Wilkerson saves the day

| League
Att: 577
Billericay Town
Portway (90)
1 - 2
Slough Town
Quail (39), Hall (60)
Paul Wilkerson
A stunning performance in goal from Slough's Paul Wilkerson saved the Rebels' blushes as they snatched three valuable away points at Billericay. Wilkerson, who claimed the Ryman League Premier Division Safe Hands award for February, was an inspiration, saving a penalty and pulling off crucial saves throughout the match.

Both keepers had a nervous start, with Wilkerson dropping a high ball after four minutes, but he held his nerve to justify his February award. Simon Quail and Dean Samuels formed another new striking partnership for Slough, with leading scorer Bryan Hammatt and Andrew Deaner relegated to the subs bench. It was Quail who missed a golden opportunity to score after three minutes.

Captain Steve Daly won the ball in defence and found midfielder Mark Hall, who weaved his way past two Billericay players before threading the ball through to Quail with just the keeper to beat. But he failed to keep his composure, rushing the shot and firing his effort well wide.

Low-scoring Billericay, who scored their first goal in six games against Aldershot two weeks ago, pushed forward searching for an opening strike. And it almost came on the 28-minute mark. Martin St Hilaire hit a tremendous 30-yard strike which had Wilkerson beaten, but the foot of the post came to Slough's rescue.

Billericay went agonisingly close a minute later, through former Slough player Simon Bochenski, who struck the foot of the post from the edge of the box. Full back Micky Engwell went close with a left foot shot after 21 minutes, before Billericay squandered another good chance to take the lead, with Marc Sinfield wasting the chance.

Slough took the lead in the 39th minute, against the run of play as Billericay — almost in disbelief at not being in front themselves — sat back. Quail took the ball down, turned neatly and struck a superb left foot effort to silence the home crowd.

Billericay had the ideal opportunity to equalise with the last kick of the first half, after Slough player-manager Graham Roberts felled Billericay's star player David Adekola inside the box. The home side had missed five penalties in a row before Steve Portway stepped up to take the kick. Portway had missed the last Billericay penalty, and luckily for Slough he blasted his effort straight at Wilkerson, who made the save.

Roberts rang the changes at half-time, replacing himself and Mark Pye with Hammatt and Eddie Denton. Wilkerson was called into action after 56 minutes. Portway, desperately trying to make up for his penalty miss, cracked a 35-yard shot goalbound, which almost caught Wilkerson of guard. But the ever-reliable keeper kept his feet and pulled off a tremendous save.

Slough effectively killed off Billericay minutes later with another fabulous strike, this time from Hall. Standing on the edge of the area, Hall anticipated the ball and struck a sweet volley off the near post and past keeper Dave Root.

Adekola went close with a speculative effort shortly afterwards before Wilkerson pulled off a great 75th minute reflex save from Steve Blaney. Billericay then struck the post for the third time in the match. Portway was the unfortunate player this time, and Wilkerson pulled off another save to protect Slough's two-goal cushion.

Billericay did pull a goal back, and fittingly it was Portway who scored when he nodded in from close range, but it was nothing more than a consolation goal.

Billericay Town Line up

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