Report: Billericay Town 1 – 1 Dartford – Philpot leaves Ricay stunned
After escaping with a last-gasp point against Eastbourne Borough last weekend Dartford made the short trip across the Thames to Billericay Town who, it’s fair to say, have had a tumultuous week of their own.
Ronnie Vint and Delano Sam-Yorke were restored to the starting line-up by bosses Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan but it was the former that had Mark Onyemah to thank after his scuffed clearance nearly gifted the hosts a lead in the second minute.
Amadou Ba, fresh off an impressive debut last weekend, found himself some space down the right before firing just wide across Alan Julian’s goal.
Although the hosts saw most of the ball in the opening stages, it was again the Darts who came the closest to breaking the deadlock. Tom Bonner climbed well at the back post to meet a Ben Greenhalgh corner but could only head into the side netting.
The Blues attacking threat came predominantly via the tricky Joe Kizzi. After he beat Onyemah, the ball eventually found its way to Sam Deering who forced Deren Ibrahim into a strong save low to his right.
Callum Kennedy should’ve done better on the follow-up but the defender’s tame shot was collected easily by the ‘keeper.
The duo of Jake Robinson, with his pace and trickery, and Adam Cunnington, with his aerial presence, caused a lot of problems for the Darts. In the 23rd minute ex-Brighton striker Robinson beat the visitors defence but with just Ibrahim to beat he shot wide.
Coyle and Flanagan’s side struggled to keep possession for much of the contest. In one instance where they did, some good link-up play between Sam-Yorke and Lee Noble gave loanee Tom Knowles a golden opportunity to open the scoring but his curled effort drifted just wide.
In the 26th minute the visitors failed to clear their lines and after Ibrahim bundled over Robinson in the area referee Jacob Mills had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. The forward took on responsibilities but thundered against Ibrahim’s bar from the spot.
Ibrahim made up for his error soon after as Onyemah misjudged the flight of the ball allowing Kizzi to fire across goal. The Gibraltan international was on-hand to deflect the effort over the bar.
After such a fast and furious opening 35 minutes the Darts were pleased to ‘see’ the half out and re-group for the second period with the hosts neutralising their attacking threat.
Half-time: Billericay Town 1-1 Dartford
Julian was the first ‘keeper to be forced into a save after the break as he comfortably collected Knowles’ accurate free-kick from 25 yards.
The hosts were gifted another opportunity to break the deadlock just three minutes into the second-half after Vint was penalised for hauling down Danny Waldren from a corner. Referee Miles once again pointed to the spot and following very few complaints from the Darts, Robinson, who missed from the same distance in the first-half, took on the responsibility once more.
He made no mistake this time as he coolly slotted into the bottom left corner past a despairing Ibrahim.
Tempers flared on the hour mark after a coming together between Bonner and substitute Ricky Modeste which ended with the ex-Dover Athletic winger on the floor. After separating both sets of players referee Miles deemed a yellow card to both men was suitable punishment.
The Darts had very few sights at goal and were wasteful when they did muster an opportunity; Greenhalgh firing over on several occasions.
Robinson had a chance to double his tally and the hosts’ lead after a flick-on from Cunnington, but he shot wide when faced with Ibrahim.
The hosts looked like they were set to see out the game but in the last ten minutes Coyle and Flanagan’s side showed purpose in the final third that they had lacked for much of the game. Perhaps the hosts were guilty of inviting too much pressure onto them as they allowed Onyemah and Ba to get efforts off on goal.
Sub to the rescue
Despite 6 minutes of added time it appeared the visitors would be leaving the AGP Arena point-less. That was until the 95th minute, when Knowles’ ball in from the left found its way all the way to the back post (via a deflection) where substitute Jamie Philpot was on-hand to bundle the ball over the line.
It sparked wild celebrations from the travelling supporters and staff who felt, over the course of the 90 minutes, they were fortunate to escape with a point.
Full-time: Billericay Town 1-1 Dartford
Billericay Town: Julian, Inman, Kennedy, Doe, Hayles, Deering, Kizzi, Waldren ©, Robinson, Howells, Cunnington.
Dartford: Ibrahim, Onyemah, Vint, Bonner, Isaac, Roast, Noble, Greenhalgh, Knowles, Ba, Sam-Yorke.
Written by Henry Clark (@HenryWAClark)