Sep 26 2009 By Greg Burns at The Meadow
FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Chesham United 4-2 Billericay Town
CHESHAM United were involved in last minute drama for the second week running as they beat Billericay Town 4-2 at The Meadow on Saturday and book their place in Monday's FA Cup third qualifying round draw.
The Generals were heading towards a replay against the Ryman Premier Division side with the scores level at 2-2 on 90 minutes.
But Leon Archer and Steve Wales both scored in stoppage time to earn United a place in the next round of the famous competition and £4,500 in prize money.
A coach full of Billericay fans travelled from Essex to The Meadow for the cup tie to give United their best home attendance of the season so far at 422.
But the boisterous Generals supporters refused to be out-sung and cheered on an unchanged Chesham line-up from their last minute win at Hitchin Town in the league last weekend.
With the sun shining United picked up where they have left off in recent weeks playing their usual quick tempo, passing game on a slick Meadow surface.
And they took a well deserved lead after just five minutes when the energetic John Kyriacou crossed for Darrell Cox whose header fell to Wales to fire home to make it 1-0.
Billericay are currently struggling in the Ryman Premier and they looked shell-shocked by their hosts' quick start and Town manager Brian Statham, who played more than 100 games for Chesham in the 90s, was forced to reshuffle his side to try and find a way back into the game.
He saw his side have their first effort on target after 20 minutes when Billy Bricknell fired in a shot which Richard Hayward was forced to palm away.
The ever-impressive Generals captain Danny Talbot nearly doubled the home sides lead with a fierce free kick which drew a brilliant save from Town goalkeeper Andy Walker.
But United failed to make all their dominance count and allowed their visitors back into the game with some poor defending.
On 33 minutes a Town corner fell to captain Ian Cousins who controlled well and took the ball past the sliding Sam Ledger to fire well into the top corner to make it 1-1.
The visitors then took the lead seven minutes later when a collision between Ledger and fellow centre-back Ollie Adedeji allowed Jo Flack to run clear and exquisitely lob Hayward to make it 1-2.
Billericay nearly went further ahead minutes later when Bricknell saw his shot cleared off the line by Talbot.
But Chesham United have not gone unbeaten in six league and cup outings for no reason and showed real steel and determination to pull level on the stroke of half-time.
When Archer played a one-two with Cox, his pace and determination saw him push the ball past the scrambling Walker who clipped his ankles and gave away a clear penalty.
Talbot, who scored a penalty in the last round against Harrow Borough, confidently stepped up to make the score 2-2 at half-time.
Former General Statham had clearly fired up his faltering Billericay side at the interval and they came out and made it much more of a contest in the second period.
They nearly went ahead when a mix-up between Hayward and Adedeji saw the ball fall to Bricknell who shot over with an open-goal gaping.
Chances were being created at both ends and Cox should have scored on 65 minutes when another slick move with Archer saw him break free in the box but unable to get a shot away before Walker saved at his feet.
Both sides wearied in the sunshine and neither looked happy to settle for a Tuesday night replay.
Archer saw a penalty claim turned down which, in fairness, looked like a foul but probably outside the box, and Wales saw a long-range effort tipped around the post.
United boss Andy Leese has made fitness one of his major priorities for his side this season and the hard-work showed in the final ten minutes as his United side stepped up a gear.
Wing-back Michael Bardle bombed on to the byline and pulled a ball back, which was dummied by Archer, and fell to Cox who forced a fine save.
But this is the FA Cup and that equals drama. And it was down to Archer to provide it on 90 minutes when he broke free of a static Town defence to take the ball around the goalkeeper and slot home for 3-2.
With Billericay surging forward for an equaliser, United broke to seal the win and earn their place in the next round.
Archer again used his experience to make a darting run and lob the on-rushing goalkeeper with the ball hitting the crossbar and appearing to cross the line.
But with neither the linesman or referee giving the goal, the on-rushing Wales made sure by tapping in the rebound to make it 4-2 and prompt ecstatic scenes in the ground.
United will now watch with interest at the third qualifying round draw at FA HQ in Soho Square on Monday to see who they will meet next and compete for a £7,500 prize fund.
After the game a delighted Leese, clutching his three-page dossier on Billericay Town, said: "This is absolutely fantastic. We have been to see them a number of times and knew exactly how they were going to set out today.
"We worked on how to exploit them on Thursday and practised it over and over again. I said to the chairman yesterday that we were ready and to see the gameplan come off like this is a great feeling. It just goes to show how important it is to do your research.
"We gave them two goals today with some sloppy play which is a concern but we have to remember that this a side from a level above us.
"And we made their management have to change their shape three times in the first half because they could not cope with us.
"Our boys put in a tremendous effort and had to really dig in at times. We have shown real character and we just don't know when we are beaten."
Two-goal hero Steve Wales, was not about to give his second of the afternoon and fourth of the season to Archer, saying: "That was definitely my goal. I'm having that one.
"We played well today but gave them two goals which we need to be careful about. It is great to be in the draw for the next round.
"We are full of confidence at moment but we must remain focused and not get over-confident."
CHESHAM UNITED: Hayward, Kyriacou, Ledger, Adedeji (Gudgeon 70 mins), Talbot (capt), Lambert, Fotheringham (Obeng 75 mins), Wales, Archer, Cox (Bangura 83 mins), Bardle. Subs not used: Laws, Underwood, Cotton, Burnell. Booked: Kyriacou (21 mins), Archer (90 mins). Sent-off: None. Goals: Wales (5 and 90 mins), Talbot (45 mins pen), Archer (90 mins).
BILLERICAY TOWN: Walker, Pond (Sullivan 81 mins), Dumas, Shinn, Oates, Cousins (capt), Manuella (McSkeeney 70 mins), Dormer, Flack, Bricknell, Wareham (Knight 83 mins). Subs not used: Baker, Lockyer, Chatting, Francis. Booked: Walker (90 mins). Sent-off: None. Goals: Cousins (33 mins), Flack (40 mins).