Red mist gives K’s the Blues
If two goals in the first seven minutes were not quite enough to end Kingstonian's chances at Billericay, the sending off of Matt Somner shortly before half-time made sure of it on a bad day for the Surrey outfit.
Alan Dowson would surely have wanted a solid start against a Billericay side who started the season poorly but have now come right back into form. He got anything but though, as a calamitous opening period nearly ended the game before it started.
A second-minute let-off when Isaac Layne fired wide did not serve as the wake-up call it should have done and just two minutes later the Blues were ahead. Aaron Goode tripped Sean Bonnett-Johnson on the edge of the box and Callum Dunne was left unmarked to head the chipped free kick past a helpless Rob Tolfrey.
Just three minutes later the lead was doubled, bringing back memories of fairly recent trips to New Lodge which have seen Ks ship six. Dan Sweeney was robbed of possession in his own half and Layne teed Joey Benjamin up for an easy finish.
This Ks side is not quite the pushover that the one of two seasons ago was though, let alone that of the Rajesh Khosla era, and they regrouped to get back into the game. Billy Lumley had to do well to come off his line and deny Ryan Moss after an Andre McCollin cross but he had a moment to forget on 23 minutes, letting a long-range Nathan Campbell shot pop through his gloves and into the net.
Benjamin twice came close for Billericay but his first effort was saved by Tolfrey and the second went wide of the post. Billericay's worries were eased on 40 minutes though by a reckless Matt Somner foul, earning the stand-in left back a red card that even Dowson did not dispute in the post-game interview.
A decent spell for Ks after the break, which saw McCollin fire narrowly wide at the near post, was curtailed on 60 minutes by a rare Tolfrey error. He spilled what appeared to be a regulation cross at the feet of Layne, who gratefully smashed home from close range.
The game was over as a contest, with Billericay largely happy to dominate possession and keep Ks at bay. Their best chance fell to Evans Kouassi who fired wide. Ryan Moss gave Ks a consolation goal deep into injury time, smashing powerfully home after a Matt Drage flick-on, but there would not even be a time for a final throw of the dice as Ks went down by a slightly flattering 3-2 scoreline.