Bostik Premier League
BILLERICAY TOWN 1 LEATHERHEAD 0
Phoenix FM’s JOHN CHUBB reporting from the AGP Arena
Jake Robinson’s first half goal ensured that Billericay Town remain top of the Bostik League Premier Division, in the face of a strong challenge from Leatherhead and in spite of having to play with 10 men for over 45 minutes, following skipper Paul Konchesky’s dismissal just before half time.
A game which had been evenly matched but had little in the way of genuine chances in the early stages suddenly spring into life in the 20th minute. Leatherhead had gone close to scoring from a free kick, when Billericay caught them on the break and the action moved straight to the opposite end of the field, with Robinson rounding visiting goalkeeper Zaki Oualah to add another goal to his tally, following on from the hat-trick he scored last week in the FA Cup tie against Didcot Town.
With almost half an hour on he clock the Tanners nearly replied when Sammy Moore almost equalised from a cross, but his header went just wide. A few minutes later Sam Deering’s shot at the other end was comfortably caught by Oualah. In the 37th minute the visitors appealed for a penalty as Sam Blackman felt he had been hauled to the floor inside the penalty area, but referee Scott Williams ignored the shouts for a spot kick.
Leatherhead arguably had the superior possession in the first 45 minutes, and were passing the ball around well but Ricay nearly scored again a few minutes before the break, when Robinson nearly doubled his lead. But the home side were suddenly a man down just before the break, captain Paul Konchesky’s high challenge on Niall McManus resulting in a straight red card. The sending off forced Blues manager Glenn Tamplin into a tactical substitution, with strikers Billy Bricknell and Adam Cunnington making way for Joe Ellul and Louie Theophanous.
The lively player/manager Moore once again came close to an equaliser with 50 minutes in the clock, as the visitors continued to make life difficult for the hosts and former Football League striker Jack Midson – once of Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon- did the same just before the hour mark, before Moore had a free kick saved by Blues keeper Alan Julian. The Surrey side inspired Tamplin to make another tactical change, with Ricky Modeste replacing Robinson and partnering Theophanous in attack. Soon Billericay were the side on the attack, centre half Rob Swaine going close with a header from Deering’s corner on 66 minutes.
McManus came closest to scoring for Leatherhead, his 70th minute effort being superbly tipped over by Julian before Blues had efforts by Danny Waldron and Theophanous blocked, and Deering went close. Not long afterwards Moore had a strong effort on goal stopped superbly impressive Julian. With 9 minutes to go a Waldron free kick was stopped from going in the top corner with a great stop from Oualah, Deering had another effort blocked and 2 minutes from time Theophanous found himself in a one on one with Oualah, but the Tanners keeper made another fine save.
As it turned out though, one goal was enough to ensure another Blues victory and boss Tamplin will be hoping to keep the winning run going this Tuesday night, when newly promoted Brightlingsea Regent visit the AGP Arena.
Billericay Town: Alan Julian, Joshua Uruqhart, Paul Konchesky, Kevin Foley, Rob Swaine, Sam Deering, Rob Evans, Danny Waldren, Billy Bricknell (Joe Ellul 46), Jake Robinson (Ricky Modeste 63), Adam Cunnington (Louie Theophanous 46).
Leatherhead: Zaki Oualah, Sam Blackman (Tre Mitford 83), Tom Richards, Lee Minshull, Yannis Amblosine, Jerry Nnamani, Paul Semakula, Sammy Moore, Niall McManus, Jack Midson, Daniel Gallagher (Calum Davies 69)