Match Report

Billericay Town
R Modeste, A Cunnington 2, B Bricknell
A Nathaniel-George 2, K Cole
Match details
Competition: Isthmian League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 07 October 2017
Attendance: 1988

The top two teams in the Bostick Premier Division served up a fantastic match for nearly 2,000 supporters (a record league attendance at the AGP Arena) on Non-League Day, although it was the home side Billericay that clinched a 4-3 victory. The pulsating game saw the big-spending hosts retain their leadership of the league, while Hendon slid to fourth, being leapfrogged in the table by Dulwich and Leiston.

This was a curious game: although largely outplayed and outmuscled by the hosts, the Greens might feel slightly aggrieved over leaving Essex without a point. However, were it not for some wayward finishing and some top-class goalkeeping from Tom Lovelock, Billericay should have finished the game about six goals up. Hendon put in a tremendous shift throughout the match, scoring a third goal in the final stages of the match and giving the home side a real fright as they looked for what would have been a deserved equaliser.

Watched on by the bumper crowd, including Spiderman, the Super Mario Brothers and a crocodile (half-price admission was available for supporters in fancy dress), it was Hendon who stunned their affluent rivals by taking an early lead. The third minute saw the effervescent Ashley Nathaniel-George receive the ball well outside the area. Sensing an opportunity, he curled a fantastic shot into the top corner, leaving a strangely immobile Alan Julian flat-footed as the ball sailed into the net.

The lead lasted just ten minutes as Billericay reasserted themselves and began to apply some pressure through plenty of pressing play and set pieces. It was from one of these passages of play that they clinched an equaliser, Ricky Modeste heading in from close range as Hendon failed to clear their lines.

The visiting supporters, who were full of praise for virtually all aspects of the remodelled Billericay stadium, were sent into raptures in the 17th minute when the industrious Keagan Cole, who had previously received a yellow card for a petulant foul, completed a virtually identical finish to Hendon’s opener, Julian in the Billericay goal a virtual spectator once again.

As Hendon looked to extend their lead, there were two narrow escapes for the home side. In addition to Cole seeing a delightful chip evade Julian and hit the bar, Hendon were denied a penalty after Niko Muir was crudely upended in the box. Hendon players and supporters were incredulous as the referee waved the claims away, Billericay instead launching an attack that resulted in Adam Cunnington smashing in a thunderous volley to level the scores.

Billericay then laid siege to the Hendon goal and deservedly scored twice more to create a 4-2 advantage at halftime. Ironically, they took the lead through a penalty, Billy Bricknell converting after a teammate was pulled to the ground in the penalty area. The fourth goal was a second for Cunnington, a superb header beating Lovelock on the stroke of halftime.

The second half, while lacking the goals of the first, was an entertaining affair nonetheless. Billericay should have extended their lead on numerous occasions, but Lovelock pulled off a string of excellent saves, while Hendon also cleared a couple of efforts off the line.

Manager Gary McCann made three changes as Hendon sought to pull the game back, Matt Ball replacing Keagan Cole, Daniel Uchechi on for Zak Joseph and Josh Walker taking the field instead of Michael Corcoran. As it looked like Billericay would hold on comfortably, Nathaniel-George netted his second goal, a jinking run seeing him waltz through the Billericay defence before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. With five minutes of injury time to play, Hendon threw everything forward in search of an equaliser but their endeavours were repelled and the Champions elect were able to preserve all three points.

While McCann might be perturbed at some of Hendon's defensive shortcomings, he will surely be satisfied at giving the leaders a real test despite the yawning financial gulf between the two clubs. Hendon supporters applauded their team off the pitch before pausing to admire the understated but majestic mural that adorns the back of Billericay’s grandstand on their way back to northwest London. The Greens will look to bounce back in Saturday's home match against Tonbridge Angels, no doubt encouraged by resolute showing against the undeniable might of the Billericay team.

Report by Bryan Roberts : Not to be reproduced without prior permission

Billericay Town

Home Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Alan Julian  
2 Josh McLeod-Urquhart  
3 Paul Konchesky  
4 Joseph Ellul  
5 Rob Swaine  
6 Sam Deering  
7 Ricky Modeste  
8 Robbie Evans  
9 Billy Bricknell  
10 Louie Theophanous  
14 Adam Cunnington  
11 Jake Robinson  
12 Leo Chambers  
15 Danny Waldren for 7 , 46
16 Danny Walker for 9 , 60
17 Matt Paine for 8 , 79


Away Squad
Shirt Player Info
1 Tom Lovelock  
2 Jake Eggleton  
3 Sam Murphy  
4 Michael Corcoran  
5 Rian Bray  
6 Arthur Lee  
7 Keagan Cole  
8 Dave Diedhiou  
9 Zak Joseph  
10 Niko Muir  
11 Ashley Nathaniel-George  
12 Matt Ball for 7 , 84
13 Leo Pedro  
14 Josh Walker for 4 , 72
15 Kezie Ibe  
17 Daniel Uchechi for 9 , 72