HORSHAM 1 Billericay Town 2
Gorings Mead, Horsham
Attendance: 287
Saturday 13th November 2010
Ryman League Premier Division
Referee: R Jaye

 

Horsham remain in the bottom three but will wonder just how they failed to take at least a point from the division's in-form side after creating several clear goalscoring opportunities during an impressive first half showing.

Gary Charman, Pat Harding and Lee Carey all had great chances to give the hosts the lead but, instead, it was Billericay who broke the deadlock with arguably their first meaningful attack of the half. A sense of justice prevailed when Reading loanee Michael Hector forced the ball home, 5 minutes after the interval, but the young defender blotted his copybook with a costly mistake that handed the visitors their match-winning goal just after the hour.

Under no apparent pressure, Hector stumbled over the ball on the edge of the penalty area and Bertie Brayley pounced to set up Anthony Robinson to stroke the ball past Mark Zawadski. It was harsh on Horsham and harsh on the debutant who looked an assured presence at the heart of a defence that stood firm against a Billericay side that had come in to the match on the back of a 7 match unbeaten league run that had taken them up to 4th place in the Ryman Premier Division table.

Hector's inclusion, his first on a month-long loan from the Championship side, came at the expense of Tom Graves, Jack Page returned from injury to replace the suspended Mark Knee and Lee Carey made his first appearance in the green and amber jersey for almost 2 years after rejoining the club at the end of the week with the Hornets looking to build on Tuesday's dramatic last-gasp win at Tooting & Mitcham.

And it was Charman, so instrumental in that midweek victory, who had the game's first chance when he found himself on the end of Page's second minute cross but uncharacteristically misconnected, sending his header wide of the mark. Anthony Storey kept up the pressure with a fierce free-kick that went straight at goalkeeper Nick Morgan and the new strike partnership of Pat Harding and Ben Andrews looked to have combined to good effect until the latter's return pass lacked the required accuracy and the ball was cleared.

The pacy Junior Dadson gave an early indication of his menace down the visitors' left when his positive run ended with a driven cross flashing across the face of goal but the main threat remained at the opposite end of the pitch where the game's first goal should have come after 15 minutes. Storey's chipped pass looked set to be cleared by Cedric Ngakem but the defender slipped, leaving Harding a free run on goal. With the crowd halfway to their feet, and willing the ball into the net for the sake of the goal-shy forward, Morgan raced from his line and spread his body, repelling the ball with his feet, and Page could only put the loose ball over the crossbar.

There was further frustration for the home fans on 23 minutes when the increasingly impressive Miles Mitchell attacked down the left and sent in a terrific cross that took out both defender and goalkeeper but Carey's goalbound shot was cleared off the line.

Billericay responded with a corner by Brayley, nodded down by the lanky Chris Wild only for Lawson's volley to be deflected over the crossbar and, from the subsequent corner-kick, Robinson headed just over the top. Andrews' inclusion in the forward line had given Horsham a new dimension to their game at Tooting and his aerial prowess continued here, winning frequent mid-air battles, but it was two low shots from the captain that threatened to break the deadlock in one scrambled attack that ended with Carey chipping the ball straight into the goalkeeper's hands.

With the hosts the dominant side, it probably came as no surprise to the Gorings Mead faithful when the visitors got their noses in front. A decent attack appeared to have broken down when Page headed the ball clear but possession was instantly regained by the Blues and the ball played out wide to Brayley who hit a pinpoint cross on to the head of the unmarked Lawson who claimed his third goal in two games since his arrival from Concord Rangers.

Undeterred, Horsham tried to hit back immediately and Page's outstretched boot sent the ball against the outside of the post at the end of a patient build up that drew appreciative applause from those in the stand. Morgan was almost caught out when his weak clearance was picked up by Charman who returned the ball towards the goal. The back-pedalling 'keeper was able to get his body behind the ball but fumbled the shot, sending the ball trickling towards the goal-line until cleared by Billericay skipper Ian Cousins.

Cousins then popped up at the other end where his free-kick was punched clear by Zawadski and Paul Kennett headed Micah Hyde's follow-up shot behind his own goal as the visitors began to exert some late first half pressure. Hector covered well after Storey had been dispossessed by Sean Bonnett-Johnson but the home defence was guilty of ball-watching, moments later, when a long goal-kick went right down the middle of the pitch and Brayley headed on for Robinson who embarrassingly fly-hacked at the ball, missing it completely.

