Saturday 1 April 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Billericay Town 2 – Leiston 0
Billericay put themselves back in the play-off mix with a comfortable victory over Suffolk rivals Leiston in front of another big New Lodge crowd.
Ollie Sprague was restored to the starting line-up and in a slight tweak to previous games the centre-half pairing of Rob Swaine and Joe Ellul switched sides with Swaine starting to the left of his team-mate.
The first chance of the game fell to Leiston but the League’s leading scorer Matt Blake flicked his near-post effort from a corner wide of the post. Billericay countered quickly as Eyong collected the ball on the half-way line and his surging run ended with his shot going just off-target. Billericay then had a decent spell of possession which culminated in Matt Johnson arcing a shot towards goal, which ex-Blues goalie Ashlee Jones did well to reach and push over the bar.
Billericay took the lead in the 14th minute. A corner from the Billericay left was swung in by Sprague and somehow found its way to the back post where ROBINSON was on hand to volley home from six yards. The Blues had the ball in the net minutes later but for the second game in a row it was disallowed for an apparent foul on the ‘keeper. Billericay were enjoying a good spell as Jones was forced into a save from Ellul and Bricknell shot wide after more good work from Eyong.
Blake was being well marshalled by Swaine but he sniffed out a chance from a long ball over the top, however the 40-goal hitman didn’t make clean contact and Julian was able to make the save. The same player then hooked the ball over the bar from a Leiston free-kick before Leiston were punished for their profligacy after 42 minutes.
There didn’t seem too much danger when SPRAGUE picked up the ball 35 yards from goal but with encouragement from the bench ringing in his ears, he curled a superb shot with the outside of his left foot into the far corner via the post, leaving Jones rooted to the spot.
Billericay introduced O’Hara and Assombalonga at half-time, which seemed to disrupt the flow of the game for both sides and the play became increasingly scrappy. Referee Joshua Few was incurring the wrath of the home crowd as the Official gave a succession of decisions in favour of the visitors.
Leiston were making some inroads down the Billericay left via Ollie Brown and perhaps substitute Regan Pelling should have done better but he shinned the full-back’s cross harmlessly wide. The Blues shut that avenue down quickly by bringing on Danny Fitzsimons as they were content to manage the game out.
Leiston’s opposite full-back Seb Dunbar made a good run down the left and Konchesky had to be alert to hook his deflected cross-shot off the line but that was as close as Leiston came. Jones was almost embarrassed near the end as his clearance cannoned off Cunnington but the ball narrowly missed the target. The final whistle soon sounded ensuring that Billericay kept up the pressure on those above them entering the final few games of the season.
The Blues: Julian, Eyong, Sprague (O’Hara), Konchesky, Swaine, Ellul, Lawrence, Johnson, Bricknell (Fitzsimons), Cunnington, Robinson (Assombalonga). SNU Krasniqi, Giddens
Town Crier MotM: Tambeson Eyong