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CONFERENCE SOUTH: Billericay Town 3, Havant & Waterlooville 1
Billericay came out on top of an entertaining match against Havant & Waterloovile as Alex Osborn’s brace and Dave Collis’ thumping strike secured a 3-1 win.
Chances came at both ends, with Havant getting the first after Joe Anderson’s poor back pass in the 10th minute went straight to Christian Nanetti, who be-lined into the box.
But Chris Wild – playing in central defence alongside Billericay debutant Alton Thelwell - managed to tackle Nanetti before Collis blocked Olly Palmer’s shot on the line.
Town opened the scoring seven minutes later when a passing move involving Craig Edwards, Sam Lechmere and Glenn Poole saw Lechmere cross into the box where Charlie Taylor’s header was blocked. The ball rolled to Collis and he sent a thunderous shot from 20 yards out into the top right hand corner, leaving Hawk’s goalkeeper Clark Masters no chance of saving.
Osborn doubled the lead in the 28th minute through a goal created by Junior Luke, whose cross following a pacy run found the forward.
Havant made many opportunities, but came up against debutant Luke Bartlett, loaned from Millwall, in fine form.
In the 35th minute, the 18-year-old pulled off a marvellous save when Ollie Palmer curled a shot goalwards after a quick free kick which looked to be going in before Bartlett tipped it wide.
Ten minutes into the second half, Osborn made it 3-0 when his back-post header from a Poole corner scrambled over the line, with the linesman confirming it had gone in.
The Hawks got a deserved goal two minutes later in odd circumstances, when Tony Taggart’s right wing cross floated into the net without anyone touching it.
Havant thought they had set up a thrilling finish in the 90th minute when Palmer finished off a move started by a run down the left by substitute Ryan Moss, only to see the flag raised for offside.
Billericay boss Craig Edwards was happy his team’s performance.
“It was a bit too end-to-end for me, but it was a great game of football,” he said.
“We had to defend a lot today and the keeper pulled off some brilliant saves, but it was still very pleasing to watch.”
Billericay: Bartlett, Collis, Anderson, Edwards, Thelwell, Wild, Lechmere (Benjamin 82), Poole, Osborn, Taylor (May 77), Luke (Green 77).
Echo MOM: Luke Bartlett (Billericay Town).