By Ben Reggione
It’s imperative for Concord that the team takes as much as they can out of our Christmas period fixtures, we start this off away against Billericay. They themselves, have faced a lot of struggle throughout this season, taking just 8 points from there fixtures so far, although they had recently picked up a draw. But an Essex derby could be something which turns things around for them. In Concords case it is essential that we come away with three points on the road, to return to the Aspect arena with confidence. It’s key that we continue to challenge the playoff spots and maybe even more over December into the new year.
As the first half began, it was clear that Billericay were playing to prove a point and make a statement to the teams surrounding them in the table. Their early press and attacks were rewarded with a goal in the 6th minute by Micheal Chambers who passed it in from close range off the back of a corner. Billericay’s continuous press lasted up until the 15th minute, from there onwards each side took turns in having strong spells.
James Blanchfield and Ryan Blackman especially, showed great passion and desire to equalise in the first half, with them linking up often with Simper and Popo to work the ball into the box to open up chances. We had our fair share of free kicks and corners which increased the fans hope of there being a goal in the game for the Beachboy’s; Temi Babalola was unfortunate not to get a goal of his own from these after being constantly contested in the box; but Danny Green and Jayden Randell were recurring figures that had come close.
As a result of a late challenge going in on Blackman in the 41st minute, Billericay found themselves with only 10 men left on the pitch. 5 minutes extra time was added onto the first half and it sure was an eventful segment of play. A great opportunity passed by each side in this time and whenever the ball found itself at the feet of Blackman he received boos from the home side and cheers from the Concord supporters, really encapsulating a panto atmosphere. The team went in at the brake 1-0 to the home side although an equaliser was growing inevitable as Concord dominated for the most part of the half.
Once the second half had started, we began in massive contrast in how we begun the first, we were on the front foot of an instant. Lewis Simpers work rate had once again been recognised on the pitch, and Blanchfield continued his great performance. The attacks we had, made its way often through our full backs, with amazing crosses from Tosan Popo and goal scoring attempts from Joe Payne. It didn’t take long for our equaliser to come and it was no surprise that Blanchfield was the man to do it.
Much credit goes to our fans for this game, we for sure travelled in numbers for this one and it
was felt, they exuded confidence. It gave the players what they needed to continue in such fine form with the 12th man behind them.
After many outstanding runs down the left by Payne, his work had paid off in the 64th minute, he had put us convincingly ahead and it was very much deserved. Tosan Popo was in fine form himself making life difficult still for our opposition down the right hand side, constantly putting pressure on Billericay’s back line, forcing them to aimlessly put it out of danger. These loose balls often found themselves in the feet of Danny Green who utilised all areas of the pitch throughout.
With just under fifteen minutes to go in the first half, Babalola made way for Ben Allen, who had returned from injury, opening up a great possibility for him to score once again. He did just that, he ran the ball through the Billericay half and put it into the back of the net neatly to make it 3-1 putting the game out of reach for our opposition.