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- GOAL FLASH! - 02/12/2021
Dulwich Hamlet 1-2 Billericay Town
(Chris Mumford at Champion Hill)
Having parted with their management team of Kevin Watson and Mark Hughes in midweek, Billericay Town gained their first Vanarama National League South win of the season at Champion Hill, a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years.
Two first-half goals, against the run of play, secured a victory that lifts them off of the bottom of the table.
Under 23’s manager, Dan Brown, along with his assistants Ash Goss and player Lawrie Wilson, took charge from the bench whilst new boss Jody Brown looked on from the stands.
Billericay started slowly, as they have in most matches this season. Barnum Bob providing several crosses in the box from the right-hand side, many of which went astray or were cleared by the impressive Michael Chambers and Marvel Ekpiteta at the heart of the Billericay Town Defence.
Dulwich had the majority of possession but could not convert their many chances, and so it was that Billericay chose their moment, on the counter-attack and pounced.
A through ball floated into the Dulwich area was headed down by Liburd, and as Barnum-Bobb and keeper Grainger left it to each other to clear the ball, in nipped Billericay midfielder Anderson Pinto between them. He stuck out a foot and diverted the ball into the net to give the away side the lead, which stunned most of the record 3334 attendance at Champion Hill, into silence.
Striker Kweke Lucan, making his full debut for Town, was something of an unknown quantity to the home side. With Dulwich pressing high up the pitch, his pace was causing problems. He should have been awarded what appeared to be a clear penalty soon after Billericay had taken the lead, only to see the referee wave away his appeal, but the signs were there that if he could run at the Dulwich defence, he was going to cause problems.
In the 27th minute, he did just that. Steaming through the middle and finding space between Sterling and Holland, it was one on one with Grainger. Lucan made no mistake, burying his shot low to the keeper’s left from just inside the area. 2 nil to Billericay.
There was an air of disbelief amongst the huge home support, but Billericay held on to the lead going into the interval. Many of the Dulwich Hamlet fans were already in the bar getting their halftime refreshment, ten minutes before the interval, such was the shock!
The second half was all one-way traffic after wave after wave of Dulwich attacks were thwarted by Bailey Vose in the Billericay goal, and some ‘anywhere will do’ defending. McQueen, McGregor and Mills all went close but couldn’t find the back of the net.
One could sense a Dulwich goal was looming, and when Ekpiteta hesitated in the box, Darren McQueen, on loan from Dartford, managed to turn and delicately placed his effort past Vose and in off the post to reduce the deficit.
It was now all hands on deck for Billericay who were facing into a low setting sun which was causing problems to Vose and his defenders, whilst Dulwich poured forward looking for an ever-likely equaliser. They almost got it on several occasions. Wind brilliantly cleared off the line, Lukombo threw everything in the way and blocked another goal-bound effort to deny the home side a goal that would have been deserved on the balance of play. Brown threw on Charlie Lee and Daniel Ojo from the bench, in a move to help out the defence. Ipanga-Mbambo also came off the bench for the final few minutes and Billericay somehow saw out the remaining few minutes to ensure that they were going to take a very valuable three points home to New Lodge.
Had this game been decided on corners, Dulwich would have won by a landslide. They racked up sixteen in all compared to four from Billericay Town. Thankfully though, it is goals that count and Billericay just about nudged that one.
It was a case of ‘job done’ for Dan Brown and Ash Goss as they pass the managerial baton on to Jodie Brown and his incoming team as they take charge in full from this coming Monday.
Certainly, the new manager would have been encouraged by some of the actions he saw from his new team’s battling performance.
Both sets of fans applauded their sides off the field at the final whistle.
In all a wonderful match to watch.
Billericay Town will be hoping for another three points next Saturday afternoon when they face fellow strugglers Slough Town at New Lodge, in Jody Brown’s first match as manager (3pm).
BTFCliveradio Man of the Match: Lucan.