'Ricay show their class in eight goal annihilation
Angels pay the price for lack of effort
Upwards of 300 Angels supporters who made the journey to Carshalton Athletic for this Ryman League Cup final to see their team make its first ever appearance in the showpiece match, were sold well short with one of the poorest performances many could ever remember.
Take nothing away from Billericay Town who on this showing if they don't make promotion this season are surely going to start as favourites for the title in 2017/18. The fact is however the Angels made it easy for them with a lack of desire and fight that played right into their hands and but for the heroics of Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly, the team from Essex would easily have scored 10+ goals.
Amazingly as it turned out Tonbridge actually took the lead in the 3rd minute when Andre McCollin scored form close in after good work on the left from Luke Blewden but somehow the celebrations felt false, as Town could and should by then have been two goals to the good with chances spurned by Adam Cunnington and Jake Robinson in the first two minutes. On ten minutes they did draw level with Robinson redeeming himself by making the space down the right and fining past Henly.
After almost continuous pressure Billericay took the lead the 29th minute.when Billy Bricknell launched a 30yd low shot that clipped a post and went in past Henly. By now even with just the one goal disadvantage there were ominous signs for the Angels but it was to get much, much worse.
Following more heavy pressure from Billericay a third goal came in the 38th minute, Bricknell's second but this time just from 15yds.
If it wasn't already the game now became beyond Tonbridge's reach just on half time when Bricknell completed his first half hat trick.
Alex Akrofi and Nick Wheeler replaced Nathan Elder and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson respectively but it made absolutley no difference as within two minutes of the restart Billericay scored their fifth goal when Adam Cunnington smashed the ball into the back of the net from 10yds. Tonbridge did pull a goal back in the 50th minute but it was a bizarre own goal following an Akrofi overhit cross with Paul Konchesky producing a perfect header into the net. Some wag in the crowd declared that Billericay were trying to make a game of it.
Normal service was resumed with Billericay's sixth goal five minutes later with full back Byron Lawrence wanting to help himself to the riches on offer.
The one way traffic continued with Cunnington scoring his second from a corner in the 61st minute, and then to rub salt in the wound the 8th goal duly arrived in the 83rd minute from the boot of 'Ricay substitute Kreshnic Krasniqi.
By now Billericay had understandably taken their foot off the gas somewhat which did allow Tonbridge some possession and opportunity for Wheeler, Akrofi and substitute Luke Allen to test 'keeper Jack Giddens but in truth they were relatively long range efforts which were fairly comfortable to deal with.
Wheeler did hit the bar on 89 minutes with a rasping shot from distance and a minute later McCollin at the back post slotted one in which was the classic consolation.
Angels supporters will wake up in the morning hoping this was all a dream, well a nightmare perhaps, but unfortunately it was all true and happened right before their eyes. All sorts of unwanted records have been broken for the wrong reasons but two that stand out - the biggest defeat for Tonbridge since Steve McKimm has been in charge, and the biggest scoreline for a winning team in the history of the Ryman League Cup Final.
McKimm said afterwards : "What tonight showed was that some of these players dont want to be at this club next season, and others I don't want here. People can debate whether I got my starting selection right but I dont believe it would have made any difference - for all sorts of reasons this is not as strong a dressing room as this time last season and I'm not talking about the injuries. I will pick a squad for Saturday's game against AFC Sudbury and we will see who really wants to play for this club going forward."