Cooke milestone ends relegation fears

A second half penalty from Cody Cooke – his 20th goal of the season – at Billericay Town this afternoon secured the victory City required to end their Vanarama National League South relegation fears. The Romans had fallen behind just past the half hour mark but levelled within two minutes through a great Alex Fletcher strike before Cooke stepped up after Ben Seymour had been felled in the box. With the home side in desperate need of the three points they played with the greater urgency for much of the game but rarely troubled City’s well-marshalled backline. The goal that gave them the lead on 31 minutes owed much to luck as Chamber’s looping header dropped just under the bar. By contrast City’s equaliser two minutes later was of the highest quality, Fletcher curling a 20-yard shot past the despairing dive of Oualah after good work from Dave Sims-Burgess. What turned out to be the winning goal arrived on 54 minutes. Substitute Seymour had been on the pitch less than a minute when he latched onto a poor back pass before going down under Oualah’s challenge. Cooke stepping up to send the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards. With relegation rivals Welling United winning, Billericay knew they had to get something from the game but for all their commendable effort lacked the matching quality to deny City the victory they also keenly craved. The Wings conceding a very late equaliser meant Ricay did have something to celebrate at the end, but it was City who could fully enjoy the result that ensures they will remain at Step 2 for the 2022/23 season.