Two for Ben Harris in narrow defeat at Billericay

Billericay Town

Billericay Town

Emmanuel (39), Kizzi (49), Coombes (70)
Slough Town

Slough Town

B Harris (43, 86)
League Attendance: 509 Ben Harris
Two goals from Ben Harris were not enough to prevent defeat at promotion-seeking Billericay Town on Tuesday evening.

A combination of poor weather, heavy traffic and other unforeseen events led to Slough having to make several changes to their starting line-up, leaving Jon Underwood and Neil Baker to rip up their game plan before the match had even started. Lee Togwell was unavailable due to his wife going into labour, Chris Flood was unable to get to the match due to traffic and Mark Nisbet was named as an emergency substitute despite being ill.

On a miserable, wet evening Billericay had the first chance of the match as Kieron Cadogan – who had already played against the Rebels earlier in the season when at Sutton United – was played through one-on-one, but Jack Turner did well to rush out and block the shot.

At the other end Ben Harris had a half chance for Slough but Alan Julian saved easily.

Josh Jackman, who started at left back in place of George Wells, tried his luck from 25 yards and forced the keeper to turn the ball around the post. From the resulting corner, Paul Rooney had to head the ball off the goal line.

On around 25 minutes, Matt Lench – making his first start since returning to the club – had a fantastic opportunity to give the Rebels the lead as he was inadvertently played through on goal by a Billericay back pass. Seemingly confused by what happened, Lench took too long to shoot and Julian was able to smoother the ball, denying Slough what would have been a vital opening goal.

On the counter-attack, Adam Coombes tried a curled attempt from 30 yards but he failed to trouble Turner.

Shortly after, Slough were awarded a dangerous free kick around 22 yards out. Ben Harris stepped up to take and saw his effort take a big deflection off a Billericay player. Julian was beaten and could only watch helplessly as the ball hit the inside of the post and somehow ran along the goal line and behind.

After twice going so close, Slough were unable to prevent Billericay from taking the lead on 39 minutes. An initial shot from Coombes was blocked by Turner, but the ball came back into the Slough box where Moses Emmanuel was able to smash in from six yards.

The lead wouldn’t last long though – Sean Fraser won the ball and played it forward to Warren Harris, who was able to sweep it across to Ben Harris, who took a touch to turn before hitting the ball left footed into the bottom corner.

However, not for the first time of late, the second half got off to a bad start for the Rebels.

Just four minutes in, Billericay regained the lead as Joe Kizzi rose highest at a corner, with big shouts that he was climbing all over the Slough players ignored by referee David Spain.

Slough found most of their joy down the left hand side and Louie Soares was able to put in some teasing crosses on occasions, however, the giant Billericay defence remained resolute.

Alfie Potter could have extended Billericay’s lead, but could only fire well over the bar after Turner had got fingertips to a cross.

Slough responded with a strong counter-attack in which they committed several players forward. Soares’ initial shot was saved but the ball came to Ben Harris – however the ball bobbled up and it took him too long to bring it down. By the time he could shoot he was surrounded and his effort was blocked for a corner.

A few moments later Lench put in a cross to the back post which was cleared by Charlie Wassmer amid appeals for handball, which were again waved away.

To make things worse, just a minute later the hosts were awarded a debatable free kick which would prove very costly.

Coombes stepped up and unleashed an unstoppable effort which dipped at the last moment, bouncing into the goal off the crossbar to give Billericay a two-goal cushion.

With snow falling ever heavier, Slough replaced Simon Dunn with Manny Williams and the change quickly had an impact as, four minutes from time, Ben Harris had his second goal of the night.

Soares crossed to the edge of the six yard box where Harris was lurking between the two Billericay centre backs, and his header was hard and low giving Julian no chance to save it.

As the Rebels looked for a late equaliser, it was Billericay who had the final chance with substitute Sam Deering hitting the crossbar from a tight angle.

Report: Will Tuck

Billericay Town Lineup

Alan Julian, Joseph Kizzi (Jesse Debrah 80), Michee Efete, Charlie Wassmer, Paul Rooney, Kieron Cadogan (Alfie Potter 56), Danny Waldren, Ross Lafayette (Sam Deering 63), Adam Coombes, Moses Emmanuel, Jake Howells (c). Unused substitutes: Mark Smith, Connor Smith.


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