With three minutes remaining in last night’s Final, the destination of the Velocity Trophy looked as good as decided. The trophy cabinet at Imber Court was being prepared, and a number of Billericay Town fans were contemplating an early exit to beat the queues in the Aveley FC car park. And then up stepped Billy Bricknell, to write himself into Isthmian League history books and leave Metropolitan Police to contemplate what might have been.
Two finals, two trophies, two hat tricks, two years. Or, if we’re to be entirely accurate, three hundred and sixty four days.
It started so well for Billericay Town. With only twelve minutes on the clock they went ahead, Jake Robinson scoring his 53rd goal of an exceptional season to give the favourites the lead- but Met showed that they hadn’t come to lie down with an equaliser a dozen minutes later, Tom Bird the scorer from the spot. And so it remained until half time.
Had it not been for the heroics of Bricknell this final might have been remembered as the Jonny Wright show. With 57 minutes on the clock the Met striker took a pass from Shaqile Hippolyte-Patrick and fired home, and four minutes later he did it all over again, putting clear daylight between the sides to make it 3-1. Billericay worked hard to get back into the game, but with three minutes remaining surely the trophy was about to be safely in the custody of the boys in blue?
Billy Bricknell- hat trick hero again!
Billy Bricknell had other ideas. A volley reduced the arrears and then, three minutes into the four minutes of added time, the Billericay Town striker walloped the ball home to level the match, and suddenly the favourites looked favourites once more. Extra time loomed, and six minutes into it Bricknell did it again, smashing the ball home from the edge of the box to put Billericay ahead, before Danny Waldren made the game safe three minutes later. Billericay had won the cup for the second season in a row- the first side to do that for more than thirty years- and Bricknell had another match ball, adding to his hat trick against Tonbridge Angels in last seasons final.
Congratulations to Billericay Town, commiserations to Metropolitan Police, and many thanks to our fantastic sponsors Velocity Sports Limited- and to Aveley FC for hosting the final at their magnificent Parkside stadium.
Images courtesy of Andy Nunn. You can see all of Andy's football photography here.
The Velocity Trophy