Billericay Town 0–5 Concord Rangers

From Victoria Road

Essex Senior Cup final


CONCORD Rangers conquered the Essex Senior Cup for the second year running as they breezed past nine-man Billericay Town to claim the title.

The Beach Boys romped to victory, thanks to a brace from Joe Gardner and strikes from Tony Stokes, Danny Glozier and Lewis Taaffe in a match that was largely dictated by the first 15 minutes.

Town captain Richard Halle was sent off after Gardner had opened the scoring and Concord added a second goal two minutes after his dismissal.

Craig Edwards’ men never recovered and were comprehensively beaten on a night to forget.

Concord came into the match as favourites, playing a league higher up than their Ryman Premier League opponents, although it is a tag Beach Boys manager Danny Cowley refutes.

And it was Town who started the brighter of the two teams. Josh Vickers was forced to push away a ball tossed into the box before the first meaningful moment came – and it led to a goal.

Neat skill in the middle of the park from James White saw the ball played into Taylor Miles and the former West Ham United midfield picked out a delightful through ball for the run of Gardner.

Faced by the onrushing Ross Kitteridge, the forward was unperturbed and slotted home with ease.

It went from bad to worse for Town only five minutes later as Stokes burst through, only for his heels to be clipped by Town skipper Richard Halle.

Halle was the last man and Town’s already difficult task was made harder when he was sent off.

Ricky Sappleton dropped to centre-back but only two minutes later he was caught out. Stokes received a ball from Miles and took a touch away from the makeshift centre-back to slot home at the near post.

That opening passage of play knocked the stuffing out of Billericay, as they struggled for a route back into the game. Rowan Liburd was looking the most likely but Matt Fry was marshalling the speedy striker.

But the Concord defenders were having a comparatively easy night compared to their opposite numbers.

With less than 30 minutes on the clock it was 3-0 and it was the Stokes-Gardner combination again.

Moments after Kitteridge had denied Stokes, the striker flicked a delightful pass into the onrushing Gardner and he crashed first time past the stopper with the outside of his right boot.

Town reached half-time without further scares, but it was a seemingly impossible task for Craig Edwards’ men – despite coming back from 3-0 down at the weekend to draw it promised to be a much tougher ask against the Conference South outfit.

Into the second period and it was Town that came out the blocks faster once again. Affy Obafemi, who had been on the periphery of the game, held off a challenge and smashed an effort goalwards only to be denied by the crossbar.

Having almost been 3-1, it was soon 4-0 and it came from the penalty spot. Ryan Melaugh clashed legs with Gardner in the box and went to ground, with Glozier sending Kitteridge the wrong way from the spot.

Liburd hit the woodwork in response but Town’s evening was compounded when Sappleton, who had improved a centre-back was dismissed for an alleged elbow on Gary Ogilvie.

Substitute Taaffe added a late fifth, tapping home from a Steve King header but it was over as a contest long before.


Billericay Town: Kitteridge, Williams, Melaugh, Edwards, Halle, Sheehan, Mahler (Baker) Poole, Sappleton, Liburd (Beavan), Obafemi (Farrell)

Concord Rangers: Vickers, Walker, Glozier, Woodyard, King, Fry, Miles, White, Gardner (Cawley), Ogilvie (Collins), Stokes (Taaffe)


Echo MOM: Joe Gardner (Concord Rangers)