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Chatham Town 6 Billericay Town 3 match report: Hat-trick hero Kareem Isiaka, captain Jack Evans, Rowan Liburd and Jamie Yila – with penalty – score as Chats win top-three Isthmian Premier fixture

Goal-friendly Chatham eased past fellow promotion-chasing team Billericay to consolidate second position in the Isthmian Premier table on Saturday.

A stunning free-kick by captain Jack Evans on a landmark appearance, alongside Kareem Isiaka’s first two goals of the afternoon and a header by Rowan Liburd, put Chats in control after Adam Leathers had sent them behind in the early stages.

Kareem Isiaka – got a hat-trick in Chatham’s 6-3 Isthmian Premier win against Billericay on Saturday. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)
Kareem Isiaka – got a hat-trick in Chatham’s 6-3 Isthmian Premier win against Billericay on Saturday. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)

Ricay pulled another back before the break but - with Chatham involved in a second goal-fest in the space of four days - Isiaka completed his hat-trick and top scorer Jamie Yila also got among the goals with a penalty as it finished 6-3.

Gary McCann’s men, looking to respond after successive defeats, had actually enjoyed the perfect start and went ahead in the fifth minute of a breathtaking match at the Bauvill Stadium in front of a crowd of 2,084.

Midfielder Leathers leathered beyond home goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney to find the bottom corner from debutant Sydney Ibie’s cross.

Four minutes later, Liburd poked inches over from a corner by 30-year-old Evans.

But Evans did brilliantly equalise. He blasted a free-kick beyond helpless Billericay keeper Dan Wilks from around 30 yards to spark the home fans into life with his 12th goal this season.

Midfielder Jack Evans – the Chatham captain scored with a stunning free-kick on his 150th club appearance. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)
Midfielder Jack Evans – the Chatham captain scored with a stunning free-kick on his 150th club appearance. Picture: Max English (@max_ePhotos)

Soon after, the visitors thought they had been awarded a penalty, only for the linesman’s offside flag to save Chats.

The home team completed their first-half turnaround on 25 minutes. Yila crossed from the left and, while Isiaka saw his initial effort blocked by a Ricay defender, he fired into the net.

And the same combination were at it again for Chats’ third. Isiaka had plenty to do from Yila’s pass, but weaved his way through before he found the top corner.

Threatening to really turn on the style, Isiaka and Liburd went close for Chatham after the half-hour mark.

They didn’t have to wait long for a fourth, though. Liburd was able to find space at the back post to loop Evans’ corner past Wilks.

More opportunities saw Alfie Cerulli fire over for the visitors while Liburd denied Wilks at the other end and referee Joe Turnpenny dismissed penalty protests, Isiaka going to ground.

But the Essex side got one back in the 43rd minute. Top scorer Bradley Stevenson delivered a free-kick. It wasn’t immediately clear who had headed it in, although the goal was awarded to Frankie Merrifield.

Defender Sid Nelson then nodded home Evans’ free-kick. However, Chats’ latest celebrations were cut short for an adjudged push.

There was a visiting half-time substitution, Ollie Peters on for Ryan Henshaw.

But the hosts delivered the first blow after the restart when former Welling forward Isiaka seemingly got a faint touch on Evans’ free-kick for his 13th goal of the campaign.

Beeney thwarted Merrifield and Cerulli missed the target for the away side.

But, with the game showing little sign of slowing down, Yila got in the act. He was fouled by defender George Wind to win a 64th-minute penalty and calmly sent Wilks the wrong way.

The match appeared to be petering towards a conclusion until Ibie struck with a late long-range shot which Beeney probably should have kept out. That was little more than a consolation, though.

Chatham are now six points behind frontrunners Hornchurch, but the Urchins have three league games in hand, while Billericay sit third despite their three-match losing run.

Kevin Hake’s Chats had made four changes from the team which won 7-2 against Hythe in the Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final on Tuesday.

Beeney returned in goal for dual-registered Dan Ellis. Also coming in were Jamie Mascoll, Nelson and Liburd for Harvey Broad, the banned James Dunne and late drop-out Simon Cooper.

There was also a 150th club appearance for Chatham captain Evans while three of their substitutes - player-assistant Danny Kedwell, Matt Bodkin and Chris Dickson - had a combined age of 119!

The visitors handed a first start to young forward Ibie, who has joined on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge until the end of the season.

Chatham Town: Beeney, Mascoll, Robins, Butler, Nzala, Evans, Yila (Broad 89mins), Scarlett, Isiaka (Bodkin 94mins), Liburd (Dickson 66mins), Nelson. Subs not used: Kedwell.

Billericay Town: Wilks, Wind, Porter, Johnson, Bender, Stevenson (Mongoy 68mins), Cerulli, Leathers, Henshaw (Peters 46mins), Ibie, Merrifield (Soares-Junior 68mins). Subs not used: Davis, Asamoah.

Referee: Joe Turnpenny.

Attendance: 2,084.

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