Billericay Town 1-1 Enfield Town
Report by Andrew Warshaw
Bodies on the line, togetherness, concentration, teamwork and a fair few good chances. This was more like the kind of away performance Town fans and management alike have been seeking against one of the division’s big hitters.
If you don’t win, make sure you don’t lose may be an obvious cliché but the way the players covered for one another in our sixth successive away game was the perfect response to Saturday’s shambolic display at Lewes.
Gavin Macpherson made four changes for the trip to Essex, with Sam Youngs returning after suspension and Josh Okotcha, Reece Beckles-Richards and Dylan Adjei-Hersey brought back into the team, all playing their part in a battling performance.
Right from the off, the Ricay manager was barking instructions from the dug-out and while the hosts will rue rushing a string of half-chances and failing to capitalise on a raft of corners, we thoroughly deserved a share of the spoils and with a little luck might even have nicked all three points against a team who will be right up there come the end of the season.
Town’s endeavour and spirit was typified after 14 minutes when the hosts seized on a rare slip by Okotcha, only for Mickey Parcell to rush back and produce a sensational clearance off the line (pictured).
Marshalled by former Towner Matt Johnson, Ricay continued to probe, largely through Bradley Stevenson and Moses Emanuel, but we looked lively and energetic on the counter and so nearly grabbed the lead on the half hour when Adjei-Hersey cut in from the right and saw his diagonal effort come back off the post straight into the gloves of Dan Wilks.
As halftime approached, Town had their best period of the opening 45 minutes as Youngs headed wide from an Ollie Knight free kick.
Half Time, 0-0
Gavin sent the boys out early for the second period but we had the worst possible start. James Richmond was dispossessed just inside our half and Ricay burst forward and had two bites of the cherry before we just managed to clear the ball.
Moments later, however, they took the lead as Alfie Cerulli burst through the centre of midfield and unleashed a 30-yard worldie that left Rhys Forster floundering. This was not a night, however, when we ever looked like buckling, with skipper Scott Thomas leading by example. Three minutes later, Beckles-Richards was unceremoniously hacked down and Youngs’ resultant penalty was too well angled for the diving Wilks.
Now it was anyone’s game. Marcus Wyllie’s quick feet produced two decent chances, one whistling just past, while at the other end Emmanuel missed an absolute sitter and Youngs blocked another Ricay goalbound effort.
In the midst of all this, how we were not given a second spot kick is anyone’s guess as Adjei-Hersey was blatantly impeded, the referee instead awarding a corner. In fact, we could well have had three spot kicks, a first-half foul on Knight adjudged to have been outside the box when it looked inside to many.
As the game moved into six minutes of stoppage time, Ricay increased the pressure but we held firm and had the last chance of the game when Joe Payne lashed a free kick over the bar.
Town’s starting eleven last night are unbeaten as a unit and Gavin was quick to praise them.
“We couldn’t have played much worse than at Lewes and I don’t want that to happen again,” he said. “Billericay are being talked up yet we came with a 4-4-2 to try and win the game. “I wanted the energy levels and application we had earlier in the season and they certainly gave me that. I may be biased but I thought we shaded it, though of course I’m happy with a point.”
Town: Forster; Payne, Okotcha, Richmond, Parcell; Knight, Thomas (Soulya-Osekanongo 90), Youngs, Adjei-Hersey (Keeya 83); Beckles-Richards (Sykes 88), Wyllie
|24/10/2023||7:45 pm||Pitching In Isthmian League Premier||2023-24|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|
KO 75 83 87 89 FT