Saturday 25 March 2017 – Ryman Premier League
Dulwich Hamlet 0 – Billericay Town 3
It is advantage Billericay as three goals in the opening half-hour helped them to victory in the first of their play-off chasing double-header against Dulwich Hamlet at a packed Champion Hill.
Both of Billericay’s mid-week arrivals made their first starts for the Club. Record signing Jake Robinson took a place on the right of midfield and former England U21 International Jamie O’Hara started in the middle of the park.
O’Hara’s quality soon became evident as he sent in an early trio of dangerous looking free-kicks with the Dulwich defence scrambling the ball away on each occasion. Billericay spent the opening stages camped in the Dulwich half and they took the lead in the 9th minute. Matt Johnson swung in a deep cross from the right flank and Adam CUNNINGTON planted his far-post header back across Hamlet ‘keeper Preston Edwards and into the net.
O’Hara was booked for a late challenge and Julian made a good save from the resulting free-kick as he dived to his right to push Carew’s effort behind for a corner. Five minutes later Julian was called into action again after ex-Blues’ loanee Dipo Akinyemi’s cross was met by Gavin Tomlin and again the big ‘keeper was equal to the challenge.
Billericay scored their second after 19 minutes. A wind-assisted long throw from Matt Johnson seemed to mesmerise the static Dulwich defence as Joe ELLUL nipped in front of Edwards to deflect the ball in to the net. Cunnington had a chance to add to his tally after good work down the left from Lawrence but he dragged his shot wide of the post and another long throw from Johnson was kept alive in the penalty area by O’Hara with the ball falling to Robinson whose effort went just over the bar.
ROBINSON did get his debut goal on the half-hour mark. Cunnington got a flick to a clearance and Lawrence did well to get to the ball before it went out for a goal-kick. His cross was met at the near post by Robinson with a brave diving header to beat Edwards’ despairing dive. Billericay were now dominant as Bricknell had a shot blocked and Lawrence sent a good effort just wide. Drage made an excellent defensive header to clear O’Hara’s cross under pressure from Cunnington and the half ended as it had started with another quality cross from O’Hara just eluding the Billericay forwards.
Billericay brought on Mekhi McLeod in place of Bricknell at half-time and Billericay continued to turn the screw. Joe Ellul’s goal-bound effort from a corner was blocked with Swaine hitting the rebound over the bar. The Blues had another chance on 52 minutes as Cunnington slipped in Robinson, who was now being deployed through the middle, but the former Brighton man’s shot was off-target.
Town were reduced to ten men after an hour as McLeod was shown a red card for retaliation after Carew had put his hands round the young winger’s neck. As is so often the case in these situations justice was hardly served as the perpetrator escaped with just a caution. From then onwards, Billericay took the sensible option of keeping their shape well and protecting their three-goal advantage.
Julian made a good save at his near post to thwart Akinyemi and Billericay defended a couple of corners well. They almost added another one of their own when Taaffe broke away down the left. His cross was met by the onrushing Krasniqi but Edwards got down well to his right to push the midfielder’s header away.
Dulwich substitute Omar Koroma had an effort chalked off for off-side and Ellul made a good challenge to dispossess Tomlin but overall Billericay managed to see the game out relatively comfortably.
The Blues will go into Tuesday’s reverse fixture with the incentive of knowing that a win would propel them in to a play-off position.
The Blues: Julian, Eyong, Lawrence, Konchesky, Swaine, Ellul, O’Hara (Krasniqi), Johnson, Bricknell (McLeod), Cunnington, Robinson (Taaffe). SNU Giddens, Fitzsimons
Town Crier MotM: Adam Cunnington Attendance: 2805