Saturday 15 April 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Leatherhead 3 – Billericay Town 2
Billericay tasted defeat for the third time in their last four League outings as their play-off hopes disappeared in the dust at Leatherhead.
It was The Blues’ third game in a run of four in nine days as they opted to stick with the same outfield players that had lifted the Alan Turvey Trophy earlier in the week, with the return of goalkeeper Alan Julian being the only change.
Billericay started brightly enough with experienced Tanners’ keeper Louis Wells palming Lawrence’s flick from an O’Hara free kick on to the bar and over, with the ball just eluding Fitzsimons from the resulting corner. The Blues were stunned as Leatherhead took the lead after 8 minutes. Julian made a fine save from D’Sean Theobold but Leatherhead worked the ball back to Kadell Daniel whose unstoppable 30 yard piledriver found the top corner. Things could have got worse for Billericay as Ellul was penalised for a shove in the box but Luke Moore’s spot-kick cannoned back off the post and the ex-Blues attacker was rightly penalised by the referee as he played the ball for a second time.
‘Ricay tried to work their way back in to the game as Lawrence pulled an effort wide before Wells made a regulation save from an O’Hara free kick. They got back on terms on 19 minutes as a deep corner was headed back across goal by Robinson and ELLUL was in the right place to nod the ball home. Leatherhead responded well with Julian making a fine stop to deny Moore while for Billericay Bricknell shot over having been slipped in by Robinson.
Billericay were struggling to come to terms with the hard, bumpy playing surface and given their clear height advantage, their well-rehearsed set-pieces might have been the best way forward but instead they opted to replace the long-throw option of Matt Johnson with tricky winger Mekhi McLeod at half-time. The two sides exchanged half-chances before Leatherhead took the lead after 53 minutes with former Hampton hotshot Charlie Moone jinking around several Blues’ defenders before slotting his shot into the bottom right hand corner.
Robinson had a near-post effort from McLeod’s cross blocked as Billericay brought on more attacking options in the shape of Krasniqi and Assombalonga. It was the hosts who went close though as Federico’s shot crashed against the post but it wasn’t long before Billericay’s new defensive formation conceded their 10th goal in the last three games as substitute Boakye-Yiadom found space down the Billericay left before firing under Julian and into the net.
To their credit, Billericay kept on going as Cunnington got to a high ball ahead of Wells but his looping header was cleared off the line by Nnamani. The Blues pulled a goal back with five minutes to play as an another Cunnington header was cleared off the line by Murphy before being diverted in from close range by BRICKNELL but Leatherhead managed to hold on to take all three points.
Billericay have an early chance of redemption as they entertain local rivals Canvey Island in their final home game of the season on Easter Monday.
The Blues: Giddens, Eyong, Lawrence (Krasniqi), Konchesky (Assombalonga), Fitzsimons, Ellul, O’Hara, Johnson (McLeod), Bricknell, Cunnington, Robinson.
SNU Taaffe, Giddens.