Billericay Town edge rivals Grays Athletic to secure opening day victory

Winner on the opening day - Craig Edwards

Winner on the opening day - Craig Edwards

First published in Sport
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A FORMER marksman came back to haunt Grays Athletic in the form of Chris Benjamin as he scored to give Billericay Town three points on the opening day.

Benjamin, who only joined Town three weeks ago, headed home a cross from substitute Junior Appiah to double Billericay’s advantage, after Ryan Scott had smashed Town in front with 20 minutes to go.

The game started slowly with both sides sloppy in possession but it was the hosts that were playing the more attractive football.

Former West Ham United defender Frazer Shaw sent a looping header over Conor Gough’s crossbar before Chris Webber sent a shot just wide, after good link-up play with former Grays man Chris Benjamin.

However, the visitors grew into the match and were looking to exploit the returning Billy Lumley (who has been out of action with a dislocated finger) and a shaky looking back four. Former Blue Joe Benjamin tested the big stopper before he produced his best save of the half with his legs, denying Freddie Ladapo when through on goal.

The second half continued to be a tight affair, with neither side giving an inch in the penalty area. Ricky Sappleton came closest to breaking the deadlock when he fired a low shot goalwards only to see Gough shovel the ball behind.

But then came the goal. Glenn O’Hanlon won a freekick down the right after a foul by Aaron Best-Riley and Poole sent a perfectly judged cross to the far post, where Scott fired home.

Inspired, Billericay pressed forward looking for the decisive second goal and it came when livewire Appiah sent a terrific cross onto the head of Benjamin and past Gough.

OTHER RESULTS: 

East Thurrock United 1-0 AFC Hornchurch

Canvey Island 3-1 Bognor Regis Town

Concord Rangers 3-0 Bath City

Needham Market 1-0 Great Wakering Rovers

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