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Match Guide - Billericay Town (A)

After the frustration of a narrow home defeat last weekend, our first at home since November, the Blues have the opportunity to put things right on Saturday as they take a trip to Essex to face fellow playoff rivals Billericay Town. Both sides have spent large parts of the season in the playoff places and will be looking to secure all 3 points to cement that position. Saturday's game is Non-League Day and Billericay have generously discounted their admission prices for this match, so come along and cheer the boys during the international break.

Our Opponents

Billericay Town's history dates back nearly 150 years however the club shot to fame in recent years with the high-profile signings of ex-Premier League players such as Paul Konchesky, Jermaine Pennant and Jamie O'Hara which helped to ensure that the club were promoted as champions of the Isthmian Premier League in 2017/18 season. In 2018/19, the club nearly earned a playoff place in National League South but ultimately fell just short. After a couple of COVID-affected seasons, Ricay were subsequently relegated from the National League South in 2021/22, finishing in bottom place. Last year, in their first season back at this level, the side from Essex had a solid if unspectacular season, finishing 10th place, however never really able to challenge the playoff places throughout the season.

This season has seen a different story, however, as Ricay have occupied a playoff place for almost the entire season, excluding a blip in early October. This run came to an end last week as their recent poor form has seen them drop out of the playoff places for the first time in nearly 6 months.


Did you know?

Dean Brennan, the current manager of local side, and National League high-flyers, Barnet had a short spell in charge at Billericay Town in 2018/19.

Head To Head

Back in December, Wingate & Finchley took all 3 points in N12 thanks to goals from Rhamar Garrett-Douglas and Elliot Long either side of a Bradley Stevenson goal for the visitors. The Blues of North London had their skipper and goalkeeper Ben Goode to thank for some massive late saves to ensure that we kept hold of the victory on that day.

In our last visit to New Lodge in March 2023, we secured a narrow 1-0 win thanks to Elliot Long's second half goal. In the home game last season, Billericay won 3-1 after coming from a goal behind against a 10-man Wingate & Finchley side.

Last Time Out

As mentioned, Ricay's form has declined in recent weeks, with their last league win coming on 6th February as they dispatched Lewes 3-0 on that day. Since then, there have been defeats to Canvey Island (3-0), Horsham (2-1), Concord Rangers (2-1), Chatham Town (6-3), Hashtag Utd (4-2) and Hornchurch (4-1) with a solitary point in this spell coming from a recent draw at Hastings United.

For the Blues, a red card on the cusp of half time was the turning point in our most recent game against Bognor on Saturday as the man advantage eventually told and the Rocks ran out 1-0 winners. Prior to that, we had a successful February as were unbeaten during the month with 2 wins and 3 draws, before starting March with a 2-0 win at Canvey Island.

Players To Watch

Despite the recent downturn in Ricay's fortunes, they continue to pose a serious attacking threat, scoring in each of their last 6 league games with Frankie Merrifield contributing most of the goals in recent weeks, having made the move from promoted side Bishop's Stortford after the 2022/23 season. A lot of the goals have also come from Bradley Stevenson, Alfie Cerulli and Moses Emmanuel at various stages throughout the season.

Ahmet Rifat will hope to have his namesake Ahmet Biler available for selection after he served a suspension on Saturday. The left-sided player has chipped in with a number of crucial assists this season and has settled in well to life in his first season in N12.

Photos courtesy of Martin Addison.


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