(Photos by Nicky Hayes)
Thurrock 0 Billericay Town 5
Bostik League Premier
Report by Scott Lanza
Billericay Town reached the top of the Bostik Premier table after a sensational display of attacking football that left their Thurrock hosts at times bewildered. The Fleet did not have a bad day at the office but just met a team that put in a scintillating performance; on this evidence Billericay would have beaten any Bostik Premier or even Vanarama South team. It was just unfortunate for the Fleet that they had to provide the opposition on a gloriously sunny Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
With barely a minute on the clock Jake Robinson capitalised on some indecisiveness from Richard Halle but placed his shot just wide of the far post. It was an early indication of Billericay’s attacking prowess as Robert Evans was soon cutting inside and flashed a cross across the box that Billy Bricknell headed home from close range, giving the Blues the lead with only two minutes on the clock.
Thurrock eventually found their composure and had an effort themselves when Charlie Stimson played in Joe Christou whose shot was narrowly wide. Sam Deering then almost extended Billericay’s lead when his shot clipped the post. But on 14 minutes the Blues did extend their lead when Deering knocked a free kick to Jake Robinson who smashed the ball past Tim Brown.
Richard Halle needlessly gave the ball away to Bricknell, then fouled him to concede a free kick, which ended up being blasted over the bar by Bricknell. It was panic that caused the error but Fleet kept at their task and also played some nice passes themselves. However the Blues are as solid at the back as they are going forward and so Thurrock chances were kept very much at a premium.
Then on 22 minutes a dink over the top by Robert Evans reached Robinson who lobbed Brown and it was now 3-0 to Billericay Town, who were putting on a master class. Robinson then flashed a header across the Fleet goalmouth as the Blues went for the jugular. The third goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Thurrock although they did carve out another opening on the half hour which Glenn Poole, making his one hundredth appearance for the Fleet, headed goal ward but was easily collected by Alan Julian.
Then on 34 minutes Robinson burst down the left wing, cut inside and fired a shot that Brown saved but the ball fell to Bricknell; somehow Brown kept the ball out and then the ball reconstituted its way back to Cunnington whose poke was caught by the Fleet keeper.
Joe Christou received a yellow card for a robust challenge on Leo Chambers that perhaps showed his frustrations, he was fortunate too, as an earlier heavy challenge had resulted in only a talking too.
Cunnington, who had won every ball placed in his direction, used his frame to head a ball into the path of Deering towards the end of the half that won a corner for Billericay. But the final chance of the half went the way of the hosts when a corner was headed wide by Poole.
The second half couldn’t have got off to a worse start for Thurrock as Lewwis Spence played a ball back to Brown, putting his own keeper under pressure and his clearance ricocheted off Cunnington and trickled past the line to give Billericay a four goal lead.
To their credit the Fleet did keep their heads up and Ronnie Winn had a effort at the hour mark that was looking like it was bending inside the far post but Julian dived to his right and tipped the ball away.
Then on 65 minutes a sweeping ball from Joe Ellul found Billy Bricknell unmarked and he headed the ball home to score his second and Billericay’s fifth of the afternoon.
Jordan Clark received a yellow card for a terrible tackle on Cunnington and then Mark Stimson had to replace Lewwis Spence, who himself had come on at half-time for Glenn Poole, with Harry Gerard. Fleet’s afternoon was perhaps summed up when Christou laid off Adetayo Osifuwa, who elected to try and take on the Blues defence rather than unleash a shot and eventually found himself crowded out. Christou also found himself in the box in the 80th minute but his shot was deflected away for a corner by the experienced Paul Konchesky.
The Blues continued pressing as the game came into the final stages. Bricknell flashed a cross from the left that Halle knocked away for a corner, George Winn also had to head away a corner as Billericay went on the attack. And Thurrock also had another effort in the 85th minute when Joel Nouble got his head onto a cross but couldn’t get it on target.
Bricknell was able to put the ball in the net once more before time was up, a ball over the top stretching the Fleet defence and the Blues striker drove it into the bottom left hand corner. The referee assistant had his flag up, which curtailed celebrations, depriving Bricknell of a hat-trick that his striking prowess so richly deserved.
The end came soon after, the Fleet fans showing true class by applauding Glenn Tamplin and his team. It had been a barnstorming performance from the Blues and now that they have reached the summit it is very hard to see them being knocked off of it.
Thurrock: Tim Brown, Reece Morgan, George Winn, Richard Halle (C) (Adetayo Osifuwa 46’), Joe Bruce, Jordan Clark, Joe Christou, Glenn Poole (Lewwis Spence 46’ – Harry Gerard 70’), Charlie Stimson, Ronnie Winn, Joel Nouble.
Billericay Town: Alan Julian, Kevin Foley (Joseph Ellul 46’), Paul Konchesky (C), Leo Chambers, Robert Swaine (Joshua Urquhart 55’) , Sam Deering (Elliott Kebbie 46’), Robert Evans, Daniel Waldren, Billy Bricknell, Adam Cunnington, Jake Robinson.
Scorers – Billy Bricknell (2’, 65’), Jake Robinson (14’, 22’), Adam Cunnington (49’)