Billericay Town 6 (3) - (0) 1 ROMFORD Attendance 662 - New Lodge
Romford’s amazing Essex Senior Cup run ended at the hands of the opulent and much publicised Billericay Town.
Despite already having played two days beforehand the hosts put out a very strong team, while minnows Romford, with an eye on the coming battle against relegation swapped their squad around and even introduced two trialists to their starting eleven. However, the Boro put up a valiant display against the odds in this David vs Goliath battle which ultimately was just one step too many for the young team. It was Romford’s first visit to New Lodge since Billericay’s takeover and despite the facilities being top notch, nothing seemed to have been spent on the pitch which was a quagmire and helped the host’s fast direct play whilst hindering Romford’s usual free flowing game. With many of the Romford faithful fearing the worst the Boro defence played well, throwing themselves in front of the ball with each player giving 100% despite falling two goals behind in the first fifteen minutes. Romford showed no fear and in between the host’s early strikes debutant Max AUSTIN won the ball in midfield before running at the defence and hitting a wonderful shot that moved at the final moment and fizzed just inches wide with the keeper well beaten.
Romford continued to battle on against a heavily funded team with big names who will probably be Bostik Premier Division Champions by some distance, limiting them to long range efforts and on the occasions when they did manage to get behind the defence, they threatened the spectators more than the Boro keeper. Romford were getting a strong foot in the game but the bog of a pitch disrupted their crossing ability when in good positions and when they pushed too many players forward a swift counter attack ended up with a third goal for the hosts. Billericay looked to kill the game off before half time but failed to find the net again despite creating some very good chances.
Romford made a substitution at half time with Connor HAMMOND entering the game and the winger had a hand in arguably the goal of the night. Hammond, Chris TAYLOR and Nick REYNOLDS produced a slick passing move in midfield before Reynolds’ slide rule pass released Hammond scampering down the left wing and his low cross was turned home by debutant Max AUSTIN, finishing off the devastating attacking move to give Romford a glimmer of hope and silence the home support for a while. Billericay were desperate to restore their three goal lead and the home fans and players were screaming for penalties left, right and centre that the referee correctly ignored but he eventually relented and gave them a soft free kick right on the edge of the box that was smashed into the top corner by prolific forward Billy Bricknell. The striker then managed to grab himself the match ball by firing a low shot come cross into the bottom corner. Romford bravely battled on but the amateur team from Havering finally ran out of puff and conceded a sixth before the referee blew the final whistle, ending the dreams of a final against Chelmsford City which would have brought back so many memories of the momentous derby clashes of the sixties and seventies.
The away team were applauded off by the travelling support for their efforts while the home fans obviously thought they had bigger fish to fry and hardly acknowledged their team’s victory.
BILLERICAY TOWN (3) 6 WHEELER 6, 73, BRICKNELL 13, 52, 58, ROBINSON 28
ROMFORD (0) 1 Max AUSTIN 46
ROMFORD: James MAY, Ayo OLUKOGA, Sam MVEMBA, Danny COSSINGTON, Michael FINNERAN, Max AUSTIN (Craig JEAKINS 71), Kai HEATHER, Jonathan NZENGO (Mario GJINI 67), Nick REYNOLDS, Chris TAYLOR, Hugo ATKINSON (Connor HAMMOND 46) SUBS NOT USED JOSH SYKES AND PAUL MARTIN