Article by Billericay Gazette: Billericay Town got their 2014/15 Ryman Premier season off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over Grays Athletic.
Second half goals from Ryan Scott and Chris Benjamin gave Craig Edward’s men all three points at New Lodge.
After a tight first 75 minutes, the Blues fitness prevailed and they managed to pile on the pressure towards the end.
The first chance came just before the ten-minute mark when Ricky Sappleton curled in a vicious cross. Winger Frazier Shaw rose highest but was unable to keep his header down.
Then two minutes later Chris Webber almost got the opener when he latched onto a ball across the face of the goal. But he could only poke his effort wide.
Grays should have gone ahead after former Blues striker Joe Benjamin worked his way to the goal line. He cut the ball back to Freddie Ladapo, but he was unable to apply the finish and Billericay cleared the danger.
It promised to be a feisty affair between the two sides and it proved to be so with tackles flying in. Firstly, George Beavan was warned for a late challenge on Benjamin, before Chris Bryan was given a yellow for a bad foul on Glen O’Hanlon.
Ladapo had a glorious chance to take the lead in the 27th minute when Frank Everett released him through the middle. But it was a weak shot by the striker who merely guided it into the legs of Blues’ keeper Billy Lumley.
Billericay enjoyed more of the possession towards the end of the first half and forced Conor Gough into a decent save with five minutes to go. Sappleton brought the ball down well and laid it back to Callum Dunne. The midfielder curled in an effort, which forced the Grays stopper to parry the ball away.
Just nine minutes into the second half Sappleton came perilously close to giving Billericay the lead. He broke through the middle and curled an effort from 25 yards, which Gough did brilliantly to turn around the post.
Both teams battle hard to get the opening goal, with Bryan’s free-kick just drifting wide of the posts.
And it was the hosts that cam closest when substitute Jack Edwards rose to meet a Glenn Poole corner. He guided his header to the back post, but it was cleared iff the line by Aaron Best-Riley.
The game really began to open up in the last fifteen minutes and with 77 minutes on the clock the Blues got the opening goal when Poole curled in a free kick to the back post. And with none of the Grays defenders there to meet it, defender Scott ghosted in un-noticed to prod the ball home.
And with two minutes left to play, Benjamin put the game beyond Grays. Substitute Junior Appiah fired in a fantastic cross which Benjamin met to bullet the header past Gough from close range.
Article and image by Billericay Gazette