Tuesday night crowd on record that was bigger than tonight was when 1,704 saw Town beat Chelmsford City 2-1 in an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round Replay during October 1995.
Prior to these 1,057 saw Town beat Basildon United 1-0 in a J.T. Clark Memorial Trophy match in 1977. An Athenian League match with Grays Athletic ended 1-1 in 1978 having attracted 1,001 and 1,018 witnessed Dagenham & Redbridge win 4-1 in an FA Cup 1st Round Qualifier in 1992.
Julian, Eyong, Lawrence, Konchesky (Sprague), Swaine, Ellul, O’ Hara (McLeod), Johnson, Bricknell, Cunnington, Robinson (Krasniqi)