Bostik Premier League
BILLERICAY TOWN 2 HARLOW TOWN 0
JOHN CHUBB at the AGP Arena
Billericay Town will be playing National League South football next season having now been confirmed as Bostik Premier League champions, after winning at home to Harlow Town in front of almost 1700 fans and completing a treble of trophies for the 2017/18 campaign.
Billericay’s players celebrate clinching the league title. Photo by kind permission of Nicky Hayes (@NickyHayesPhoto)
Jamie O’Hara went close within the opening moments of the game after Ricay won a free kick on the edge of the penalty box, which was taken by the ex-Tottenham midfielder but Harlow goalkeeper David Hughes did a great job of punching his effort away.
Blues had another good chance on the quarter of an hour mark, when a great O’Hara ball found Dean Inman on the right, who set up Ricky Modeste but his resulting shot was way over the bar.
Then just after the halfway mark in the first half, a long Josh Urquhart throw found Imnan close to the goal but his effort went agonisingly wide to the left of Hughes.
Then after 32 minutes Harlow had their first genuine opportunity when Aaron Jones had a shot on target but Alan Julian in the Billericay goal, almost a spectator until that moment parried the ball away superbly to keep the score at 0-0.
Ricay finally broke their duck just before half time when a long range Sam Deering effort was pushed away by Hughes, but only as far as the incoming Joe Kizzi and the right back shot home to out the home side 1-0 in front, his first ever goal in Billericay colours.
Joe Kizzi celebrates his first ever Billericay Town goal. Photo by kind permission of Nicky Hayes (@NickyHayesPhoto)
Harlow often belied their lowly league position and poor away record in this match, proving a tougher nut to crack than many of the sides Blues have faced this season and the home side had to wait until the 56th minute for their first real chance of the second half as Billy Bricknell fired an effort from the right, but it travelled wide to the right of Hughes.
The Hawks came very close to an equaliser with around 20 minutes remaining, when Julian was called into action to push away an effort which he did superbly.
A couple of minutes later Jake Robinson nearly scored at the other end, when his shot from the left sailed across the face of the goal but went wide.
Blues substitute Adam Cunnington then had a shot on target with 9 minutes left on the clock, but he couldn’t get enough power behind it and the ball was comfortably gathered by David Hughes.
But Cunnington made amends 3 minutes from time, when he struck home from close range to make it 2-0 and seal the title and promotion for Billericay.
At her final whistle the jubilant home supporters poured onto the pitch to salute their heroes, having already seen them take the Essex Senior Cup and Velocity Trophy this season, and they now have the prize they wanted more than any other.
Billericay Town: Alan Julian, Joe Kizzi, Josh Urquhart, Matt Paine (Danny Waldren 73), Dean Inman, Sam Deering, Ricky Modeste, Robbie Evans (Liam Hughes 84), Billy Bricknell (Adam Cunnington 67), Jamie O’Hara, Jake Robinson.
Harlow Town: David Hughes, Paul Rodgers, Christian Scales, Sam Clarke, Joshua Pollard, Fabian Sims, Aaron Jones (Ibrahima Sonko 83), Syrus Gordon, Alexander Reid, Robert Martin (Charles Edwards 67), Jared Small.