Tuesday 21 February 2017 – Alan Turvey Trophy Semi-Final
Billericay Town 4 – South Park 3
Ten-man Billericay withstood a second-half comeback from South Park to secure their place in the League Cup Final for the first time in 11 years and only the second time in their history.
The Blues made three changes to the weekend’s side including a debut for young centre half Priestly Farquharsen who replaced the injured Rob Swaine. It seemed like normal service had resumed for Billericay as they took the lead with just two minutes on the clock. A cross from Taaffe was headed towards goal by Ellul and BRICKNELL was on hand to divert the ball past Thomas and into the net.
Billericay dominated the first half and threatened to steam-roller their opposition as they launched waves of unanswered attacks. Johnson and Taaffe combined to set up another chance for Bricknell but this time he volleyed just wide. Next Ibrahim Diallo embarked on a surging run down the flank and found Taaffe whose cross was dummied by both Cunnington and Bricknell leaving Luke Moore free on the left but his shot lacked sufficient power to get past Thomas in the South Park goal. Bricknell sent another effort just over the angle of post and bar and Thomas saved well from Cunnington’s fierce shot.
Town doubled their lead on 23 minutes when Taaffe slipped the ball through to JOHNSON whose sweetly struck right foot shot from the edge of the box arrowed into the bottom corner. They added a third just five minutes later as Eyong burst into the penalty area before unselfishly squaring to TAAFFE who converted the simplest of chances.
South Park had not been in the game at all at this stage but they pulled one back after 40 minutes as Billericay failed to clear a throw-in and the ball fell to centre-half Dylan Merchant who rifled a shot into the net through a crowd of players. Billericay’s response was immediate however as Bricknell flicked the ball into the path of CUNNINGTON who showed good strength to hold off Merchant before drilling his right foot shot home.
South Park made a couple of changes at half-time in an attempt to turn the tide but it was an incident after 55 minutes that changed the complexion of the game completely. Young referee Ryan Whittaker immediately decided that Joe Ellul’s challenge on Sparks’ striker Kofi Quartey was worthy of a red card when perhaps a more experienced Official may have taken some more time over the decision and consulted his well-placed assistant. Nevertheless, Ellul had to go and it became a double whammy for The Blues as Ayling’s free-kick was headed in by Merchant.
The increased confidence in the visitors was almost visible as they made their man advantage count and pinned Billericay back in their own half. The deficit was reduced to one midway through the half as a long ball forward seemed to hold up in the wind and Jackson managed to get to the ball in front of Julian and slide home from a narrow angle.
It was backs to the wall stuff from The Blues now with Cunnington dropping deeper to help out his defence and making any number of important clearances and Eyong and Skipper for the night Matt Johnson continuing to keep the team going. Substitute Ayling shot over when well-placed and Farquharsen and Eyong both made timely challenges as Billericay managed to see out the game leaving them just one win away from a piece of silverware.
Blues: Julian, Diallo, Fitzsimons, Eyong, Farquharsen, Ellul, Taaffe, Johnson, Bricknell (Assombalonga), Cunnington, Moore (Krasniqi). SNU: Roberts, Layne, Giddens.
Attendance: 275 Town Crier MoTM: Adam Cunnington