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Billericay Town 1-2 Kingstonian

Despite a second-half barrage from the home side, Kingstonian left Billericay's New Lodge ground with all the three points, to stay in contention for a place in the Conference South play-offs at the bottom end of the Ryman Premier League writes Gary Ekins.

A far better attacking display than has been seen of late was produced in the first-half by the team that has scored fewer goals than any other in the division, and with a stubborn display of defensive defiance in the second, a valuable three points were claimed

The half-time break saw Kingstonian - assisted by a strong wind - two goals in the ascendancy. The first goal came from Stafford Browne, when 'Ricay left-back Sam Taylor misjudged a long ball from Scott Steele allowing Liam Collins to collect. His run to the goal-line gave Browne time to get up in support, and the striker smashed home the resultant cross right-footed to give K's an early lead.

Claims for a penalty for the home side were turned down when a corner from the left-wing struck Jermaine Hinds, but the referee indicated that the ball had connected with the defender's chest and not his arm. Billericay were crafting chances though, with Danny Hockton involved in most of their attacks.

But when it came, the next score was from K's, once again via Liam Collins. He once more ran at - and beat - Taylor, and his deep cross was well taken by Grant Payne. A quick turn allowed him to fire in a shot which was well saved by Luke Weaver's foot. The ball bounced back up, hit Pat Sappleton on the arm, but before the appeals could even be made Steele crashed home the loose ball with his left-foot from six yards.

Billericay attempt to clear their lines

The half ended after two or three more good chances for the visitors. They did manage to get the ball in the net again, but Steele was adjudged offside when Stuart Booth headed forward after a poor kick out from Weaver.

Yet for all of the good work that K's had produced in the first-half, so this was mirrored by Billericay in the second. Not a minute was on the clock when Hockton headed a Michael Black corner just wide, but their best chance came after just three minutes of the half.

A cross from the left went just over Max Hustwick and landed at the feet of substitute Steve Jones on the right. He ran towards the goal-line, where wing-back Dave Timothy went to challenge. Jones fell, Timothy protested, but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Hockton was the man who took the responsibility, but Lance Key out-thought him, saving a well struck shot as he dived to his right. Kelechi Opara followed up with a header, but Key got up to keep out his left-footed shot too.

Key was called upon again not long afterwards when Jones headed goalwards following a goal-line clearance from Matt Elverson. It looked as though the substitute only had to head home into the open net, but the K's keeper somehow managed to claw the ball back before it crossed the line.

This chance was nothing when compared to the next though. A poor piece of defending by Hinds allowed a long ball to find Hockton, whose fine shot from just inside the area struck the bar. The ball bounced down and out, but following up was ex-K Graeme Tomlinson who really did have an empty net to aim at. His header wide from just two yards prompted one K's supporter to joke that the luck that has deserted the side over the past nine months was now all coming in the same match.

The home side's problems were exacerbated with some fifteen minutes remaining when Hockton limped off with an injury. Not only was he the man most likely to pull them back into the game, but Billericay had by now used all three substitutes, leaving them with just ten men remaining. Hockton did limp back on for some of the time left, but his match was effectively over.

They did however pull a goal back to make the last few minutes that much more tense. A good move up the right saw the ball reach substitute Luke Bauckham, who shot home from twelve yards.

If anything though, this inspired K's once more. They could - and perhaps should - have been given a penalty of their own when Anthony Savage was felled in the box, and Browne can count himself very unlucky when he headed against the bar in the last minute.

Stuart Booth takes a strike on goal

The final whistle saw much celebration from the K's fans and players alike. Whatever the situation behind the scenes at the club, this was an important victory to achieve, over a side similarly placed in the league table.

Sat 17th Apr 2004
New Lodge
Isthmian League Premier
Billericay Town1
Browne, Steele
1Lance Key
2Stuart Booth
3Dave Timothy14
4Matt Elverson
5Max Hustwick
6Jermaine Hinds
7Craig LewingtonCautioned
8Liam Collins
9Grant Payne15
10Stafford Browne
11Scott Steele12
12Anthony Savage11
14Vidal Graham3
15Martyn Williams9
Match Report By
Gary Ekins