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Billericay Town 0, Chelmsford City 1
A LATE winner from Jamie Slabber saw Billericay lose against bitter rivals Chelmsford and begin 2013 badly.
The 85th minute goal was the only thing which separated the sides and topped a dominant second half from the visitors on a boggy New Lodge pitch in front of 1,211 fans.
Billericay started the derby well and Jay May came very close to scoring in the 25th minute when he leapt up to meet Glenn Poole’s left wing cross, only to see his header dip onto the crossbar.
Towards the end of the half Chelmsford started making chances with Max Cornhill sending a header scudding just wide of the post in the 41st minute following Anthony Cook’s free kick.
Slabber came agonisingly close on the stroke of half time but could not reach the end of Richard Brindley’s cross at the end of a Chelmsford counter attack.
Sam Beasant pulled off a superb save in the 56th minute when Cook’s cross found Simmonds, forcing the goalkeeper to sprint out and fling his body towards the ball to get a foot to it.
Justin Miller nearly broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when his header was cleared off the line by Dave Collis.
Then, with five minutes left, Chelmsford grabbed the winner when Simmonds flicked on a header as the ball was crossed in from the left.
FA Cup hero Slabber managed to get a touch to send the ball past Beasant and the hundreds of visiting supporters crazy.
Collis’ free kick in the final minute of injury time forced a save from Searle. But it was too late for the hosts who have now lost six of their last seven games.
Town manager Craig Edwards believed the three recent postponed games — followed by playing on a “paddy field” — killed his side.
He said: “I thought that we dominated the first half and the second half they’ve been the better side.
“The fact we’ve gone three weeks without a game then played on heavy pitches today and Saturday meant we seemed to run out of legs and they grabbed the goal and won the game.”
Billericay: Beasant, Rodgers, Anderson, Edwards (Green 80), Swaine, Wild, Collis, Poole, May, Taylor (Benjamin 80), Luke (Lechmere 75).
Echo MOM: Dave Collis (Billericay Town).