Billericay Town’s pre-season preparations got back on track last night at Parkside as they picked up a convincing 3-0 victory versus Aveley after a disappointing loss against Southern Premier League newcomers Beaconsfield Town On Thursday.
With all squad members – bar Callum Kennedy – in action, this performance was more in line with the promising showing in the first pre-season game at National League Ebbsfleet United, which saw the Blues earn a 1-1 draw.
Billericay Town boss, Harry Wheeler was happy with the result and performance stating on the club (BTTV) channel that: “It was nice to get the clean sheet, I have always said clean sheets win leagues, overall very pleased”. With new central defender, Ben Gerring, forced off with a bad cut on 6 minutes, the early introduction of Scott Doe into the BTFC defence emphasised the club’s options after a successful recruitment campaign for the new season.
With the early evening sun warming the crowd on a beautiful summer’s evening, it was BTFC who were first to shine. The opener came on 5 minutes when Jake Howells profited from a favourable rebound in the six yard box as keeper Brown pushed out a close-range shot from Jake Robinson. Sam Deering, busy in an advanced role behind the main striker, supplied the ammunition with a neat through ball from the left hand side into the Aveley penalty area.
Towards the end of a solidly contested first half, it would be Sam Deering once again who made the difference. On 43 minutes, the BTFC play-maker registered on the score-sheet with a precise, low effort from all of 30 yards. Advancing towards goal unchallenged, Sam would accept the invitation to shoot home.
A two goal difference at half-time was harsh on a bright Aveley side that played good football. Playing out from the back via Gibbs to the composed James Love in the centre of the pitch, the Millers put together a number of neat passing moves across midfield.
Comfortable in possession, and provoking danger down the left-hand side via the lively, Freeman, during the first half, Aveley stretched Billericay at times. Penetration in the final third was, however, thwarted by BTFC’s defensive screen.
Half-time saw a number of changes on both sides with O’Hara and Hunte on for Billericay in place of trialist, Hamilton Debunga, and midfielder Simon Walton. The former Leeds and Sutton Utd man impressed in central midfield, where he passed the ball well and looked an imposing presence. Jake Howells impressed with his flexibility, moving deeper to play left-back. On the Aveley side, Freddie Gard entered play.
For the second half, Aveley were out of the traps early with Blues young reserve keeper, Strizovic, who played the full game, called into action. A smart save from Freeman with his legs kept the clean-sheet intact. From BTFC, O’Hara looked bright and sharp, injecting further quality into the Blues play with a series of intelligent passes. Hunte showed promise on the ball, appeared comfortable taking on opposing players, and looks like an exciting prospect.
By the 55th minute, BTFC made wholesale changes subbing five players including defensive changes with Tambeson Eyong and Ricky Hayles coming on at Right-back and centre-back respectively. Wide right, trialist, Jordy Mangoy, was introduced and, up front, speedy forward Moses Emmanuel and Adam Cunnington were introduced to influence play. Robinson, Inman, Deering, Modeste, and Kizzi made way after accumulating vital minutes.
As the second half progressed, BTFC started to assert their ascendancy. With full-backs pushing very high, Aveley found themselves on the back-foot. The Blues third goal would come during this period. A noticeable upgrade this season at BTFC has come in the pace department up front. This was exemplified by the third goal in the 64th minute. A swift break from the impressive Emmanuel saw him burst clear of the Aveley defence. Unselfishly he squared to Mangoy, who finished instantly, guiding the ball across the keeper into the far corner.
Aveley made a series of substitutions, including bringing on striker Tony Martin, who went close twice in the 79th and 80th minutes. The second chance came following a perfect through ball that found him unmarked in the Billericay penalty area. Unfortunately for Aveley, the finish was wide of the mark.
As the final whistle blew, it was time to reflect on a good work-out for both teams who harbour serious ambitions of promotion from their respective Leagues. BTFC move on to the next game at National League Maidstone Utd on Friday night while next stop for Aveley is away at Erith Town also on Friday.
Goals: Billericay Town 5′ Howells; 42′ Deering; 64′ Mangoy.
Aveley FC Starting Line Up:
1 Tim Brown 2 Ben Sampayo 3 Sam Cross 4 Connor Witherspoon 5 Harry Gibbs 6 James Love 7 Marcus Milner 8 Shad Ngandu 9 Tom Richardson 10 Alex Teniola 11 Andy Freeman
SUBS: 12 Garrett Kelly 14 Tony Martin 15 Freddie Gard 16 Jamie Dicks 17 George Doyle 18 Calvin Ekpiteta
Billericay Town FC Starting Line Up:
1 Josh Strizovic 2 Joe Kizzi 3 Hamilton Debunga 4 Ben Gerring 5 Dean Inman 6 Sam Deering 7 Ricky Modeste 8 Simon Walton 9 Jake Robinson 10 Danny Waldren 11 Jake Howells
SUBS: 12 Moses Emmanuel 14 Adam Cunnington 15 Rickie Hayles 16 Scott Doe 17 Jamie O’Hara 18 Jordy Mongoy 19 Connor Hunte 20 Tambeson Eyong.