Town exit Trophy following replay defeat at Billericay

Simon Ainge converts from the penalty spot in Tuesday night's FA Trophy replay at Billericay. Picture: Town Pix
Simon Ainge converts from the penalty spot in Tuesday night's FA Trophy replay at Billericay. Picture: Town Pix
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Harrogate Town missed out on a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy when they lost Tuesday night’s third round replay at Billericay Town.

Harrogate Town missed out on a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy when they lost Tuesday night’s third round replay at Billericay Town.

The sides drew 2-2 at the CNG Stadium on Saturday, and despite playing their football a tier higher than the Ithmian Premier Division Blues, Simon Weaver’s team found themselves 3-1 down nine minutes into the second half.

Substitute Mark Beck’s late header reduced the deficit and set up a grandstand finish, but Town were unable to find a third goal to keep their hopes of a day at Wembley alive.

Town made a bright start to the contest, having the majority of the play, but it was Billericay who took the lead in the 22nd minute when Ricky Modeste got the wrong side of Geroge Thomson and fired an unstoppable strike past James Belshaw.

Town almost levelled instantly, but Rob Swaine managed to get his head on Joe Leesley’s free-kick to divert it up onto the crossbar and behind.

The Essex outfit then doubled their lead with 33 minutes on the clock, top-scorer Jake Robinson sending a low drive into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.

Town were given the opportunity to pull a goal back from the spot after Simon Ainge was brought down, and the striker emphatically found the top left corner with the resulting penalty.

It could have been level pegging in the last action of the half, but Thomson’s fierce drive flew just over the bar.

Billericay restored their two-goal advantage nine minutes into the second period , Adam Cunnington picking out the top corner after Swaine’s effort had been cleared off the goal-line.

With 19 minutes to play, the Blues were reduced to 10 men when Calum Butcher recevied two yellow cards in quick succession and as Town looked to take advantage, Thomson went through on goal but was denied by home custodian Alan Julian.

Beck then gave the visitors hope when he glanced home an 88th-minute header from a Thomson corner, but it was to prove too little, too late.