Billericay Town vs Leatherhead may not seem like the most glamorous FA Cup first round replay game on the surface, but if you dive a little deeper, it might be the tastiest fixture of the lot.
Both teams play in the Bostik premier league with Billericay sitting in 5th and Leatherhead right down the bottom in 19th. But, as history tells, league positions are never an indication of success in this competition.
Ex Tottenham and Wolves midfielder Jamie O’Hara received a £400 fine after pleading guilty to common assault of a teenage football fan during the league clash of these two teams in April. Billericay chairman Glenn Tamplin has also fined O’Hara two weeks’ wages following this incident.
The 31-year-old allegedly over reacted to the opposing fans chants at the end of his sides 3-2 loss at Fetcham Grove. This adds even more depth into this replay as the Leatherhead fans now have more fuel to antagonise the Billericay ‘big boys’.
BT Sport are broadcasting this game live. This is a huge opportunity for both non-league clubs to put on a show for the abundance of new people who will watch them play. It will be a chance for football fans to see familiar faces in battle such as: Paul Konchesky, formally of Charlton, Liverpool and Leicester and former Arsenal, Liverpool and Stoke winger, Jermaine Pennant.
Jimmy Bullard’s Leatherhead are coming into this game after convincingly winning their four qualifying games scoring 15 goals. Their new loan signing, Liam Nash, from League one side Gillingham, introduced himself to the Tanners with a cheeky Panenka penalty and might prove to be a big difference in their clash with the non-league giants.
How’s this for confidence from new @Leatherheadfc loanee Liam Nash?
Introduces himself to the Tanners with a Panenka penalty 🔥pic.twitter.com/xGs5GmI78e
— The Non-League Paper (@NonLeaguePaper) November 10, 2017
The game is exhibiting everything that’s loved about the FA Cup. A chance for a non-league side to gather momentum and have their fairytale run. A clash between two contrasting teams with players and managers that most of the country will recognise. It’s a chance to see how some of these players react to playing with all of the TV cameras around them knowing they’re being watched by thousands.
The winner of this game will face League two side Wycombe in the final hurdle to reach the coveted third round where a trip to one of England’s elite could be on the cards, something every non-league team craves.
Words: Kieran Soutter | Subbing: Oliver Browning