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Billericay Town 3, Dorchester Town 1
Billericay banished memories of their FA Cup heartache with a stunning 3-1 win at home to second-placed Dorchester Town in the Conference South this afternoon.
Everything that was lacking in Tuesday’s cup exit to Cambridge City, was present in spades for Town, who took an 18th minute lead through debutant Charlie Taylor, and sealed the win with second-half goals from Sam Lechmere and Glenn Poole.
A late goal for Ben Watson deprived Alex Bonnard - making his full debut in the Town goal - a deserved clean-sheet, but it did little to mask a comprehensive win for Craig Edwards’ side.
It was an excellent high-tempo first-half display from a Billericay.
Dave Collis returned from injury to replace Greg Oates at right back, and Craig Edwards Jnr came in for Duran Reynolds in the centre of Town’s midfield.
The influential Lechmere dropped back to his more customary left wing role, with Alex Osborn playing up alongside Taylor in a front two.
It gave Billericay a nice balance and they were on top from the start, with Osborn drawing a good save from Jason Matthews after just 16 seconds.
Poole curled a free kick narrowly wide for the hosts, and then Dorchester’s Sam Molson cut inside Chris Wild and forced Bonnard into a good stop.
The French keeper came into the side in place of Dale Brightly, who was sent off against Cambridge, and did not feature in the match day squad on Saturday.
Town took an 18th minute lead when Joe Anderson whipped in an inviting low ball from the left and Taylor ushered it home from close range.
Town’s defensive demons were still there, though, and Rob Swaine had to make a terrific recovery tackle to deny Ben Watson a clear shot at goal after a mistake from Swaine himself had gifted him a clear run at goal.
But Billericay continued to look the more dangerous and, after Lechmere had shot narrowly wide following an incisive run, Poole forced Matthews to push his dipping shot over the bar.
Billericay had a lucky escape when their defence appealed in vain for an off-side eight minutes after the restart, but Watson just failed to make a telling contact.
Then the action switched immediately to the other end and, when Dorchester failed to clear Junior Luke’s cross, Taylor’s side-footed effort was deflected agonisingly wide of the post.
But they made it 2-0 on the hour mark when Taylor intelligently rolled the ball into the path of the over-lapping Lechmere, and he steered a first-time shot inside the post.
Taylor was rightly given a warm round of applause when he made way for another new recruit - Joe Benjamin, signed from Hampton & Richmond - on 62 minutes.
And the hosts killed the game off two minutes later when a sweeping move down the left flank ended with the ball falling kindly for Poole, and he thumped it home to make it 3-0.
Reid drew a good low save from Bonnard before Billericay produced a move seven minutes from time which summed up their performance on the day.
Lechmere burst forward and played a lovely pass into the feet on Benjamin, and the powerfully built striker showed tenacity and no small amount to skill to cut the ball back for Poole.
But visiting keeper Matthews was the party pooper as he produced a fine, point-blank save to stop Poole completing his brace.
Dorchester got an unlikely looking consolation in the final minute when Watson scored from close range.
Billericay (4-4-2): Bonnard; Anderson, Wild, Swaine, Collis (Oates 46); Lechmere, Edwards, Poole, Luke (Green 71); Osborn, Taylor (Benjamin 62).
Echo MOM: Sam Lechmere (Billericay).