Blues 4 Billericay Town 1
Third successive win for impressive Blues
Leiston continued their flying start to 2017 with a confident 4-1 over Billericay on Saturday, the goals coming from Ollie Brown, Niko Muir-Merchant and a brace from Matt Blake in a MATCH SPONSORED BY NNB GENCO (SZC) LIMITED. The Blues were once again unchanged as they looked to replicate the same level of performance that they had shown in their previous two games writes Ollie Fairs.
The game did not start the way Leiston would have hoped as Billericay flew out of the blocks and put themselves in the lead after just five minutes when Christian Assombalonga was played through on goal and calmly placed his shot past Leiston keeper Jacob Marsden and into the back of the net. Leiston did not let their heads drop after going a goal down however and put the Billericay defence under a mountain of pressure for most of the remainder of the half. The second goal of the game came after 17 minutes after Seb Dunbar picked up the ball on the left flank and floated a cross in to the box which was asking to be converted and Matt Blake obliged with an acrobatic overhead kick that the keeper could not get near. Leiston dominated the remainder of the half and looked especially dangerous in the wide areas of the pitch with wing-backs Ollie Brown and Seb Dunbar causing the Billericay defence constant issues. There was one moment of panic among the Blues defenders when a long ball over the top utilised the pace of Assombalonga who cut inside Joe Jefford and looked almost certain to score if it were not for a great save from Jacob Marsden and then a brave block to stop the rebound being put away.
Leiston continued to press in the second half and it looked as though they may go behind again when a fast counter attack from Billericay forced a superb save out of Jacob Marsden. From Jacob Marsden’s kick Niko Muir-Merchant picked up the ball, looked up, and rolled a perfectly weighted ball through to Matt Blake who took his shot first time before watching it settle in the side netting to get his second goal of the game, which took his total for the season to 30, putting his team 2-1 up with 20 minutes left to play. At this stage, you would have put money on Matt Blake going on to score his second hat trick in two games and he certainly had the chances to do so as he continued to make good runs in behind and not allow the Billericay defence a moment of peace when on the ball. As Billericay pushed for a goal to draw them level again the game began to open up for Leiston and they began to create chance after chance. After 77 minutes Seb Dunbar put in yet another dangerous cross which was fumbled by the keeper and allowed Niko Muir-Merchant to tap the ball home from a very tight angle and put Leiston out of sight. The game was wrapped up with two minutes to go when the ball fell to Ollie Brown’s feet in the box who dropped his shoulder to open up some space and drill his shot past the keeper to make it 4-1. Billericay had some chances in the final moments but were denied by some sensational goalkeeping from Jacob Marsden which kept the score at 4-1.
FT - Blues 4 Billericay Town 1
Blues boss Glenn Driver commented after the game;
“I felt they started the game really quick, but for us with Blakey (Matt Blake) and Niko (Muir-Merchant) up front you’re always going to have an opportunity for goals and I felt once we scored there was only one team that really looked like winning. They had a good chance but Jacob (Marsden) saved in the second half but I thought once we got ourselves in front there was only going to be one winner. They (Billericay) are going to get better and better but I’m over the moon with that result, that’s a massive, massive result for us.”
When asked on how his team responded to going down early Driver said, “We’ve conceded goals early before, we were two nil down at Tonbridge Angels and we came back at Tonbridge and got a point. This team has got an attitude where they say right, when we go behind, we are not beaten. I'm pleased as punch for the players because this was a big game with everything that’s happening at Billericay at the moment, but we’ve come out of it smiling this time round but I’m sure when we go to their place in April it will be a lot harder game.”
Blues - Jacob Marsden, Brown (Joe Marsden 89 mins), Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Cole 83 mins), Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant, Brothers (Francis 86 mins). Subs not used - Hutchings and Lay-Fulcher.
Billericay Town - Giddens, Shepherd, Sprague, Eyong, Curley, Fitzsimmons, Taafe (Hubble 82 mins), Johnson (Krasniqi 73 mins), Bricknell, Assombalonga (Layne 73 mins), Seymour. Subs not used - Adelowo and Capela.
Match Sponsors NNB GENCO (SZC) LIMITED Man of the Match - Matt Blake
Attendance - 272