Leiston pull off a huge upset against big-spending Bostik leaders Billericay Town
PUBLISHED: 17:50 18 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 18 February 2018
Billericay Town 1
Billericay, the Bostik Premier champions elect, were brushed aside by a magnificent Leiston performance that made a mockery of the form book, writes John Campany.
This was an upset of some magnitude given that the Suffolk side were on a losing sequence of three matches, whilst the table topping big spenders had been unbeaten in the league since the opening day of the season – a 25 match sequence.
Leiston manager Glen Driver was seeking a ‘reaction’ following these recent poor results and his side responded, to a man.
Billericay, FA Trophy quarter-finalists, were given a rude awakening before the second largest gate of the season at Victory Road – 502.
It looked ominous when, in the eighth minute, Adam Cunnington put the visitors ahead. Leading scorer Jake Robinson then twice tested Marcus Garnham in the home goal and Robert Swain narrowly headed a corner wide of the post.
Leiston responded when Patrick Brothers free kick was headed inches over by Matt Blake, then debutant Darren Mills set up Blake close in, but Alan Julian made a fine block.
The home side fought hard with commendable spirit and deservedly equalised on half-time when following three successive corners Joe Jefford climbed majestically to head home.
Garnham was soon in action denying Robert Evans and then Daniel Waldren, but Leiston were progressively carrying the greater threat and Billericay boss Glen Tamplin realising this was no routine match, introduced all three substitutes as early as the 65th minute, to no avail.
Indeed the home side’s confidence grew as the defence expertly repelled Billericay’s attacking options and hot shot Robinson was making little impact.
Patrick Brothers proved to be the perfect outlet when, in the 64th minute, he penetrated the left flank with speed before crossing a deep ball several yards beyond the far post where Joe Marsden had advanced. He turned the ball into the box, and new signing Mills fired in from close range.
The Billericay defence was now being given a searching examination, but failed the test miserably when Chris Henderson gleefully sealed the points on 76 minutes sending his shot into the corner to renew play-off aspirations.
Mills was selected as man of the match, but this was essentially a great character building team display.