A mad five minute spell at the end of the first half ending up costing Billericay in their Ryman Premier League fixture with Maidstone United. Billericay were leading 1-0 at New Lodge right up until the 41st minute, when Maidstone scored the equaliser, starting a period in which they scored three before half time.
Up until that point Billericay were causing the league leaders problems, with much of the action coming through Rowan Liburd, but the Blues could not add to an early Harry Baker goal and were made to pay.
The first five minutes of the match were dominated by Maidstone as they kicked towards their sizable and vocal away support. They were having particular joy down their right flank, with Teddy Nesbitt having to withstand the early pressure.
With 6 minutes gone, Billericay got their first sight of goal, as captain Richard Halle stood over a free kick on the edge of the Maidstone area, but he seriously miscued his shot and it went flying into the street.
But their next chance was much better. In the 9th minute, the ball was played across the Maidstone area, Rowan Liburd kicked thin air, but Harry Baker wasn’t to be denied as he put the ball beyond keeper Lee Worgan and into the net.
The game was being played at a frantic pace and play moved swiftly from end to end, Jamie Coyle heading over after Halle had skewed a clearance for a corner.
In the 16th minute, the referee was called to make a crunch decision. A Maidstone break resulted in George Porter going down in the box under a challenge from Joe Wright. The keeper looked in trouble, but referee Alan Dale waved away fervent appeals for a penalty, awarding the Stones a corner instead.
Billericay were the next to break as Liburd sprung the offside trap, but his attempt at goal was underpowered and the Maidstone defence were let off.
In the 24th minute, the momentum swung again as a free kick by Frannie Collin forced Joe Wright into a save low down to his left. The resulting corner by Collin was dangerous and caused a scramble in the box, but Wright collected.
Rowan Liburd missed great opportunities around the half hour mark as he failed to bring a long ball under his spell that would have left him 1-1 with Worgan and, a minute later, a tempting Nesbitt cross was headed over. Jay May almost made him pay, but shot over when well placed.
Maidstone were getting a lot of joy from throw-ins and corners, Frannie Collin causing chaos in the box with his delivery.
Liburd again passed up a great opportunity in the 38th minute as he outpaced his defender down the Billericay left, but couldn’t put it away when one-on-one with Worgan, Sappleton firing over as the ball was worked back into the box.
Billericay were made to pay in the 41st minute, as Halle was beaten on the Billericay right and a cut back found Jack Parkinson who rifled in the equaliser.
Ola Williams went down injured and was replaced by Stevie Sheehan just before the break, and immediately afterwards, in the first minute of added time, Maidstone went ahead. Jay May received the ball on the right of the box and hit home past a helpless Wright. A minute later and it was two for May. A Billericay attack broke down and a lighting counter attack down the Maidstone left found May in an almost identical position, with an identical result.
Billericay must have been wondering what had just happened as they traipsed in 3-1 down, a crazy five minutes undoing their good work.
With all the action of the first half, it was perhaps no surprise that the second was much more subdued. Maidstone were dominating possession and taking a stranglehold on the game. The first real chance came in the 55th minute as Jay May skewed a shot wide, looking for his hat trick. Billericay didn’t see an opportunity until the 59th minute as Rowan Liburd brought a high ball down, cutting it back to Afolabi Obafemi, who was ultimately crowded out. Too many Billericay attacks were resulting in aimless balls forward and Maidstone looked like they might add more as Billericay somehow cleared the ball after a scramble in the box.
Ricky Sappleton tried to force the issue, diving in to a 50-50 with Worgan, his late challenge resulting in a yellow card as Maidstone’s players called for more. The game petered out after that as substitutions affected the flow and Maidstone closed out a 3-1 victory.