Billericay Town 1 Lowestoft Town 4
Like the inclement weather Lowestoft Town put a damper on Billericay Town’s championship celebrations completing a league double over their hosts.
That loss did not affect the post match celebrations though as the Essex side were presented with the trophy and mementoes. Biggest cheer of the afternoon went to Nicky Morgan their keeper who was nearly paralysed in an unprovoked attack outside an Essex night club back in October as with the aid of crutches he walked slowly onto the pitch to collect his memento.
With an eye on Wednesday’s play off semi final the Trawlerboys retained just 4 of the starting line up that had beaten Cray in midweek giving some players who had been out of the spotlight in recent weeks a chance to remind the management team of their quality. There was also a debut for Iavor Guentchev who had been waiting patiently in the wings for a chance to play since obtaining his International clearance in March and he soon showed that like elder brother Lubo he is capable of scoring spectacular goals. Billericay too retained just 4 of the players who had clinched the title the previous week.
On a heavy rain affected pitch the contrasting styles was soon apparently with Billericay opting for a physical aerial bombardment whilst the Trawlerboys tried to play their normal passing game. The early stages suggested that the aerial route was the better option but the Trawlerboys rearguard coped well with Archie Jessup standing up well to the barrage.
Lowestoft stunned the champions by taking the lead in their first real attack as Lubo Guentchev floated in a free kick from the right with Michael Frew timing his run to perfection to glance a header wide of Harry Ricketts. Billericay were level within two minutes. A corner from the right reared up in the rutted goalmouth and hit Dale Cockrill to rebound into the net off the underside of the bar.
Lowestoft regained the lead in the 28th minute with a stunning goal from Iavor Guentchev. A cross from the right was headed clear of the Billericay penalty area but fell to the younger Guentchev who hit a tremendous strike from 30 yards that dipped into the top corner of the net.
As the rain increased at the start of the second half the Trawlerboys took a stronger grip on the game and always looked the more likely to score. The third goal came in the 58th minute as Frew was released down the inside right channel and when Ricketts failed to hold his low driven cross Dale Cockrill, playing his first game for 3 months, pounced to hammer home the loose ball.
The icing on the cake for a dominant second half came in the 75th minute as Chris Wild misjudged a forward ball allowing Frew to race through to shoot past Ricketts for a 4th Lowestoft goal.
The Trawlerboys management team were delighted with the performance of their team giving them a few crucial decisions to make for Wednesday’s semi final against a very much in form Wealdstone. Stuart Ainsley had probably his best game for the club, Dale Cockrill showed just how much he has been missed in his injury ravaged season and Michael Frew showed a welcome return to the goal scoring form that was a feature of his early games for the club.