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Billericay Town 1, Welling United 2
BILLERICAY took top-of-the-table Welling right to the wire in a narrow 1-2 defeat at New Lodge.
With many of the Blues home games falling foul to the weather this season, their were concerns it would not go ahead on Saturday.
But hard work from the ground staff before meant the vital clash went ahead and attracted a healthy crowd of 519, with a large following from Welling.
The opening exchanges were cagey with much of the possession locked in midfield.
Dave Collis and Glenn Poole were patrolling the midfield and it was the home side that produced the first chance of the match when Alex Osborn received the ball just outside the box before hitting a left foot drive which keeper Sam Mott did well to push away to safety.
Within minutes, however, the visitors had taken the lead, with their two full backs as Jack Obersteller’s left-footed corner was glanced into the far corner by Fraser Franks.
Billericay responded with captain Poole hitting a rasping volley narrowly over from 20 yards after a knock-down by Osborn.
Both teams battled against the sodden pitch, and although the ball was played over the top many times for the strikers to run on to it skipped away from them on the greasy surface.
Billericay had a chance to equalize when Jay May shot wide from 10 yards but it was Welling who grabbed what turned out to be the decisive goal 10 minutes from time.
A goalmouth scramble drew an excellent save from Sam Beasant but a goal line clearance only resulted in the ball dropping to Ross Lafayette, whose shot was going wide but struck Paul Rodgers, totally wrong-footing the goalkeeper, before finding the opposite corner.
The home side pulled one back immediately with substitute Nathan Ashton striking left-footed across the goalkeeper to find the bottom corner, but Welling held out for a narrow victory.
Billericay manager Craig Edwards thought his side played the better football.
“We played ever so well. We played abysmally on Tuesday but came back really strongly today and were very unlucky to lose the game," he said.
“I can’t criticize one of my players for the effort they put in, but when you are down at the bottom the ball doesn’t bounce for you and it didn’t today with their second goal.
“We have a quarter of the season left and if we play anything like that in our remaining games I am extremely confident we will be fine.”
Billericay: Beasant, Rodgers, Douglas, Collis, Beckles, Wild, Luke, Poole, May, Osborn, Lechmere.
Echo MOM Dave Collis (Billericay Town).