25th January 2005
FA Trophy 3rd Round Replay
Billericay T (h)
Exeter City 2 Billericay Town 0.
FA Trophy. 3rd round replay.
Tuesday 25 January 2005.
BILLERICAY Town boss Justin Edinburgh was "so proud of my players and our fans" after his side's FA Trophy run came to an end in the West Country last night.
The Ryman Premier side put up a great battling display at Conference side Exeter - who less than a week previously had fought all the way before losing a home FA Cup replay to mighty Manchester United.
Said Edinburgh: "The players certainly redeemed themselves following our shocking league performance in losing 5-0 at Braintree on Saturday
Town had led 2-0 in the original encounter with ex Football League Exeter 10 days ago before being forced to a replay by two late goals.
Last night they faced real team selection problems. Steve Forbes failed a late fitness test on a back injury and the heart of the visitors' midfield was further ripped out when Leon Hunter, who had eight stitches inserted in a facial wound suffered at Braintree but insisted on starting - was forced off in the early stages suffering from concussion.
With striker Nathan Elder cup-tied and new on-loan Colchester midfielder Glen Johnston ineligible, Town's squad was down to the bare bones with defender Danny Kerrigan on the bench despite being far from fit due to a groin injury.
But the 150 travelling fans who made the near 500-mile round trip to support their heroes were not disappointed.
It took Exeter until the stroke of half-time before they opened up a strong visiting defence with Danny Clay heading home.
Scoring chances were always at a premium, but the Grecians booked a place in the last 32 and a fourth round visit to fellow Conference side Tamworth on Saturday week with a controversial penalty 10 minutes from time which Sean Devine converted.
Youth stars John Simmons and Tom Poole were give a chance from the bench as Billericay bravely battled late on in a bid to give their fans a consolation goal.
Gary Henty shot just wide and Pat Sappleton moved forward to be narrowly foiled as the game drew to a close with Billericay being given a good reception by the sporting home followers.
Referee D McDermid