Hopes of a second Wingate home victory in two days were dashed as Billericay Town won 3-1 to take the points back to Essex on Monday night. Goals either side of the break from Danny Waldren and Billy Bricknell gave the visitors a clear advantage, before Jake Robinson put the game beyond doubt. Wingate did get one back through Irnti Rapai, but it was too late to mount a comeback.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides and could have led inside the opening two minutes when Tommy Tejan-Sie’s floated cross was almost turned into his own net by Rob Swaine. From the resulting corner, Freddy Moncur’s shot flew wide of the post. Billericay’s first chance saw the lively Robinson volley wide from the right of the box. Back at the other end, Marc Charles-Smith came closest to opening the scoring, but could not get a clean connection on Luke Ifil’s cross.
Wingate continued to put pressure on the away side’s back line as Tejan-Sie’s edge of the box shot deflected wide, before Layne Eadie fired over from the corner. The deadlock was broken 10 minutes before the interval. Waldren’s effort hit Jake Eales and wrong-footed Shane Gore to roll into the corner and give Billericay the lead. It should have been two when Calum Butcher found himself through on goal down the left, but blazed his shot over the bar.
The killer blow came right after half-time when Eales was adjudged to have clipped Robert Evans in the box. Bricknell stepped up and slotted the ball into the right-hand corner, sending Gore the wrong way to score his 100th Billericay goal. Billericay looked to make the game safe but Eadie cleared Bricknell’s shot off the line, before Robinson’s follow up attempt sailed over the bar.
Wingate were still looking for a route back into the game when Charles-Smith broke clear -but Alan Julian was off his line quickly to block the striker’s sliding effort. Sean Cronin’s header from Reece Beckles-Richards’ corner was then headed off the line by Josh Urquhart, before Cronin’s low shot went wide. Hopes of a revival were extinguished when Robinson clinically scored the visitors’ third with a low shot arrowed into the bottom corner from outside the box.
Subsititute Rapai threatened to open his Blues account with a fierce shot that was heading for the top corner, until Julian’s diving save tipped the ball over. But the winger would not be denied for long. An inch-perfect cross from fellow sub Ben Pattie set up Rapai, whose glancing header two minutes from time prevented a clean sheet for the away side.
The Blues continued to push for a second and came closest through Beckles-Richards. His curling effort was on target, but Swaine was well positioned to head the ball off the line in the closing stages.
Wingate are back in action on Easter Monday when they host Hendon.
Report by Sam Jones