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Tonbridge Angels 3
Da Costa (49', 67'), Derry (51')
2 Billericay Town
Akinwande (7'), Alfa (17')

Today's opponents Billericay Town have possibly received as much publicity as any of this season's opponents in recent years, but with a recent change in ownership the club began a new chapter in their history a few weeks into the season.

Much of the legacy from the previous era remains though.  The club's manager is Jamie O'Hara, one of the marquee signings from the last regime, who played premier league football for Tottenham, Portsmouth and Wolves and played in the 2010 FA Cup final.  

Billericay are in their second season in National League South since promotion in 2018, although they did have a one season spell in the division in 2012-13.  They are eleventh in the table going into this game with up to three games in hand on the majority of teams above them.  They boast the league's only unbeaten home record with four wins and three draws at New Lodge, however away from home they've not fared quite so well, with two wins, three draws and four defeats.  Their two away wins were 3-2 at Braintree in August and 1-0 at Dulwich in their last away game.  They've also reached the first round proper of the FA Cup where they lost 4-0 to league two Forest Green.  Their route to the first round included a dramatic game at Sutton when goalkeeper Alan Julian scored the last minute equaliser, and they went on to win the replay 5-2.

This is our 25th meeting with Billericay, our twelfth here, and it's fair to say the Essex side have had the best of the encounters.  We've only ever beaten Billericay four times, and have never beaten them away.  

I can recall two memorable draws.  Late in the 2012/13 season David Ijaha hit a late equaliser which went some way to keeping us in National League South and Billericay going down.   Then there was revenge of sort two seasons later when we were leading 3-0 with five minutes to go at New Lodge and drew 3-3.

It took us eight attempts to gain our first victory over Billericay.  It came in September 2008 when Jamie Cade, Carl Rook (pen) and a McSweeney own goal gave us a 3-2 win in the Isthmian league.  

In 2011 Lee Browning scored twice in a 3-1 win, a late Nathan Elder goal gave us a 1-0 win on August Bank Holiday in 2016 and an even later Nathan Elder goal saw us win 2-1 in March 2018 ending eleven months of hurt with an ironic rendition of R Kelly's The Greatest serenading the players off the pitch.

You will be able to read much more about our opponents in Saturday’s matchday programme.

Published Thursday 5th December 2019