H/T Horsham 0 Billericay Town 1

Billericay were the quickest to settle after the break and only a strong save from Zawadski prevented Dadson from doubling the advantage, having been played in behind the defence by Bennett-Johnson's slide-rule pass.

Horsham's hopes of a recovery were hit when Charman was forced out of the action with a hamstring problem but his replacement, Steve Davies, quickly made his presence felt by winning a corner within seconds of his arrival. From Storey's delivery, Morgan fumbled Andrews' downwards header and Kennett scrambled to convert the rebound but it was Hector who took control and smashed the ball into the net from close range.

It was no more than player and club deserved and only a brave defensive header by Ngakem stopped Andrews from getting on the end of Harding's whipped in cross as the hosts went in search of a second goal. From the resulting corner, the ball was cleared and a devastating run down the left by Dadson left Page trailing in his wake as he raced towards the byeline before putting a killer ball across the face of goal only for Brayley to hit the ball into the side netting from a couple of yards out.

It was a huge let-off for Horsham but, having ridden their luck, they went straight up the other end and, after Ryan Woodford's determined run had ended with him being felled on the edge of the penalty area, Mitchell fired a 20 yarder just past the upright. But it was the visitors who were beginning to get on top and Brayley was only inches off target after latching on to Hyde's ball over the top.

Then came Hector's first mistake of the game. With the Hornets passing the ball around comfortably in defence, there seemed little pressure on the back four but the youngster got himself in a muddle and Brayley picked his pocket, slipping the ball to his left for Robinson to sidefoot the ball into the far corner of the net.

It was a crushing blow for the home side, who had battled so well to get back on level terms, but they had a sniff of a second equaliser when another ineffective Morgan clearance presented Harding with a tempting sight of goal but his attempted long range chip drifted wide of the far post.

Morgan was more alert to deal with Harding's dangerous chip into the box, shortly after, when he nipped in ahead of Davies to claim the ball but you sensed that the stuffing had been knocked out of the Hornets as Billericay began to enjoy themselves in the open spaces left by their opponents' desperate attempts to salvage something from the game.

Lawson's far post volley was blocked, from Dadson's deep cross, and with Hector still troubled by his earlier mistake, the Horsham defence looked less assured than it had been for the opening hour. The debutant was cautioned for kicking the ball away as his frustrations increased and Davies' turn and shot from 40 yards was met with groans as it sailed harmlessly wide.

Carey gave way to Tony Nwachukwu for the last quarter of an hour and the young substitute tried to light things up with a purposeful run in to the heart of the Billericay defence but his approach was not matched by the finish as his scuffed effort failed to trouble Morgan.

Zawadski had to be alert to keep out Junior Luke's powerful header, after he linked up with fellow substitute Harrison Chatting, and there was a moment of farce when Carey, warming down at the side of the pitch, was cautioned for speaking out of turn to the linesman before Luke had the last effort of the game when sending a shot over the top in the closing stages..

 

HORSHAM
1.Mark Zawadski
2.Jack Page
3.Miles Mitchell
4.Michael Hector
5.Paul Kennett
6.Anthony Storey
7.Ryan Woodford
8.Lee Carey (Nwachukwu,76)
9.Ben Andrews
10.Pat Harding
11.Gary Charman (Davies,49)
Subs:
12.Steve Davies
14.Jahmahl King
15.Tony Nwachukwu
16.Shane Graham
17.Ian Payne
Goalscorer:
Hector (50)
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BILLERICAY TOWN
1.Nick Morgan
2.Greg Oates
3.Ian Cousins
4.Sean Bonnett-Johnson
5.Chris Wild
6.Cedric Ngakem
7.James Lawson (Luke,74)
8.Micah Hyde
9.Anthony Robinson
10.Bertie Brayley
11.Junior Dadson (Chatting,75)
Subs:
12.Reece Boyle
14.Junior Luke
15.Harrison Chatting
16.Alfie Wren
17.Jack Giddens
Goalscorers:
Lawson (31), Robinson (64)