Town in control of their own destiny
Billericay Town 2 Enfield Town 4 - match report by Nigel Howard
Town moved into the Ryman Premier play-off positions with a hard-fought victory at New Lodge in the Essex sunshine on Saturday.
The Towners got off to the perfect start when, in the second minute, a Scott Shulton shot was only parried by Alan Julian in the Billericay goal, and Harold Joseph swooped to head home the rebound from close range. On 11 minutes, the visitors missed a glorious chance to extend their lead, when Shulton shot straight at the keeper when well placed. The hosts levelled the score on 13 minutes when a right wing cross by Jake Robinson was met powerfully at the far post by former Towner Joe Ellul and, despite Nathan McDonald getting his finger tips to the ball, he could not stop it from crossing the line. A couple of minutes later, Billericay had the ball in the net again, but Robinson’s close range effort was chalked off as the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.
The Blues started to take control in midfield, and pushed the Towners further and further back, creating numerous chances during the remainder of first half, but failing to convert their pressure into goals. Ellul headed over on 20 minutes, Robsinson’s looping shot in the 25th minute was saved by McDonald, Adam Cunnington headed goalwards on 37 minutes but McDonald gathered relatively comfortably and then, a minute later, McDonald flung out his leg to block a low shot by Billy Bricknell.
Five minutes before the break, Bricknell went down in the box, but the referee waved away Billericay’s appeals for a penalty and, shortly afterwards, Robinson curled a shot from just outside the area over the bar.
Half-time: Billericay Town 1 Enfield Town 1
The first chance of the second period fell to the hosts. On 48 minutes, a cross from the left was met by Cunnington but the tall forward, despite using all the inches of his giant frame, could not get a good enough contact with his diving header and the ball went wide. The Towners upped their game at this point and became more competitive in midfield. On 56 minutes Oliyide broke free and his surging run took him into the box, where his cross was turned behind by Rob Swaine. From the corner, a mad scramble in the box ensued, and eventually the ball ended up at the feet of Harry Ottaway who fired home to put the Towners back in front amidst jubilant scenes behind the goal.
Around the 70-minute mark, both teams had long range efforts, but in both cases the ball cleared the crossbar without troubling the keepers. On 73 minutes, Billericay levelled for the second time with a stunning over-head kick by O’Hara from the edge of the area which beat the airborne McDonald. However, the hosts’ joy was short lived when, within two minutes, the Towners had re-taken the lead; Ricky Gabriel attacking down the left, his deep cross appearing to be too long and clearing all the players gathered in the centre, but Ottaway reacted quickest and retrieved the ball on the right side of the area and played a low cross back to half-time substitute Dernell Wynter to fire home.
As Billericay pressed forward for another equaliser, the Towners were happy to sit back and defend, launching occasional counter-attacks. On 80 minutes, a long ball from the back to Ottaway was well controlled and the forward fed Wynter some forty yards out. He bore down on goal but was eventually outmuscled away from the ball by Swaine. But in stoppage time, the Towners killed the game off with a fourth goal; Samir Bihmoutine galloping down the left and centring to Billy Crook who went for placement over power, and his shot eluded Julian’s out-stretched hand and nestled in the bottom corner.
This was a tremendous result, following up last week’s victory over league leaders Bognor Regis Town and, barring a goal difference swing of over 21 in favour of Wingate & Finchley over the final three games, reaching the play-offs is under Town’s own control, although the remaining matches are, needless to say, all tough fixtures.
Billericay Town: Alan Julian, Tambesong Eyong, Oliver Sprague (Lewis Taafe 46), Paul Konchesky, Rob Swaine, Joe Ellul, Byron Lawrence, Matt Johnson, Billy Bricknell (Jamie O’Hara 46), Adam Cunnington (Chris Assombalonga 62), Jake Robinson. Unused subs: Danny Fitzsimons, Kreshnic Krasniqi. Booked: Johnson, Cunnington, Swaine.
Enfield Town: Nathan McDonald, Jonathan Muleba, Ricky Gabriel, Harold Joseph, Mark Kirby, Scott Shulton, Tyler Campbell, Billy Crook, Percy Kiangebeni (Dernell Wynter 46), Harry Ottaway (Bobby Devyne 90), Karl Oliyide (Samir Bihmoutine 78), Unused subs: Nathan Livings, Trey Williams.